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Proofs - The Proof is in the Proofing

Proofs are important for ensuring accuracy, not just in color reproduction, but in content management and page layout - spelling and type errors, position issues, etc.  Proofs serve many purposes and are very important, one could relate them to the rough draft of an essay. It saves the cost of printing a final document that may contain errors or unexpected color changes.  The primary goal of proofing is to serve as a tool for customer verification of job accuracy. 

This blog will look at all the choices available to the customer when it comes to proofing.

When you place a custom label order you have a choice.  You can request a PDF proof of your artwork, a color proof or a press proof.

The biggest advantage of PDF proofs is speed.  Once the art is finalized, the prepress department sends a PDF proof to the customer.  With a PDF proof you can receive and approve your proof immediately after prepress has emailed it to you.  It is always going to be the quickest proofing method.  If your artwork is fairly simple, with just text and some basic graphics then a PDF proof may be right for you.  You can view your proof on your screen or print it out on your inkjet or laser printer.  Keep in mind that the colors will be different from your finished labels.

Color proofs, also called match prints are proofs printed using color management.  Software associated with the printer utilizes sophisticated technology to simulate the printing behavior of diverse printing technologies.  This software analyses color from a specific device.  For example, a press and applies that to a profile.  This color profile is then applied to the job upon printing for an accurate color representation.

With press proofs you get to see exactly how your labels will look.  If your label is being printed digitally, you can request a digital press proof.  This proof is printed on the same press that will print the finished labels, so the color will be exactly the same.  You can even cut out the label from the proof sheet and stick it on a jar or container to see how it looks there, thus avoiding any surprises.

If your labels are being printed on a flexographic press, a press proof would be too costly.  This is because the whole press would need to be set up with stock, plates and colors just for one press proof.  The alternative, if color is critical, is to be involved in the printing process.  Being on press while the label is manufactured allows the customer to see the final product.  If the color isn’t to the customer’s liking, plates can be adjusted to meet the customer’s needs.

Proof Example

Whichever proofing method you choose, always proofread your label artwork carefully.  It is good to have someone else proofread it as well. It is a lot less expensive to fix a problem before the artwork goes to press than after you receive your labels.  When you think your art is fine, just proof it one more time.  We have learned from experience that the more time you spend studying your proof, the less likely a mistake will make it through to press.

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Topics: color consistency Color Proofing Proofs Proofing

Color Proofing Your Labels Before Production.

We sat down this week with Label Tech Sales Executive Jeremy Goldstein to discuss how customers can take steps to ensure product quality. Here is what he had to say about state of the art color proofing.

You’ve created the perfect logo or art for your company.  Now all you need are some labels to spread the word about your awesome product or company.  How can you be sure the produced label will match the design you’ve created on your computer?  To properly understand this process, we first need to understand the difference between what you see on your computer and what is printed on the presses.

All TV, computer and electronic display screens create color by generating red, green and blue (RGB) lights.  Whereas monitors emit light, inked paper absorbs or reflects specific wavelengths.  Typical printing presses use 4 colors of ink.  The four inks are placed on the paper in layers of dots that combine to create the illusion of many more colors.  CMYK refers to the 4 ink colors used by the printing press, short for Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Black.  What all this boils down to is that images on your monitor will sometimes look different than the final printed piece. 

So, once again, how can you be sure your printed product matches you’re vision.  The answer; request a color proof.  A color proof is the most accurate way to preview the output of a commercial print job.  Also called a "match-print," the colors approved by the customer in the proof are rendered identically in the finished job.

RGB to CMYK

The leading digital proofing system on the market today is EFI Colorproof XF.  The technology handles each step of the color measurement process automatically from linearization, profiling, calibration, optimization and verification.  This ensures the proofs are produced consistently and with accurate color every time.  The technology even goes a step further with Colorproof XF’s final run characteristic simulation.   While proofs usually match the final run in terms of color, they often times look too “good (or smooth)” because the final run characteristics typically are not simulated.  Colorproof XF’s final run characteristic simulation features deliver the closest match to the final run.  Missing dot, first printing dot and noise simulation are powerful features for matching the press characteristics in flexographic printing.

If you want to be certain that your label’s colors match your vision, request a color proof.  By taking this important step you will be assured there are no surprises when you receive the final product.

 

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Topics: four color process Color Proofing EFI Color Proof Label Proof Flexo Proof
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