Proofing is a necessary part of every job you run in your print shop. The question is – are you doing it right? Who proofs your jobs, and do they have the right training or knowledge?
There are a number of small things that you should think about when it’s time to proof – that’s when the job is set up and ready to run – so let’s go through the most important in order.
Proofing – The Basics
Proofing is about ensuring the artwork is as specified before the job begins. Your printer has set up the press and run off a proof.
Who gets to proof it? In some cases it’s the customer, in others a sales rep, but it’s up to you – you might have a customer service operative who looks after this client.
Whoever proofs the job needs to know the basics: all the directions for size, color, position, material and so on should be on your print order and artwork order sheet. Proofing is making sure these are adhered to, and that everything looks good to go.
One thing: if the proof is on a junk shirt, which is the best way of making ready, you need to see it on the actual material to sign it off.
Measuring – Accuracy is Vital
Once again, the details you need should be on your job sheet, and you need to have two things handy to proof the measurements: you need your Pantone book, and you need a ruler or other measuring device.
There’s a reason the client specified the dimensions and location of the image, and it needs to be right. As for the color, the Pantone book is the be all and end all here; also, make sure you check under natural light.
The process of color matching is one of the most troublesome, so don’t try it under fluorescent lighting where a yellow hue will interfere. If in doubt, get more eyes involved – it’s always sensible to be safe.
Signing Off – Don’t Rush It
Never rush to sign off a job. It will always backfire.
In printing, quality is definitely king, and you need to ensure your clients get the results they want if you are to get repeat work.
Take your time, don’t take short cuts, stick rigidly to the order, and only sign off if you are absolutely certain everything is right. It’s at this point that the wheels are literally put into motion, so be especially careful here.
Before we go, a word of advice: make sure you keep your team up to date with what they need to look for.
Show them an out of register image; give them examples of how colors look different over different colors, and in different light, and instill in them how accuracy in placing an image is vital.
In printing, getting it right is absolutely vital, so take your time, ask advice, and give your clients the quality results that make them use you again.