when talking about commercial print-
offset litho, digital printing and screen printing.
All of the following information on the use of colour in software for these printing gout comes:
CMYK is subtractive colour (print process)
RGB additive colour created from light (on screen)
Litho printing uses CMYK on four different plates of this colour that layer on top of one another to build up a range of colours for a full colour print. When producing work it is important to think of the colours you are using as ink, before it is printed.
The two main tools for working with colour are the swatches and the colour window. You can view the w=swatches as thumbnails or for more information as a list. It is generally useful to clear all the unused swatches this can be done on the drop down menu of the swatches window.
The small coloured squares on the far right of the list symbolises the colours are part of the CMYK colour space.
It is important to check that the colour space you are working in is CMYK. Adding a swatch is as simple as selecting this option in the drop down menu, you can edit this swatch at any time by double clicking on the swatch symbol or thumbnail in the menu.
It is possible to add colours to constructed shapes by using the colour dropper in the colour window, They can then be added as swatches as follows.
These colours are now global swatches which means that they can edit the colour of all objects in this swatch simply by editing the swatch.
The level of the new tinted swatch is then displayed in the swatch menus.
Spot colours are purpose mixed colours. Often these are used for efficiency where three spot colours can be used rather than four litho plates. These are also used to achieve brand continuity (pantone). Pantone and other spot colour libraries can be found on illustrator like so.
The search bar in the top of the swatches can be used to search reference numbers for pantone colours. You can set these as spot colours and global colours.
by saving the swatches to general areas such as the desktop you can use the swatches in other adobe programs. If using a swatch library in a program like In Design then it is good to treat the colours like an image file and keep them in the same folder as the project document. It is important to save the swatches as ASE files.