Importance of Proofing

An Ironclad Print Proofing Strategy That Wards Off the Dreaded Reprint

Proofing is probably the step most taken for granted in the printing process.

This isn't to say that it's not important. It is without doubt the most important step of the printing process!

Yet far too often, people barely even glance at their proofs before they sign off on them. When they get their finished print job, they come back with "how did that happen," only to find that the error was easy to spot in their soft proof.

I estimate that approximately 99% of all reprints are caused by not doing a thorough job of proofing.

While technology has come a very long way since the early days of digital pre-press, any time that an electronic file is opened, there is a chance of errors occurring.

It is critical that every round of proofs is treated with the same care and respect as any of the previous proofs.

A Proofing Strategy That Prevents Mistakes on Press

Western Trade Printing offers two levels of proofing to assure that no errors make it to press:

  1. the instaProof™ (soft proof) and
  2. the Contract Color Proof (hard proof).

The soft proof is made up of a low resolution PDF file. It's critical to carefully PRINT, READ and CHECK GRAPHICS on your entire proof, several times even, because at this point you can make edits and changes to your project with little or no cost to you or your client.

The hard proof is typically made up of 2 proofs.

One is a digitally printed mockup or "dummy" of your project that is trimmed and folded or bound to reflect the physical dimensions and placement of your final product.


print mockup


The second is a high resolution digitally printed color match print (Contract Color Proof) that is rough trimmed to show bleeds, margins and is a very good representation of the color that you can expect off press.

color proof


Every job that Western Trade Printing produces is accompanied by a free soft proof. After any revisions or corrections, a new soft proof is provided and will require approval prior to printing to ensure that all corrections were made properly and that no additional errors are present.

Hard proofs are encouraged, but not required. We offer hard proofs with every job at a reasonable cost. After the hard proofs, changes can still be done with very little cost if the changes can be approved with soft proofs.

How to Check Your Proof Thoroughly - a Checklist

To ensure that no mistakes will make it to press, ask yourself the following questions about your proofs:

  • Are all the fonts rendered properly?
  • Is the color correct? (color match print only)
  • Is the text readable?
  • Do the pages or folds line up the way I want them?
  • Is everything as expected?

Remember, printers provide proofs for several reasons but one of the most important of these is to ensure that nothing has gone wrong during the processing of your electronic files.

It is critical that your client reviews these proofs and confirms that all is as expected so that together, we can produce high quality, error-free printing at an affordable price with no surprises on press. Or more importantly, no surprises in the delivered product to your customer!

Questions about the proofing process?

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