What Is Print Proofing?
You want the perfect printed product for your customers. One small error or oversight can ruin the impact your piece is meant to have. That’s where print proofing comes in. At Dollco, we make sure that your print jobs come out exactly how they were meant to be. Our print proofing process will never let you down. But what is print proofing exactly?
What Is Print Proofing?
In the printing industry, a proof is a print that will look exactly like the real thing once the printing process is complete. Before you print a thousand copies of something, you want to make sure that those thousand copies are going to look perfect. Proofs allow us to make changes to your print job and see how those changes will look once your job comes off the presses.
Proofs use the exact same paper as the final job will. We also calibrate the printer to match the settings on the real press. The end results should be a sample that is indistinguishable from the final product. Although the proofing process may seem tedious or unnecessary, in fact, it is one of the most important parts of any printing job. It forms the core of what we call “pre-press.”
Why Is Proofing Necessary?
There are several reasons for proofing. Not only does it save time and money in the long run, but it also helps our clients to produce better products. Proofs make creativity come to life.
There are also several technical reasons why we need to look at proofs. It is truly the only way to ensure that our customers will end up satisfied with our work.
Saving Time and Money
Imagine if you sent a massive job to the press and were upset with how it came out. Now we need to go back to the drawing board. The entire print process would have to start over.
By proofing, we don’t have to reset the entire production process. Instead, we only need to make minor adjustments between each round of proofs. The end result has more steps but is actually much faster than simply sending a job off to be printed and hoping for the best.
Besides that, there are also major cost savings. Imagine reprinting a million brochures or a hundred thousand pamphlets. Although a set of proofs is more expensive than a single brochure off the press, it’s much cheaper than paying for an entire set of something you don’t like.
When you look at a picture on your computer, and we look at the same picture on ours, we see two different images. That’s because color varies from one monitor to the next. Even two identical units can have slight variances!
The same is true for printers. You might print out a sample at home to get an idea of what your work will look like, but it will not match what our presses can do. Large-scale printers are far more complex and produce very different results from what you see at home or in the office.
Print proofing takes what we see on screen and puts it into your hands. It lets you feel, see, and even smell your final product. Any adjustments you make to your proofs will appear on the final print exactly as you expect them to.
How Does the Proofing Process Work?
Print proofing follows a fairly simple process. Proofing doesn’t usually happen until the mid to late stages of a print job. There are several steps to taking your ideas and putting them on a printed page.
First, we lay out the document to be printed, including images and text. You will need to provide us with all the content for the job. It’s possible to keep moving through the process while using placeholder images or text, however.
We use low-quality samples, sometimes called readers, to make sure the layout and text are placed exactly where you would like them to go. Once the layout, text, and images have been perfectly placed, the proofing process can start.
We print a high-quality proof using the same paper as your final job. When this is finished, we show it to you so that you can make any corrections or suggestions. A clear plastic overlay may be applied to allow you to write or mark specific areas of the proof.
Corrections on proofs are usually related to color. Perhaps an image came out too dark or on a particular type of paper has a different hue: we can go back and adjust those individual images.
Then we print another round of proofs. The process continues until you are satisfied with each and every page of your document. We can typically get everything ready to print within three rounds of proofs.
Finalizing the Process
When you sign off on the final proof, it becomes known as the contract proof. There may be very slight differences with the final product off the press, but it should be nearly identical to the contract proof. We perform color validations at the press as jobs come out to ensure that nothing has changed.
All you have to do then is wait for your order to be delivered. We have an exceptionally fast turnaround time from approval to delivery.
Specialized Proofing Equipment
Since proofs need to be a perfect match, we have to use advanced equipment to make that possible. Our printers and monitors are carefully chosen to allow us to produce accurate proofs every time.
One of the most important aspects of printing is having precise control over color. The problem is that light and ink work in opposite ways. Your screen is made of red, green, and blue pixels, while printers use cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks.
We strive to make what we see on the screen match what we’ll see on paper. This makes it easier for our operators to review proofs and make corrections. To do this, we have to color calibrate our monitors and printers through a series of rigorous tests and corrections.
A printer must meet strict specifications to qualify for print proofing. Even then, the process of configuring a printer for proofing takes weeks. Rest assured, our machines are regularly tested and maintained to ensure that their accuracy hasn’t faded.
Advancements in ink technology have made it possible to use large inkjet printers from Epson and Canon as proofers. Laser proofers from Kodak are also in use for certain applications, but generally, we stick to inkjet proofing.
All the tools in the world won’t make a difference if the person using them doesn’t know what to do. We take great pride in our team. Our print staff is experienced and ready to turn your comments and suggestions into reality.
When you return proofs to our team with feedback, we get to work right away to make those adjustments. Whether it’s shifting the color of an image, nudging a text box over, or designing a complex fold, our operators can handle anything.
Get Started Today
Contact Dollco Print Solutions of Ottawa, Ontario today, either by phone or through our website. We can guide you through the printing process with ease. No matter what kind of job you have, our print proofing experts will make sure it gets done right.