Proofing Choices

The right type of proofing saves you money and time.

colors-book printing :

Two types of proofing media is available: press proof and digital proof. Which one better suits your needs and budget? Let’s take a look both so you can make an informed decision. While China used to be known for producing very cheap press proofs (relatively speaking); it has been gradually switching over the digital proofs over the past few years.

What is Press Proof?

Press proofs are made by specialized printing presses using the actual ink and paper. As a matter of fact, the printing plates used by the press proof will be later used on the actual commercial production of the job. These specialized proof presses are semi-automatic and can only print one color at a time, so to print a standard full-color job, four of these presses are needed. Since the press proof uses actual ink and paper as the real commercial production, the press proof can be finished and bound just like a real piece.

What is Digital Proof?

Digital proofs come in a wide variety of different flavors. Most digital proofs are produced by inkjet printers. These inkjet printers are not the regular home desktop inkjets; they are professionally manufactured for the graphics arts and printing industry. The paper, ink, software, and hardware used to make a digital proof are much more expensive than a regular home desktop inkjet. Digital proofs come in flats and cannot be finished and bound. They are usually used to make sure the color and other elements are in the proper place.

Which is Better?

If the files have been proofed for color already (in-house or with your designer) and the contents are not likely to change, a press proof will provide a better sense of how the final product will turn out.

At-a-Glance Digital Proofs vs. Press Proofs

Digital ProofsPress Proofs
Finished and boundNo. Flats sheets onlyYes
Actual Printing InkNoYes
PMS InkNoYes
Actual Paper StockNoYes
Real Printing Dots and Screen AnglesNoYes
Consistent Color from One Round to the NextYesNo
Cost per Initial ProofLowHigh
Cost per Subsequent ProofLowHigh
Good for Making ChangesYesNo
Color AccuracySimulated; however, it is very close99% to the actual printing
Color Consistency over RoundsExcellentFair
Registration of ColorsPerfectFair
Turn-Around Time3-7 days10-14 days

Common Draw-Backs of Press Proofs

Manual Paper FeedingPressman can easily cause scratches, smudges, fingerprinting, etc.
Printing One Color per UnitNone of the four pressman will have complete control over the final collective full-color.
Real Printing PlatesExpensive to replace if there are changes to the file.
Binding and FinishingHand-made: will be less perfect, less sturdy, and uneven than the actual production piece.

Cost Comparison

Digital ProofsPress Proofs
Initial Cost$640$856
Cost to Replace One Page$10$107
Cost to Replace Two Pages$20$107 to $214

Cost estimation is based on 64 page standard size catalog. Price shown here is for reference only and does not reflect actual cost.

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