Once upon a time (well that sounds like a children’s story), the process of “proofing” was a critical process of producing an item for print. We are in changing times, and every penny counts in a budget, so a costly mistake can be the last thing you need. In a day and age, where online content is always updated and evolves, sloppiness creeps in. A piece of printed collateral will have a longer life span than a piece of digital content.
It may seem like there is never time to proof something thoroughly the first time, but when it is not done, you may end up making time to do the entire job a second time. Just what are some of the things that should be checked during the proofing process? Here is a list to perfect your proofing strategy:
Proof the textual content.
The first place to start is the text. Review all text for spelling and grammatical correctness, check punctuation, and most importantly, the accuracy of the content. One of my early bosses encouraged us to read the text backwards, so read it properly, then go to the end of the paragraph and check every word. If you have written the text and revised it copiously, get a second pair of eyes to be your critical friend and read it. Good editors/copywriters don’t charge too much for this service.
Check the image quality.
Image quality expectations change vastly with different types, colour is a critical item as well. What might view ok on your computer screen, could reproduce differently in print. An experienced pre-press technician or digital printer will guide you through ensure modest colour management. They will ensure calibration from screen to print and different paper stocks. Worth noting that a screen uses subtractive colour (RGB) and we print using an additive process (CMYK) so colours will vary. For high-level image quality jobs, it may be wise to have physical proof rather than just an on-screen proof, as digital printers, we can proof your job on the paper stock. Or provide benchmarking for colour with standardized materials.
Confirm the overall look and feel.
Pages can look very different on screen to when they are printed. Look over the typography, and the quality of reproduction, ensure you are happy with the detail. Ensure placement of images, illustrations and text. Don’t forget to check hyphenation and line arrangement (as us about Widows and Orphans), page format, and bleeds.
Whilst the print process has dramatically reduced in its timelines, the proofing process is something which you cannot afford to reduce. It is the difference between making a modest impression or an excellent impression with your reader.