Color Tips for Creating Tablet Publications

When you’re designing a document to be read on a tablet such as Apple’s iPad, the optimum colors are not the same as when you’re designing for print. For example:

  • Use a cream color instead of white for large areas of background. (White can be irritating.)
  • Use RGB black instead of the “100% K” black used in printing, especially on text. (Text is anti-aliased on-screen, and having more “color” to work with allows the anti-aliasing system to create smoother edges.) To create an RGB black color, just use 0% Red, 0% Green and 0% Blue — you can type in the zeros, or just drag the slider all the way down, as in the screen capture below.
  • Avoid using saturated greens and purples, because they appear dim on-screen. Bright blues and reds are OK.


Creating “RGB Black”

Jay Nelson is the editorial director of, and the editor and publisher of Design Tools Monthly. He’s also the author of the QuarkXPress 8 and QuarkXPress 7 training titles at, as well as the training videos Quark includes in the box with QuarkXPress 7 . In addition, Jay writes regularly for Macworld and Photoshop User magazines and speaks at industry events.