A print proof is a one-off sample of your print job and will always be the closest sample possible to the finished product – depending of course, on the project. While a print proof will never be an exact match (especially when it comes to colour matching), it will be detailed enough regarding layout to check for errors before your file is sent to the printing press.
Checking a print proof is a great way to review layout and check for errors that can certainly get missed when you have only viewed the design on-screen. Use our tips and advice below, and you can master your proofing skills and pick up those errors and inconsistencies before it is too late!
A good print company will always pre-flight your file in their design program to pick up on any critical errors in your design such as images, colour, bleed, crop marks, text to close to the edge and so on. But it’s always good to know what you are looking out for in your final checks of your artwork. So find a quiet space, take your time and remember – attention to detail is everything!
CHECK DIGITS & NUMBERS
Always check phone numbers, address details, website URLS and any other numbers that you typically take for granted are correct and don’t check!
Here we are talking about:
Making sure your page numbers are correct
Check all headings, sub-headings and text for spelling and grammatical mistakes
Are your photos or images positioned, scaled and cropped correctly? Are they the right size for print? Read more here in blog titled Images – what is dpi,ppi, resolution.
If you are printing your job offset, the print proof will not be printed offset due to expensive set-up costs. As a result, there is likely to be differences in the colour between the proof and the final product. If colour is important to you, then a press-check would be required. This means while the job is on the press, the colours are checked and adjusted as needed, before continuing with the print run. We offer further insight in our blog titled – colour variances in printing.
If you are having any additional print embellishments such as spot uv, foiling, embossing and so on, has this information been correctly passed on to the printer and has the artwork been supplied correctly for this? Again, if you have indicated you want this as part of your print project, the print company should be advising you how to supply the artwork and also checking this before sending to print.
BLEED & TRIM
Check that the trim and bleed marks are where they should be. We have offered an artwork guide for our clients to assist with this set-up.
The best piece of advice we could give is to have a fresh pair of eyes review the proof. After looking at the same document over and over again, you can start seeing what you think is on the page, rather than what is actually on the page and you start to miss spelling errors or missing words. Have someone who has never seen the document review and give it one last check.
If you have changes to the document, ensure that this is communicated clearly to the print company. If there are multiple changes, perhaps a second proof may be needed.