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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
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