Why are the colours in this PDF wacky?

Have you ever been on your phone and received a PDF file from Argon, another designer or business relation and wondered ‘what the fritz is going on with these colours?

As the trend (‘epidemic’ might be a better word) of smartphones and tablets continues to grow there will continue to be ‘fixes’ on design and usability as problems arise. One particular issue that we, as designers, find that has still yet to be nipped in the bud is the ‘CMYK PDF colour issue’. Long story short CMYK PDFs that are opened and viewed on smartphones and tablets, such as iPhones and iPads, appear much brighter and fluorescent than initially intended. This can wreak havoc when sending artwork proofs and print ready files to clients if they, as many others, live and work off their ‘iWhatevers’.

Top: CMYK PDF viewed on a Desktop Computer Below: CMYK PDF viewed on an iPad

Top: CMYK PDF viewed on a Desktop Computer.  Bottom: CMYK PDF viewed on iPad

The best remedy for this is to simply view the received files on your desktop computer or laptop, this way the colours will appear more accurate and you won’t be ripping your hair out wondering which screw your designer has loose.

If in fact you do need to upload a PDF to your website and you are finding yourself with the same issues, please let us know as there are ways around this.

We are hanging out for the day, hopefully in the next iOS update, that we can delete this post as this is no longer an issue – but for now, please be patient and cautious with your PDF files.

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