Before your printer starts a large print run you may want to consider booking in a press check. Why? A press check gives you small degrees of movement in colour which can be set as a standard at the start of a run. This is particularly useful for corporate colours and solid areas which may need to be kept extremely consistent.
We’ve put together a nine-point press check etiquette list. Knowing what to expect allows you to get the most out of your press check session, mitigating roadblocks.
What is a press check?
A press check is a final step between the stages of prepress and press. The priority is usually colour matching (making sure the colour of the print matches the colour you see on the proof), but there are other metrics that should also be considered. Paper stock and differences in the printing process stand alongside colour accuracy as factors that affect the final print and should be press checked.
Why do I need a press check?
Various printing methods create subtle differences between an original print and the final project in terms of colour. In order to ensure that you get the same thing on your project that you see on your computer screen/proof, a press check is usually necessary. It’s also the time to check registration, making sure that your bleeds are pulled properly. If not, you may find that part of your image is cut off or surrounded by an unprofessional border.
If you are using corporate colours or your prints will have large areas of flesh tone or solid colours, a press check will help you translate these over the print process. Otherwise, you risk changing those colours based on the ink standards of your printer or the paper stock that is used. You should also check for the more obvious problems that occur in the print process. These problems include broken type, missing graphics elements, misspelt and misused words, and incorrect positioning.
Why do press checks occur less frequently today?
Many print professionals argue against press checks for a few reasons. One is that the modern generation of colour proofing hardware matches proofs to end results fairly accurately. Printers have now adopted a more stable reproduction standard that usually gives results that are more predictable. They also note the improved quality of modern presses and the increasing cost of some press checks.
This reasoning may be fine for smaller jobs; however, the money that you may spend on a large scale job press check serves as a relatively cheap insurance compared to the cost of reprinting a botched job.
Your Press Check-Check List
- First things first: be organised. When you get the call to confirm your press check appointment gather up all of your pieces related to the job including; proofs, samples, colour swatches, mock-ups. This will give you time to do spot checks before the appointment. Look for any colour issues and check that the pages are correctly imposed as they were on the supplied proof.
- Arrive on time. This simple act of punctuality (and good manners) is vital to starting on the right foot. Any given moment the press is not in action means time and money wasted for the printer – and you.
- When you arrive have a look at the initial make-ready sheet, keep an eye out for colour and font issues, low resolution and missing images. Use every minute you are there wisely.
- So you’ve decided to bring the team along to the press check? Not a problem. Just make sure that you have chosen one person who will be the leader from your end. You’ve heard the saying ‘too many cooks in the kitchen ruin the broth’? Well, too many voices in a press check can have the same result. It’s best to do a brain dump before you get to the printer so that one representative can be the main communicator with the press operator.
- Wait to be invited onto the press floor. This is a busy workspace with multiple turning cogs – so stay put until you are told to do otherwise.
- No touchy. Keep those hand in your pockets. You don’t want to annoy the operator by touching their equipment without permission.
- Asking ‘what do you think’ will come in handy when you are given your first sheet from the press operator. Ask them if they can see any issues before you start pointing anything out. The pressman’s knowledge is priceless – so listening ears on.
- Make a checklist for you and your team to bring with you. Keep it simple:
Go through each of these and tick off on each page. Foolproof and straightforward.
If your print partner does not ask about a press check before taking a job without verified proofs, you may have the wrong partner on your team. Between your company and your professional printing partner, get the press check done so that you can ensure the quality of the final job. Got questions about your important print job? Give Newstyle Print a shout and one of our friendly team will be available to have a chat and discuss your printing needs.
Get in touch with our Adelaide office on (08) 8154 3600 and via email at email@example.com