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Color management for newspaper ads

This page contains a description of the color management standard for Norwegian newspaper ads. The description is limited to what is relevant for the creators/senders of ads.

You will find a brief overview of ICC based color management for magazine ads here (unfortunately in Norwegian only).

Color conversion in NADAexpress?

An alternative to handling the color management oneself in the fine detail that is described below, is to use the color conversion functionality in NADAexpress to convert the ad into using the CMYK color space only. The advantage is, of course, that this is a quick and free way of creating ads without color errors. The downside - at least to many professionals - is that one to a certain degree loses control over the end product. A possible middle ground could be to make the ad without much effort put into the color management, upload and convert it in NADAexpress, and then download it for inspection at one's own Mac or PC before continuing with the preflight+sending cycle.

Why color management?

Ad producers as well as advertisers require their ads to appear in print as desired and expected. As there are a number of operations that have to be performed with the colors in the ad on its way from the creative computer to the printing press, and some of these may be performed at either the sending or the receiving end, some sort of agreement is needed between sender and receiver for who does what - and how. An important thing to agree on is how the color values in the delivered ad are to be interpreted. If sender and receiver disagree on this, the printed ad will not appear as desired.

Color management is the agreed-on set of rules for who does what - and how, and how color values are to be interpreted.

Change of standard 1 January 2012

For years, the color magagement rules for ads to Norwegian newspapers have been a nationally defined standard, specific to Norway, termed «linear repro». By 1 January 2012 this standard was replaced by the more well-known ISO 12647-3 standard, thereby placing Norway in line with the rest of Europe.

ICC-profiles for converting RGB images into CMYK and Gray for newspapers

There are two ICC-profiles that controls color conversion according to ISO 12647-3, named for the dot gain in the standard:

  • — ISOnewspaper26v4.icc

  • — ISOnewspaper26v4_gr.icc

These ICC profiles may be downloaded from this page. Install the profiles on the computer you use when working with images and ads for Norwegian newspapers.

  • — Mac OS X: Library > ColorSync > Profiles > Recommended

  • — Windows: Windows or WINNT > system32 > spool > drivers > color Hint: Simply right-click the profile file and select Install profile in the menu displayed.

Your workflow determines the optimal Color Settings for working in Adobe Photoshop and other programs. Below are given some recommendations. It is up to you to determine whether they are the right ones for the way you work.

Photoshop Color Settings

Image editing in Photoshop should be done with the image still in RGB mode. In order to see how the image will appear on print, use View > Proof Colors.

Begin with the Color Settings: Edit > Color Settings

Options: Click the More Options button, so that you'll get access to all the ICC profiles stored on your system.

Settings: Select Europe Prepress 2 in the pulldown menu, which will give you a good place to start. Then you edit in the dialog until it looks as shown below. Beneath the illustration there is a detailed description of each setting.

Color Settings

RGB: Your RGB setting affects the untagged images you work with - those with no connected ICC profile. In general, most untagged images are originally sRGB, so the correct setting here will be sRGB. This is as recommended in the ISO standard.

CMYK: When working with ads to Norwegian newspapers, select the ISO profile «ISOnewspaper26v4.icc».


If you work with various kinds of printed matter, leave Coated Fogra as it is. But this means that you will have to convert to ISOnewspaper26v4 by selecting Edit > Convert to Profile ... in Photoshop or convert to CMYK with the ISO profile when exporting to PDF. When softproofing, select ISOnewspaper26v4 (under Custom): View > Proof Setup > Custom.

If you convert the images using Coated Fogra instead of the ISOnewspaper ICC profile, the shadows will have too much ink when printed, resulting in too dark images and too little control.

Gray: This setup affetcs RGB images that are converted to Grayscale. ISO-12467 has its own grayscale profile, called «ISOnewspaper26v4_gr.icc», which you should select.


If this should result in the graylevel images being too light/too pale, try Dot gain 20% or even Dot gain 15% instead.

Color Management Policies: Keep Preserved Embedded Profiles for all, but uncheck Profile Mismatches, Ask when Opening, and Ask When Pasting. Keep Missing Profiles, Ask when opening checked. This will give you the chance to link a profile to an untagged image when opening it.

Engine: Keep Adobe (ACE).

Intent: This should be either Perceptual or Relative Colorimetric. Perceptual will move the colors, adapting them to another media. Relative Colorimetric will keep the colors unchanged in CMYK, whenever the CMYK color space contains the RGB color in question. The ISO standard recommends Perceptual. Perceptual will in general result in a lighter and «cleaner» image on print, but this of course is varies quite a lot on between images. Use softproofing and the ISO profile to display a preview of what to expect on print.

Keep Black Point Compensation and Use Dither checked.

Working in Photoshop

Keep the images in RGB; use softproof and the ISO profile to see the CMYK colors.

Directly entered CMYK values

Please note that when keying in CMYK values, after 1 January 2012 you will have to enter somewhat lighter values than what you used to do prior to that date. The reason is that the newpapers, from 1 January 2012 onwards, expect the ad material they receive to be compensated for 26% dot gain and not 20-22%. This goes for colored text, areas with a foreground or background color, and logos.

If you have a table or setup or such with values that have been OK prior to 1 January 2012 (in other words: worked OK with the old standards setup), you may edit these values according to the table below, by lightening each color by the amount given.

Lighten the old values according to the table below
Old value
Cyan Magenta Yellow Black
10 %
3 % 2 % 2 % 2 %
20 %
4 % 3 % 3 % 3 %
30 %
5 % 4 % 4 % 4 %
40 %
6 % 4 % 5 % 5 %
50 %
6 % 4 % 5 % 5 %
60 %
5 % 4 % 5 % 5 %
70 %
5% 3 % 4 % 4 %
80 %
3 % 2 % 3 % 3 %
90 %
2 % 1 % 2 % 2 %

Example: If you prior to 1 January 2012 – with the old setup – would have colored an area with 30% magenta, after 1 January 2012 you should use 26%.

Note: As average values for all four colors, use the values in the Yellow and Black columns.

If, on the other hand, you do not have a table of old values that you can modify, but instead need to know what values to use for flat colored areas in order to achieve a desired value on print, the table below is what you need.

Desired screen value when printed
% value
to input
10 %
4,7 %
20 %
9,5 %
30 %
15,0 %
40 %
20,6 %
50 %
27,3 %
60 %
34,0 %
70 %
80 %
90 %
70,4 %

The setup for CMYK in Color Management Policies in the Color setup should be Preserve Numbers (Ignore Linked Profiles).

InDesign CMYK setup

Export to PDF

In the color setup, select Color Conversion > Convert To Destination in order to convert RGB to CMYK; make sure to use (Preserve numbers) to maintain the CMYK values. Set Destination to ISOnewspaper26v4.icc; and make sure not to include profiles.

Export Adobe PDF

Acrobat 8

You may also convert the images of the PDF from RGB to CMYK in Acrobat 8 (or newer). Select Advanced Print Production > Convert Colors, and edit the dialog to look like this:

Advance Print Production

Convert Colors