Choosing Colors

Choosing Colors

When you create a document, you might have to consider what colors you use, or you could have the freedom to use an unlimited number of colors. If you print out your documents, you can choose a specific set of colors to use. You might be able to use only the two colors in a company logo, or you might have to print in grayscale. So finding the colors you need to use in each program is important, and then figuring out how to access those colors repeatedly in a document saves you a lot of time.

Using swatches

Swatches are a good way to choose a color, particularly when you intend to print out the document. The Swatches palette in the Adobe Creative Suite programs, shown in Figure, contains colors and sometimes gradients for you to use in a document. You can create libraries of swatches that contain colors that you can use repeatedly across several documents.

Click To expand
Figure: The Swatches palette in Photoshop, which is just like the Swatches palette in InDesign and Illustrator.

You can choose libraries of swatches (in Photoshop, choose one from the Swatches palette menu), or you can load and save swatch libraries. You can customize a swatch library by adding or deleting colors.

When printing your work professionally, it is advisable to work with named colors so that the service provider (commercial printer) knows exactly what inks to use when it outputs your work. An example of a named color is Pantone 2747 M. The best way to work with named colors is by using swatches to choose your colors. When you mix your own colors, you can end up working with unnamed colors. When a printing press looks at your documents, it’s sometimes too difficult to determine exactly what color you want to print when the color is unnamed.

Mixing colors

A color mixer is found in the Color palette, shown in Figure, and this helps you choose colors. You can use the Eyedropper tool to choose a color, or you can enter values for each hue or percentages if you prefer that instead. You can use one of several different color modes in the programs that you use, which offers you a lot of flexibility for all of your projects.

Click To expand
Figure: The Color palette in InDesign, which is very similar to that in Photoshop and Illustrator.

Follow these steps to choose a color in a specified color mode:

  1. In a program that has a Color palette, choose Window®Color to open the Color palette (if it’s not already open).

    The Color palette is available in Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.

  2. Click the Color palette menu to choose a new color mode.

    Open this menu by clicking the arrow button in the upper-right corner of the Color palette.

  3. Choose the RGB color mode from the palette menu that opens.

    The palette switches to RGB color mode.

  4. In the Color palette, click either the Fill box (solid square) or Stroke box (hollow square) to choose what color you want to change.

    If you click the Fill box, you can modify the color of a fill (the color inside a shape). If you click the Stroke box, then you can modify the color of a stroke (the outline of a shape or a line).

  5. Use the sliders in the Color palette to change the color values.

    You can also change the percentage values to the right of each slider.

  6. After you have chosen a color that you’re happy with, return to your document and create a new shape that uses that color.

    For instructions on how to create shapes in InDesign, see Book II, Chapter 10; for Illustrator, see Book III, Chapter 19; and for Photoshop, see Book IV, Chapter 31.

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