[scribus] tutorial -- which color set?

Louis Desjardins louis.desjardins at gmail.com
Tue Feb 7 11:02:13 UTC 2012

2012/2/7 Christen Anderson <christenanderson1994 at gmail.com>

> Hello all,
> Working on the updated tutorial for Scribus. A frequently asked question
> is, /Where are all my colors?/ I seem to remember most of you recommending
> the "open office" color set... however, there are many of the sets that
> have more colors. For example, "X11" is the one I use, with many more
> colors than the open office set. Which set should I recommend in the the
> new tutorial? Is there any reason to use one set over another?

Hi Christen,

The answer depends completely on the point of view.

Professionals make a first choice of working in RGB or in CMYK depending
whether the project will be geared towards the Web or the Print.

These people will build each color list according to each job. Those color
lists will be short : CMYK + Spots (if needed) and (eventually) a spot
color dedicated to spot varnish, dieline or other kinds of postpress
finition. To that, they will add the colors they will need to apply to type
and graphic elements that are not pictures or illustrations. The shorter
the list the easier to manage, the easier to apply color to styles or to
any element, and to keep the deisgn tight and consistent. These colors will
be created in CMYK or RGB depending on the workflow. My bet is most of the
print guys will tend to use CMYK values to set their colors but as long as
the program continues to offer both methods, there is no issue, really.

Basically, what I am saying is colors sets à la Open Office or à la X11
will not please professionals and they will most certainly try to get rid
of the unused colors as a first step in the process. You don't want dozens
of colors in the way. You want a list of predictable colors on the target
media and for this you will not be able to use such long list with colors
with exotic or fancy names. This is why we have Pantone and CMYK palettes.

On the other hand, most people unfamiliar with DTP will tend to like pretty
much those kind of long and colorful lists as they can pick anything they
want easily (while they have no real clue of what they will end up with)
and end-up with pleasant colors (not precise colors, I insist). For many
needs, this might work, and it probably will work. Until these people
become more demanding about the end result. Colors going by name are
certainly more "fun" and more "appealing" to pick from... I don't know!
It's completely different than walking to a paint store and finding colors
to repaint the house.

I am quoting here the website from the paint company Sico, it's interesting
to see their approach and to me the Open Office lists keep the same
approach : "Are you intoxicated by blue for instance? Now a full range of
blue shades are together in the Sico presentation case under such enticing
names as Ball Gown, Courtly Blue, Blue Velour, Satin Gown, Ballroom Blue,
Blue Knight, Black Prince. So go ahead – put a little spice in your life!"

I don't say that DTP has no spice! :-) But really, colors will end-up being
plates at some point. If they are all turned into CMYK, you will need a
CMYK color specifier or a workflow that will allow you to control those
colors. If you have 1 or 2 (or even more) spot colors, you will need to
have a color specifier for those colors and your printer will need to be
able to accurately mix his inks in order to achieve the specified color.

I am fine with leaving as many color sets as people will want as long as we
keep the way to dismiss them at any time and use the short lists instead. I
believe that this is exactly the path followed by Scribus and this is fine.

We could go on and explain much further but this is the general overview.

Hope that helps.


p.s. While I was writing this long post, Ale and Owen answered in much less
words but we come up with basically the same advice in the end! Cheers!

> Thanks,
> Christen
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