The importance of print proofs

Do you proof your print project?  There isn’t enough time…?!

When it comes to proofing your print projects, you always have the time and if you don’t – you need to make it. The proofing aspect of the print project is what just might save it, and save you having to start over again. Deadlines have a way of sneaking up on the best of us, unforeseen circumstances can hold things up and sometimes, well, things just don’t go according to plan.

If  a particular job has been worked on for several months, then the last thing anybody wants is to go back and do it again. Sure, the second pass may be a little quicker but that is still valuable time and reputation thrown out of the window. Making time for proofing can be a massive time saver in the future, so the time should always be made.

Errors of any kind, such as spelling and grammatical mistakes or botched colours and images, on the product (Packaging, point of sale etc.) can turn off potential clients in the future – reviews and word of word of mouth can have a huge impact on perception. Taking the time to go over and check every detail of a proof can save a lot of time in the long run, as well as money and potential damage to reputation.


What is a proof?

A proof, essentially, is trial run of whatever it is that you are having printed or designed. Proofs are used by design and print companies as a quick and efficient way for the customer to check that everything is as it should be and that no errors are present. It is also an opportunity for the customer to make any final adjustments to make sure that the finished product is exactly as they need it to be.

These proofs are normally supplied either as PDFs for speed and emailing or as physical digitally printed laser proofs. These will give a good representation of how the finished piece will look when printed. Although they are not intended to be wholly exact for colour, particularly litho-metallics and pantone specials, they nevertheless will be a reliable indicator for colour/ image distribution.

For a closer facsimile and particularly for accuracy on metpols, ‘wet’ proofs are another option. Produced on the same machine as the final job, this option will offer a very accurate colour match with the added advantage of being presented on the preferred carton board from which three dimensional mock-ups can be cut.

Proofs are used by Wisden Packaging, for example, before the printing of:


●      Cartons

●      Samples

●      Point of Sale items


There should always be time set aside for the creation of proofs because it is the last chance to make sure everything is correct before before hitting print. Proof creation and checking needs to be a habit and not an added afterthought.


Things to look for in a print proof

When checking a proof there a few important things to look out for and it is worth taking the time to do it properly as if anything is missing it could prove costly to put right later.


●      Text – Spelling and grammar needs to be checked carefully, manually. Most editing software comes equipped with tools to do this on your behalf but they are not perfect and they miss a surprising amount.


●      Design – Check the overall design of the proof;every colour used, every picture and every line. You should also check that the typeface used is correct also. Take the time to check everything and be sure that the design is what you asked for and that it is consistent throughout.


●      Layout – In addition to the overall design, the layout needs to be checked too. Borders, paragraph spacing, logo placement and whitespace all need to be done the way that you asked for and without compromising the overall design.


●      Physical elements – If the finished product needs to be constructed or folded in anyway, make sure that it will actually fold correctly and that the various panels of the design are in the right places. Has the correct paper stock been used?


●      Important information – If the packaging is to include contact information, is the address correct? How about the phone number, website URL and social account details? These are just important as the other considerations and shouldn’t be overlooked.



When checking the proof, it may help to get other people on board – sometimes, other people have a way of spotting things that we may not. Take the time to get others to take a look, if at all possible, and rest easy knowing that anything that can be spotted, has been. You should also read the proof copy out loud, this can help spot inconsistencies and make it also makes it easier to see if the text actually makes sense or not.


All that being said, if your print needs are urgent and you absolutely have to get that project started without delay then be sure to make use of the services of a professional print provider like Wisden Packaging. While proofs are a matter of of course, the quality of our prints are of a consistently high standard.