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A Quick Guide to Printing - Proofs and Proofing

You've gone to all the trouble carefully crafting your design.
The message is right, the graphics and layout have been painstakingly created and the copy has been written.
It's all looking great and just how you imagined it.
Now that you've got the finished article on your computer screen, you need to take the time to ensure that it translates well into print.
And to do that, you need to ask for and check the proofs.
The finished printed version won't look exactly like the version you see on your screen.
We've created a couple of articles to explain exactly why this is - one on computer monitor colour variation and another on the use of Pantone and the CMYK printing process.
Even though a proof represents a useful way of seeing how some aspects of your final printed job will appear on the page, not all proofs are created equal.
Some show various aspects (colour faithfulness or layout for example) better than others.
So we've created this quick guide to give you a view of the most common types of printing proof which will allow you to check the job before it goes to press.
Wet Proof The most accurate (and costly!) proofs with can be used to proof both four colour and special colour jobs.
Wet proofs use the same paper and inks used in the finished job so give an good representation of the final job.
Low-res Proof These are typically created on an inkjet printer and aren't at all colour accurate.
They're very useful to get an idea of the overall impression of the pictures, text and layout, but they're not true representations of the finished print or colour quality.
High-res Digital Proof (aka Cromalins) A proof that's 90% colour accurate and used by the client to get a sense of what the finished print will look like.
Digital proofs can proof any number of colours but Pantone colours don't always reproduce accurately.
Scatter Proof Used in the design process - these proofs are 90% colour/image accurate.
They display areas that are of particular importance to the customer placed randomly on the paper (hence the name) and are useful in checking colour integrity Progressive Proof These are very rarely used in commercial print due to cost/time constraints, but worth a mention.
A wet proof (see below) whereby the four process colours used in a job are printed out to allow the client to see the exact colours of the final job.
It's worth noting that high-res digital & scatter proofs are generally deemed as colour accurate within the constraints of the equipment/process/substrate/inks used - all of which vary from the final printed copy.
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