White? There is no white!

Posted by Marco on Feb 28, 2009 in ICC

So what’s up with these colors? The answer is actually pretty simple. The color to the right and left of the content actually is white. ‘White?!’, I hear you thinking…’ It’s more like a dirty grey-brown! But no, it really is white. You just have to ask yourself … according to what? Because that’s the trick you see! This is white. And the first time I realized this actually was white, I was shocked. Because I had created ads for thousand-euro budgets not realizing this was white… in the world of newspapers.

How can I know these RGB values represent the correct ‘white’ for every newspaper? Well, I can’t of course. But the color does represent the exact white-values for the average newspaper and that’s good enough for me. That I do know for sure because ISO, the International Organization for Standardization has documented everything and described them in ‘ISO 12647-3’. I know, I know, this is a bit too much information for most of you, but bear with me…

You don’t need to know anything of ISO to use the information. All you need to do is download* the ICC-profile called ISOnewspaper26v4 and dump it in your profile directory: Macintosh HD / Library / App Support / Adobe / Color / Profiles. (You do need to restart). After that it’s available in all of your colorprofile-supporting apps like InDesign, Photoshop or Acrobat. Now when you’re working on artwork for a newspaper-ad you can simulate the newspaper, like I did with this sunflower. (Please read RGB workflow in ‘real life’ for more information about how to do this).

And the rest of the colors I used in this design?

With the newspaper-white in mind I was looking for a matching palette. The last thing I wanted was to have too much color lest it became a distraction. I was looking for colors which would appeal to graphic designers like myself and I found the matching palette in the graphic designer’s color playground called Adobe’s Kuler. ‘Sandy Stone Beach Ocean Driver’ was at the time one of the most popular themes and it was the pallet I used as inspiration for Digital-Engineers.net.

* Both the full color and greyscale ISO ICC-profiles for newspapers and a lot mere details can be downloaded at the bottom of this webpage.

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  1. Todd Shirley | June 25, 2010 | 17:32 CET

    Actually, you should put profiles in this directory: Macintosh HD / Library / Colorsync / Profiles. And you DON’T need a restart. Putting them in the Adobe Application support folder makes them available to ONLY Adobe apps, whereas the Colorsync location makes them available to ALL apps (including Adobe).

    Other places to get profiles for different printing conditions:

    International, FOGRA based profiles:

    North American, G7 based profiles: http://www.idealliance.com/industry_resources/branding_media_and_color/gracol

  2. Marco | June 27, 2010 | 19:02 CET

    Correct on both occasions Todd. Thanks for pointing it out.

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