Friday, August 17, 2007

Seven Things To Look for at a Press Check

Since I moved to Florida five years ago and continued in the field of design, one thing I was surprised to learn is how many clients aren't interested in going on a press check. When I worked in Dallas, it wasn't uncommon to select a high quality printer out of state and fly clients to check the quality of materials on press. Even when I lived in Bermuda, no job was ever left to the discretion of the printer without a press check. Here in St. Petersburg, no one really bats an eye.

Consistent color quality maintains the integrity of your brand in the customer's mind. It is the reason companies like Target and American Express spend thousands on proper color reproduction in their markeing materials-they understand the importance of it.

When having materials printed, request to schedule a press check and check the following items:

Color Consistency
Make sure color is consistent up-and-down and side-to-side on the sheet. If color runs across multiple pages in a booklet, make sure you put the sheets side by side to check that the color matches.

Make sure the paper is what you specified. Feel it. Is it exactly what you expected, or do you realize it's too light for the job? Better to stop the job now than reprint later. If it's a coated-one-side sheet, is it printing on the right side?

Check the registration mark on the press sheet with a loupe to make sure all the colors line up. It's also a good idea to check your images because once in a while, even when the registration marks are lined up, other areas may not be. This can be caused by the paper stretching.

Final changes
Look over any final changes you made before press time to make sure that they have in fact been made.

Type & images
Make sure type is black and crisp and no images are missing or clipped.

They should be smooth with no banding.

Clean sheet overall
Look over the entire sheet for anything that stands out and circle it — hickeys (spots or imperfections), picking (sheet surface being pulled away), offsetting (ink transfer from other sheets), etc.

Finally, if anything looks wrong to you, speak up. Once you sign off on the proof, the pressman will run the job accordingly. It is also usually best to have your designer there with you since they have intimate knowledge of the job and should know exactly how the colors are supposed to look.

©2007 David Scott | Cosmic

No comments: