Press Check: 10 Steps for a Successful Press Check

Time for a press check? With many designers graduating from school and now entering the job market the question often comes up “Now that I have designed this job and released it to my printer, my boss told me to go on a press check (press proofing). What do I need to do when I get there?” Everything seems easier once you know what to do.

Here’s a Press Check Checklist:

10 Steps To Having a Successful Press Check (Press Proofing):

  1. Make sure the printer used the correct paper, the correct weight, color, and finish.
  2. Is the press sheet in register? Look over the entire sheet.
  3. Are there any spots or streaks?
  4. Check to make sure if you are using PMS colors that they match the PMS swatch book and if you are using in line coatings check that they are what you specified gloss, dull, satin, varnish or aqueous coating.
  5. Look at your pre-press proof; compare it to your press sheet to make sure all the colors are correct and accurate. Do all the photos match the pre-press proof?
  6. Check for consistency in color. Do all the tints match from page to page?
  7. Compare the press sheet to the final proof to make sure any edits or changes you submitted have been made and that no new errors have been introduced. Is all the type there? Any picture boxes showing? Anything cropped off that shouldn’t be?
  8. Check for broken or blurry type and that the type is uniformly dark. Black type should not be gray.
  9. Check crossovers by folding the sheet as it will be folded during finishing. Make sure everything lines up correctly and make sure that the correct pages are backing up one to another so that they are in the correct sequence.
  10. If anything seems to have gone awry, tell your representative now. At a competent printer you won’t need to tell them how to fix it just ask for help but do tell them clearly and exactly what has gone wrong. Then check to make sure it has been corrected. Try not to use terms like “I just don’t like it” or “I doesn’t have any snap” but rather more concrete terms like “It looks too yellow to me” or “the type looks grey”. That way the printer knows what they need to do to get your job to meet your expectations.

When you think you have done it all, the final part of the press check is signing off on a press sheet which the printer will use to print the remainder of your job. Make sure to keep a copy of the sheet after you signed off on it. Since each job is a custom creation, every job has its own special requirements but knowing just these few steps should help you make your first press check approval go smoothly.

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