I’m often asked which type(s) of proof we offer and/or recommended prior to printing – there’s no standard answer as each individual project needs to be viewed on its own merits, but here’s a brief explanation of options available:
This is an emailed visual proof, usually supplied by us if we’re saving PDF from raw artwork or making amendments/corrections. Please note screens show colour differently depending on calibration, so not an accurate colour guide.
High Resolution Imposed proof
An ISO colour standard digital proof (in our case) and therefore a decent colour guide for 4 colour process on coated materials (see below note). We tend to use these proofs for nearly all our 4 colour process work now, although as still a digital proof and not printed on exactly the same weight/finish as final project material it’s not a 100% match.
Advantages are proofs are cost-effective and, as plates not required at this stage, means still possible to make changes after viewing, if necessary (although not ideal).
The downside is not being able to print a proof on actual material to show the exact finish; also does not show specific Pantone reference or special colours (i.e. silver, gold), with true accuracy.
NB: If final printing is on uncoated material digital proofs do not show colour with accuracy, as more ink will be absorbed into material usually resulting in a “flatter”, less vibrant colour.
The main advantage is the proof is printed on the final material(s) used for the project.
The downsides are:
- not printed on our large presses but a proofing machine, so colour can still deviate a little as a result,
- takes circa 2 days to complete,
- a much higher cost than imposition proofs, and
- requires plates to run (if subsequent changes are needed, will increase the cost further, so we’d invariably run the high-resolution digital proofs first anyway).
Machine / Press Proofs
The closest colour match as printed on actual material using our large presses – it’s the more expensive proofing option and in reality not often required, but where there’s a critical reason to check final results and/or perhaps if using a bespoke material where print results should be tested/check in advance, we may recommend this route.
In conjunction with any of the above, possible to sign off on press at the start of the print run if possible/practical – will be happy to show you around at the same time.
Please note we’d still always run at least a high-resolution proof before this press stage, as most colour adjustments that can subsequently be made on the press are minimal; also, same applies re additional cost implications if any subsequent changes are made.
Please note matt lamination can affect final print colour slightly – impossible to accurately show on any digital proof, other than via machine proof + laminated sample sheet.
I could go on (even more) to talk about unprinted “dummies” to show the planned materials (and to confirm exact spine size for books etc), CAD cut finishing samples to re-check all “works” fine before incurring the cost of machine dies, but will save for another time.
Our sales & production team are always delighted to offer practical advice – we’ve years of experience, so feel free to tap into it.
Don’t print a thing until you’ve seen the proof
As you’ve seen, we offer a wide variety of different proofing options dependent on your needs and the type of work. The best advice is to contact us so that we can propose a specific proofing solution for your particular print job. Use this form to get in touch or give us a call on 020 8963 0123.
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