[In today’s world of desktop printing and on-the-fly graphics, many marketers have forgotten the value of the press check. Why create great graphics if they are not produced to their fullest potential?
A good production manager is worth his/her weight in ink. They not only save you time and money, but they can make your printing dollars go much farther and increase the quality of the finished product. They understand color, inks, printing processes, vendor capabilities, paper selection, press sizes, printing techniques such as duo-tones, emboss and deboss, aqueous coatings and much, much more. These are all critical elements in creating the highest possible quality.
Here at Gumas, we are very fortunate to have a staff of highly experienced production professionals. Here are a few things that we look for when we do our press checks that you may want to incorporate if you do your own.
– Check the color. Look for variations between your original expectations and the proofs. We pay particularly close attention to screened areas to make sure they are not lighter or darker than we want. Also, we always ask for densitometer readings of the color bars and check them for slurs.
– Check the text layout. Look closely to see if the text wraps correctly from line to line. Look for any fonts that may have changed or shifted. In today’s digital layout world, it’s not uncommon for files to get changed from the original file to printer’s proof and to the actual plate, especially if it has been sent electronically.
– Check to see if the photos are properly placed and cropped.
– On multiple page projects, ask to see a paper “dummy” and the folded, backed-up proof. This will allow you to check the page sequence and final assembly. Check for creep and folding, especially crossovers. We always make sure to trim and fold our proofs, just to make sure the layout is correct.
– For digital projects, be sure to request that your proof be printed on the actual stock whenever possible. Always get an ink draw down, especially if you are printing on a stock that is color or off-color. This gives you a real idea of what the final piece will look and feel like.
– Check the ink for consistency, especially where large solids are present, and ghosting and streaks on back-up.
There are obviously many more signs to look for. We feel that these are the most basic and common and should be a critical part of any press check.
Image and brand is critical to your company’s success. And a press check is a great way to make sure your printed materials project your company’s best image.
Until next month…