So much for choosing palettes. Once you have one in mind, how do you ensure it can span the divide between screen and print? A common approach is simply to work in RGB mode on screen, converting later to CMYK – and for many purposes, this more than suffices.
“My colour schemes are usually so basic that I use the ‘web-safe’ RGB colours in Photoshop as a starting point, just to narrow down the overwhelming options,” says Eleni. “After the basic look is worked out I’ll check it’s going to look good in CMYK, and sort out any colour shifts from there.”
London-based Alice Stevenson has produced work for several major book publishers, including Faber & Faber, as well as packaging designs for Vodafone
Tom, who describes his style as “retro digital”, adds: “I always start off creating my work in RGB, which is obviously richer and deeper on screen. But once a piece is finished I’ll convert it to CMYK to mute the colours slightly, and then play around with the contrast, curves, hue and saturation in Photoshop. I’ll also experiment quite a lot with the blending modes to give the colours more depth and a little texture.”
However, Tom admits that his “haphazard” approach is not appropriate for complex colour schemes, something La Boca constantly wrestle with. “It’s often a major challenge to capture the vibrancy and vivid colours of our illustrations in print,” says Scot. “The leap from RGB to CMYK is quite often drastic, so it’s essential to allow for it from the very beginning of a project, especially when working on complex illustrations with wide colour palettes. We know which colours and hues work best for us, so we often just avoid the bastard colours that don’t.”