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Lesson 7. Repurposing Design for Print > Building Color Swatches for Print Desi...

Building Color Swatches for Print Design

At this point you can build a library of color swatches using the Freehand document you just prepared. You can use the swatches to create a coordinated print campaign for Jade Valley. By importing a Fireworks source PNG, you can easily create the needed color swatches for any future use.

Choose Edit > Select > None to deselect the imported graphics. Select the Zoom tool in the Tools panel and drag a marquee around the logo to zoom in.

Using Zoom gives you a closer look at the logo as you work. You can also zoom in a graphic in Freehand by clicking the Zoom tool and then clicking the graphic to zoom in.


If you zoom in too far, or inadvertently zoom in on a blank area and can't tell in which direction the document contents lie, double-click the Hand tool in the Tools panel to re-zoom and fit the document in the window.

Notice that the document Normal is highlighted in the Object panel. The top portion of the Object panel shows the Properties list, much like the Property inspector in other Macromedia Studio MX 2004 programs. Depending on which object in the Properties list is selected, the bottom portion of the Object panel displays the attributes associated with the selected object.


In Freehand an object can have multiple properties (such as strokes and fills), and their order can be rearranged based on your needs. To rearrange the order, simply drag the selected property and move it up or down. As you drag, a line appears indicating the property's new location when you release the mouse.

Click the Pointer tool in the Tools panel, and select the letter J in the logo.

The Object panel now displays attributes related to the selected object: font family, font size, text fill, and other information about the selected text.

If necessary, open the Swatches panel by choosing Windows > Swatches. Starting in the Object panel, press and drag the orange swatch representing the Text Fill to the Swatches panel and release the mouse.

You just added the orange color used in the J as a swatch in the swatch library.

Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Macintosh) the new swatch and choose Make CMYK from the context menu.

When you designed the Jade Valley logo in Lesson 1 in Fireworks, it was intended for the Web. Like all graphics created in Fireworks and intended for screen viewing, its color model was RGB. A color model is a system of describing color mathematically. Several different color models exist, and each has its own purposes.

RGB is the color model used for graphics displayed on computer screens. Each color is described as a mixture of three colors: red, green, and blue (hence the name, RGB). Computer screens give off light, which in contrast to paper, reflects light. Because of the fundamentally different ways color is produced on paper and on computer screens, you typically save colors using a different color model. Thus screen graphics use RGB, and print graphics uses CMYK (discussed momentarily).

Although RGB is ideal for computer imaging, it is not a good color model for print publication because when RGB graphics are printed, their colors often shift. This results in any combination of dull or oversaturated colors, or even unexpected tints (for example, the whole image prints with a greenish tint). For print graphics, you should use the CMYK color model. CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. Each of these four colors is mixed together to yield the final colors.

When the orange swatch was first created, it inherited the original RGB color model from Fireworks. We know it is still in the RGB color model format because in the Swatches panel, Freehand displays the color model of this new swatch using a symbol of three circles in red, green, and blue. In addition, the name of the orange color swatch is 255r, 102g, and 0b—the r, g, and b in the name is a giveaway.

It's easy to modify color models in Freehand, as demonstrated in this step. With a simple click, the new swatch now has a CMYK color model of 0c, 60m, 100y, and 0k. While changing the color model doesn't guarantee that the printed version will look just like the RGB version, the change makes color fidelity more likely.

Repeat Steps 2 through 4 to create a green color swatch (from the V in Valley) in the CMYK color model.

Now you can easily apply the official Jade Valley orange and green to new graphic assets.

Deselect the V. In the Mixer and Tints panel group, click the Tints tab. Drag the orange swatch to the “Drag or drop color” box in the Tints panel. In the Tints panel, type 25 in the Tint percentage text field, and drag the new, lighter orange color in the right half of the “Drag or drop color” box from the Mixer and Tints panel to the Swatches panel.

As you see in this step, once a swatch is created, you can lighten or darken the swatch by adjusting its tint. You can either manually enter the desired tint level, move the slider, or click any tint level in the Tints panel.

Repeat Step 6 to create yet another swatch, which is 40 percent of the green swatch.

You can use any of the three methods described in the previous step to choose the tint level.

Create a new color using the following settings: C = 0, M = 20, Y = 100, and K = 10. Drag the new color to the Swatches panel.

In addition to creating a color swatch based on the color scheme of a graphic asset, you can also create a color swatch by mixing different degrees of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black together. In this step, you create a new gold color swatch, which you'll use for the letterhead later in the lesson.

Open the Swatches panel Options menu and choose Export. In the Export Colors dialog, Ctrl-click (Windows) or Command-click (Macintosh) to select all six colors and click OK. In the ensuing Create color library dialog, enter jadevalley_print as the name of the Library and change the file name to jadevalley_swatch.BCF. Click Save to save this swatch library.

The goal of creating a library of swatches is the ability to reuse any one or all the colors in the library in other projects. But in order to reuse the colors, you need to export the swatches and save them in a library, which you can retrieve in the future. You will learn how to import a swatch library later in the lesson.

Save and close the file.



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