Proofs: Which one to request?

Proof readingBefore sending your print project to press, make sure to ask for the right proof. A proof is a copy of a document that is going to be printed or published. Proofs are sent to clients or editors to review the final layout of a project before it is sent out for printing. This will give the client or editor an additional chance to catch any errors or to make any final adjustments. A final review of a proof can give you the chance to correct any typesetting or grammatical errors and make adjustments to the layout. While reviewing and making changes, you can edit: images, boxes, tables or the content. Proof types vary from company to company as well as from project to project. It all depends on how the product will be produced.

Below are examples of proofs that your printer can provide:

Black & white laser printed or PDF proofs (Color matching is not crucial): If you are printing a project such as a typical business invoice that will be printed in one color, you will most likely not need to worry about any color corrections. The proofing of this project will mainly require a review of company information, the tables and thei

r contents and room to list all of the products sold as well as any charges applied.

Full color PDF proofs (Color matching is not crucial): Proofs generated for full color printed items such as brochures or postcards, need to show near accurate colors. Most of these printed products feature the company’s logo as well as products and images that are in full color. You can request a PDF proof which can then be printed with a laser or ink jet printer; this can provide a proof with a 10% color accuracy. For instance, a landscaping company wants to have a full color brochure to feature their services and an example of a previous job. The landscaping company wants to have a full color brochure because it will look more professional, but the color matching of their images and design may not be crucial. As long as the grass looks green and the sky looks blue in their images, their printed brochures will be acceptable.

Full color press quality proofs (Color matching is crucial): Then there are projects that require an exact color match. For example, an art gallery needs to send out postcards with images of their expensive painting. These postcards must replicate the exact colors that exist in the artwork. A press proof is the most accurate, yet expensive type of proof that you can request; this proof

should provide a 3% color accuracy. This is because press proofs are actually created in the exact way that your final product will be printed. Your press proof will be produced using the same press and plates that will print the final product, reflecting as close of an example to the final printed product.

On a final note, a proofreader’s job is by no means an easy one. A good proofreader has to play the role of a graphic designer and an editor while at the same time seeing the project from the point-of-view of the potential audience. Proofreading is performed best if done by different people, none of whom should be the person who designed the original product. Always sign off on the final proof that reflects all of the required changes and the printed piece should reflect what you envisioned.