What to Do When You Get a Printer's Proof
Reviewing a proof from your printer is a critical step in the production process.
While some customers spend too much time checking a proof, others don't give it enough attention. Here's some practical advice so you know exactly what to do when that proof arrives.
Decades ago, before PCs and Macs, commercial printers handled typesetting and design layout. So it followed that they shared responsibility for reviewing proofs. Today, most customers create their own job files. This puts the proofing responsibility back on them - not the printer. Although printers look over proofs, it's your job to check them carefully for content, color, images, and layout.
When a printer receives your job to produce, you'll discuss the proof and when to expect it. Whether you get a soft proof (PDF) or a hard proof, it is your last chance to carefully check a job before it goes to press.
Printers generate proofs for almost everything they print. Rare exceptions might be made for a small job that's an exact reprint - but we strongly encourage you to see a proof for every job.
What Should You Look at?
When the proof arrives, look at the "forest" before you look at the "trees." Let's say you get a proof of a multi-page sales brochure. How do the covers look? Is the layout on each page correct? Are the images in the right spots? Is anything out of place - or missing? Once you're satisfied with the general look and layout, it's time to check on details: content, color, and imagery.
Put in the time to read over the content, marking up errors or editorial changes that must be made. (Remember, now is not the time to rewrite your content. Such corrections could extend the delivery date and cost you money.)
Pay particular attention to proper nouns, dates, telephone numbers, URLs, and mailing addresses. If this piece has photos and captions, review them carefully. Is everything as it should be? Other types of content worth reviewing include company names, product names, and dollar amounts.
Check the proof for color and color breaks. There's a big difference between hard proofs and PDFs. You cannot check color on a PDF unless your monitor has been accurately calibrated to the GRACoL 2006 Specification. Why? Every monitor is different. Plus, offices have different kinds of lighting. If your job is color-critical, do not ask for a PDF proof. Instead, ask for one of our G7-authorized hard-copy color proofs.
Adobe Acrobat needs to be configured correctly for reviewing a PDF. We're happy to give you those settings - just ask! For example, if there's an overprint on your design, there's an Acrobat setting you need to set correctly.
Images and Layout
Look at every image (photos, charts, graphs). Make sure they all appear correctly and in the right position. Check the front-to-back layout as well, such as on invitations, so that when the 2-sided job prints, the copy is in the right position on both sides. If you're not sure, speak with your Print-Tech representative.
Review Proofs in a Timely Manner
Taking your time to check a printer's proof is important, but it doesn't mean this review step isn't time-sensitive. Typically, a proof should be returned within a day or two. Talk about turnaround time with your Print-Tech representative to prevent production delays. If you require changes, let us know if you need to see another proof or if the job can proceed to print once changes are made. Even if there are no changes needed, you must tell your printer. Hard proofs must be returned to the printer in any case.
At the end of the day, a little quiet time spent reviewing a printer's proof carefully will help ensure that the job you want will be the final, printed job you get.
Contact your Print-Tech Representative today to start your project!