When designing for print it would be nice to be able to select the colors in CMYK values. This way the user can control the black levels and not rely on RGB to CMYK conversions, which can be problematic for presentation graphics and uniformity with other assets. Thus being able to use actual black ink, or not using it at all is problematic.

Now, most tools out there only support RGB color. So far i have tested the usual suspects Excel, Open office, Mathematica*, Matlab, Matplotlib... The only tool I find does this is illustrator and its graphing possibilities are a bit limited and requires a LOT of manual work.

All of these produce RGB only, forcing a workflow that looks like:

    +----------+    +----------+    +----------+    +----------+
+-> |  Data    | -> | Plot app | -> |  fix up  | -> | Pub app  | --+
|   +----------+    +----------+    +----------+    +----------+   |
|                                                                  |
+------------------------ Data changes (sigh) ---------------------+

This is very very unhealthy since the data WILL change**. Since the fix up is a bit error prone it requires either jump of faith, custom scripting (which is fragile) or manual intervention. In fact the Industry standard approach is to, drum roll, draw the frigging graph manually! Yep that's right, insane I know.

So what application actually supports outputting presentation graphics with CMYK values to the vector graphics output (PDF, EPS)?

  • Input format does not matter
  • Price does not matter
  • OS does not matter
  • All it really needs is to support CMYK values on output format, preferably vector. (this pretty much restricts the format to EPS, and PDF though cmyk svg could be possible)
  • Anything with a decent GUI is ok

* Mathematica used to be able to do PDF files with CMYK output but this hasn't worked for a while.

** Usually at 23:55 when it needs to be in print at 6:00. Meaning the poor designer needs to work a overnight.

  • What OS must such software run on, and how much you'd be willing to pay if it came to that? What is the input format? What other features (except for color management) should the software have?
    – Izzy
    Commented May 18, 2019 at 9:23
  • @Izzy does not matter, i estimated that lack of such software is causing lost productivity in tune of about a 100,000 euros per year in the building i work in (bt ist conservative number might be easily 10 or 20 times that). Let alone across the globe
    – joojaa
    Commented May 18, 2019 at 9:26
  • 1
    Please include that with your question. And don't forget the other details I've asked for. We can only give good recommendations if we understand what's being asked for :)
    – Izzy
    Commented May 18, 2019 at 9:28
  • @Izzy Sure I just suspect such an application does not exist.
    – joojaa
    Commented May 18, 2019 at 9:32
  • How about Indesign?
    – Eric S
    Commented May 18, 2019 at 13:12


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.