Trucos de diseño para diseñar como locos

Neither white nor black, gray

A few weeks ago a colleague told me that he had spent the evening before going crazy looking for ways to generate a grayscale PDF with Indesign directly, ie, a PDF with a workspace as DeviceGray. As he commented, resigned, had ended up creating a PostScript file for processing with Adobe Distiller. To be honest, even I have worked for some time with black and white books I had never seen the need to do that because then I was requested with the document only, and out of Indesign,Pagemaker or QuarkXpress. But since the question was how to accomplish this task I set out to investigate.

After much searching the web and review over and over again the help of Indesign I realized that many other designers had suffered the same problem. Specialized forums are crammed with messages for a practical solution.

First of all I have to say that this is a limitation that only affects users Indesign’s users. QuarkXpress itself can preview and generate a PDF directly from gray composite Export menu. The picture below shows the proper QuakXpress menu (I haven’t the english version for this one).

After opening my Indesign and take a look at the settings, assignment, and pre-conversion profiles I realized that there is no ability to preview or export, using the engine of the application, a composite gray PDF.

What options are available to us to fulfill our objective, which is sent to printing a composite gray PDF using Adobe’s suite?

Before designing a job is important to consider how it will be displayed later

The solution sought by my partner is perfectly valid, generate a PostScript file with the menu File/Print/PostScript ® File and then process it using Distiller. The only drawback to this method is that it requires the Distiller application to be installed and that you cannot see how the job will look. To solve the latter problem is possible and necessary if we want the final PDF to be good, use images that have already been converted to a grayscale previously. It is also essential to maintain the color profile so that Indesign uses the inherited profile of the images and do not change the color space assigned in your document.

In other cases I have spoken to to say the least strange menu layout of Indesign, no doubt it is that way because of the need to broaden the application as much as possible. The case described here with export and print menus is a clear example of disorder mentioned above.

If you have questions about how to prepare the PDF to ask the printer, thus you’ll avoid the document to be rejected

One possibility for which I’m more inclined is to generate the PDF for the standard method and then rewrite it using Acrobat so as to generate a grayscale PDF. As in the above method is convenient to assign previously the correct color profile to keep to the images when creating the PDF. Once produced the standard PDF is edited using Acrobat/Advanced/Production/Preflight… /PDF Edit/Convert to grayscale.

ColorSync Utility included in OS X, which has already been mentioned earlier in this blog, can also rewrite a PDF and apply a gray color profile, among others. However, the PDF retain the color space in which it was created in Indesign.

One possibility without leaving Indesign is to use the engine for the PDF Distiller instead of the application’s own engine. It uses the File/Print menu selecting Adobe PDF as printer. In this way we have access to the settings where you can selectin Exit/Colors/Gray made the same way you would when generating a PostScript file. Everything said before about assigning the color profile to the images above is just as necessary in this case.


One aspect that remains unresolved is the preview of the work. Undoubtedly if all images have been processed before and you have the wisdom of design thinking as you are displaying the work the need for the preview will be less.

In the event that you need to create a design that can be reproduced both in color and gray scale is recommended to create two different documents each for each type of reproduction, so it is easier to control the final appearance of the work. Otherwise it is always possible in view of separation of Indesign and isolate the black channel in the Window/Output/Separations Preview. The method is highly accurate but can help you to get an idea of the design will look.



Links: Wikipedia, MiMoriarty

About mimoriarty

Diseñador gráfico multidisciplinar; me gustaría trabajar y compartir experiencias con diseñadores de todo el mundo

One comment on “Neither white nor black, gray

  1. Pingback: Ink separation « MiMoriarty's Blog

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This entry was posted on April 11, 2012 by in Consejos, Herramientas, multilanguaje, Trucos de diseño and tagged , , , , .

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