As part of the process of helping you get fantastic printed materials, we always offer a printer’s proof before we start printing. A printer’s proof is a final safeguard, that helps both our customers and ourselves from having to reprint anything. It also helps stop big and costly mistakes.

A lot of times when we give customers a printer’s proof, they give it a quick glance and tell us to get printing. This is fine of course, and we always comply, but we would be lying to say that it has never led to an oversight or error. Unfortunately, this means we have had to do a full reprint or two.

Part of this is busy schedules, usually when preparing  business cards, a brochure, or a mailing for their business our customers have a thousand things on their mind, and taking a lot of time to review a proof can just get dropped to the bottom of a to-do list. But keeping in mind the potential costs of not carefully reviewing a proof, there is a great deal of benefit that can come from taking a few minutes and following steps to ensuring a great final product.

But how do you do this? When you look at a printer’s proof what are you looking for and how can you do it quick and efficiently? Here are 5  tips that we think will help you when you get a proof from us or any printer.

1.) Print it out

Most printers send digital proofs these days. Almost 90% of the proofs we send out on a daily basis are digital PDF files. In most cases PDFs are ideal because of time and cost. But many people just quickly glance at the screen and declare everything okay. In truth, nothing insures that everything is in good shape more than printing out the proof on your own printer.

Although this won’t show the final colors or paper, it will give you a clear sense of the size and let you see all the elements of the design. An on-screen PDF could be re-sized without you knowing it, making something look better or worse than the actual final piece will be.  Print it out!

2.) Text is more than spelling

If you are glancing over the text only for spelling errors, then you may be missing quite a bit. With a printed copy of a PDF, or actual hard copy from the printer, you should look for the size and readability of the fonts. Is everything clear? Is there enough space around the various blocks of text? Or is the font too thin? Too thick?

Does it look like it did on screen, or is something now troubling about it?

3.) Is something missing?

Sometimes a color appears the same on screen, but when plates are made for printing we see they are different and something is missing. This happens when multiple versions of a PMS color are used ( for example a coated and uncoated version of the same color). It also happens when a color hasn’t been converted to the proper color space. For example, when a PMS color isn’t converted to a proper CMYK equivalent.

In these cases, something may not be printed at all in a hard copy so it may be obvious. And, if you have a PDF printer’s proof, then be sure to confirm colors in your PDF viewing software as well.

4. Glitches

Even if you think it goes without saying, it’s always a good idea to say something about potential glitches.  Scratches, spots, or holes in a design, specks on the sheet, or noticeable patterns in a solid area. All of these should be correctable.

It’s better to catch them in the printer’s proof, then after you have received a whole shipment of your printing. When in doubt, just ask.

5. Registration

Last but  certainly not least is to review the registration. Letters, lines and edges should all appear crisp and clear. If text looks a little fuzzy, or if another color is protruding from the sides of another, then there may be a problem. Often this is an issue with the alignment of the printing plates – known as the registration.

Again, if something doesn’t look quite right in your Printer’s proof just speak up, and the pressman and pre-press departments should be able to correct the problem for you.

Well, there you have it 5 tips for reviewing a printer’s proof to get your printed materials in tip-top shape. OF course, as always, your mileage may vary. So, if you have any questions, feel free to ask below.

We are proud to be Huntingdon Valley’s best print and copy shop. We serve the greater Bucks and Montgomery County areas with great customer service and printing. You are always welcome to stop in our shop and ask.

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