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Creating and managing your own color libraries

From: Illustrator Insider Training: Coloring Artwork

Video: Creating and managing your own color libraries

When working with colors there are times when those colors are specific to one document and then of course, there are times when you want to use those colors across multiple documents. Take this example right here. We've already gone through the process of taking these color chips and creating color palettes. Then we've turned those into color groups inside of this Swatches panel. But these are my Corporate colors for this company called Hansel & Petal. I want to now be able to use these colors across many of the different projects I'm going to be creating for this particular client.

Creating and managing your own color libraries

When working with colors there are times when those colors are specific to one document and then of course, there are times when you want to use those colors across multiple documents. Take this example right here. We've already gone through the process of taking these color chips and creating color palettes. Then we've turned those into color groups inside of this Swatches panel. But these are my Corporate colors for this company called Hansel & Petal. I want to now be able to use these colors across many of the different projects I'm going to be creating for this particular client.

Now if I'm a freelance designer and I have many clients, I may want to have different libraries of color for each of my clients, or if I am working in a large company I may have a variety of different projects that I'm working on and I may have different color palettes that I've created for each of those projects. A fashion designer may have different seasons they are working with. So what we really want is some ability not only to create these swatches and organize them into groups, we also want to save these as complete libraries that we can call up and access as we need them.

Doing so is actually pretty simple. All I need to do is go over to flyout menu of the SWATCHES panel, and then at the bottom of the list over here choose to Save the Swatch Library as AI. Now it's important to realize here that I have two options; I've something called Save Swatch Library as ASE, and I have something called Save Swatch Library as AI. And the ASE library, which stands for Adobe Swatch Exchange is a universal library format that works across InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator.

So if I've these colors that I've created right now, and I want to share those with other applications, for example, I maybe working on a brochure than I'm doing inside of InDesign, or I maybe working with some images inside of Photoshop, and I want to access these colors in those applications as well, so I could save these swatches as an ASE file. I could then go into other applications and load those swatches. It's important to realize though that ASE files can only contain solid colors; meaning they can't contain gradients or patterns, and that format also does not support the concept of groups.

Only Illustrator has the ability to organize your swatches into distinct groups, however, both Photoshop and InDesign don't have that capability. So if you save your file as an ASE file, you're going to lose your group structure. Now in our example here, I'm going to be using this library back inside of Illustrator again. So I'm going to choose to save my Swatch Library as an AI file, this will allow me to not only maintain my group structure that I'm creating inside of the Swatches, it will also support the ability to include Gradient and Pattern swatches that I may have in my file as well.

So I'm going to choose this option and I'm going to give my file a name. This is going to be Hansel & Petal, my corporate colors, so I'm going to call this one, HANSEL_CORPORATE. Now I'm going to click Save, and I've just now successfully created this library file. How do I access that file? Well, if I go to the lower left-hand corner of the Swatches panel, the same place that I went to when I was looking for PANTONE libraries, for example. I can scroll down through this list all the way to the bottom where there is now something here called User Defined, and my HANSEL_CORPORATE library is now here.

If I choose it, it now shows up as an external library file. I can now choose to bring those colors into my document by clicking on them or dragging them in. So, for example, I'm going to create a New Document here by pressing Command+N or Ctrl+N and I'm going to use now the New Document Profile for Print. Notice now that my corporate colors were not in this document, but just by clicking on any of these folders, I can actually add those color groups directly now through this document. Now it is important to realize where these library files are actually stored so that when you click on this button over here, Illustrator is able to see them in this User Defined submenu.

When you save your swatch library file, Illustrator automatically puts it in a certain location. I want to show you where that location is so that you can actually place files there yourself. I'm going to go to my Finder here, and I'm going to navigate to my own user folder, my folder is called mordygolding, but your username probably would be your own name. And I'm going to the Library folder and open that up. Inside the Library folder I'm going to go to Application Support, and then I'm going to go to Adobe > Adobe Illustrator CS5 > en_US, and that's because that is now English US in my computer, if you're using a different language you would see it there listed.

I'm going to scroll down over here to a folder called Swatches and here you can see that HANSEL_CORPORATE.ai file, that's the library file that I saved. If you're on Windows, the location where you need to save these files is under Documents and Settings, your Username > Application Data > Adobe > Adobe Illustrator CS5 Settings and then again en_US. It's important to realize that a color library is simply an Illustrator file, so you can take any Illustrator file on your system and copy it into this Swatches folder and it will show up as a library file inside of Illustrator.

In other words, any swatches that appear inside of that Illustrator file can be loaded as an external library. Now if we go back to Illustrator here for a moment and I take a look at the libraries that I have access to, once again, down here at the bottom where it says, User Defined, I have my library that I created. However, I'm not restricted to only working with libraries that appear in that folder. I could of course, go to choose this option called Other Library and then point to any other location on either a server or my hard drive.

I can point to any other Illustrator file and Illustrator will load up any of the swatches that appear inside of that Illustrator file, as external libraries that I can move colors from it into my document. I'll click Cancel here, and that's how you can actually create and also manage your own customized libraries inside of Illustrator.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator Insider Training: Coloring Artwork
Illustrator Insider Training: Coloring Artwork

48 video lessons · 12783 viewers

Mordy Golding
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 6m 38s
    1. Welcome
      1m 16s
    2. Adobe Illustrator: A colorful history
      3m 25s
    3. Getting the most out of this training
      1m 30s
    4. Using the exercise files
      27s
  2. 32m 35s
    1. Getting to know the color models
      9m 5s
    2. Understanding the difference between process and custom colors
      7m 7s
    3. Understanding how the HSB color wheel works
      11m 2s
    4. Working with color harmonies
      5m 21s
  3. 43m 55s
    1. Deconstructing the Color panel
      6m 36s
    2. Working with "phantom" colors
      5m 16s
    3. Defining and using process colors
      6m 15s
    4. Defining and using global process colors
      7m 51s
    5. Defining and using spot colors
      8m 37s
    6. Accessing color libraries
      9m 20s
  4. 46m 22s
    1. Organizing colors into groups
      13m 59s
    2. Creating swatches and groups from artwork
      7m 19s
    3. Removing unused swatches from documents
      3m 48s
    4. Replacing and merging color swatches
      5m 38s
    5. Creating and managing your own color libraries
      6m 10s
    6. Making custom libraries permanent
      2m 50s
    7. Adding custom colors to new documents
      6m 38s
  5. 19m 42s
    1. Accessing Kuler from within Illustrator
      2m 20s
    2. Getting inspiration from the Color Guide panel
      2m 41s
    3. Understanding how the Color Guide works
      3m 58s
    4. Setting limits on the Color Guide
      10m 43s
  6. 40m 54s
    1. Editing color groups with the color wheel
      12m 51s
    2. Breaking down the Recolor Artwork feature
      8m 16s
    3. Understanding what color rows represent
      6m 34s
    4. Protecting black, white, and gray
      6m 24s
    5. Finding colors quickly with the magnifying glass
      3m 28s
    6. Randomly changing colors
      3m 21s
  7. 53m 34s
    1. Making global color adjustments
      3m 48s
    2. Remapping colors in an illustration
      6m 13s
    3. Fixing colors in a document
      8m 57s
    4. Understanding color reduction
      13m 29s
    5. Reducing colors intelligently and precisely
      7m 42s
    6. Changing the colors within patterns
      4m 39s
    7. Using color groups to your advantage
      8m 46s
  8. 21m 24s
    1. Converting color to grayscale
      3m 25s
    2. Converting to grayscale with the Grayscale color group
      4m 45s
    3. Converting grayscale to color
      2m 27s
    4. Finding spot equivalents of process colors
      6m 48s
    5. Producing color matches intelligently
      3m 59s
  9. 16m 26s
    1. Proofing colors for color-blindness
      4m 56s
    2. Understanding book color
      9m 11s
    3. Previewing color separations
      2m 19s
  10. 3m 20s
    1. Taking color further with the Phantasm CS plug-in
      2m 30s
    2. Next steps
      50s

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