On the line

Do you really need a proof with that Burger?

OK, so most prepress studios haven’t added burgers and fries to their offerings ( at least not yet) but the proof question has been circulating for several years.  Can I trust my monitor or do I absolutely need a contract proof to approve color?   I am not endorsing one product or another, but to start with you should run through a quick checklist for your project to see how it is being printed, who your art director is and finally if you have color calibratable monitor.

So, how is it being printed? Is for magazine or newspaper, sheet fed offset, out of home, large format?  Knowing this and what the printer’s requirements are is a great first step.  With the advent of pdf workflows many publications and even individual printers no longer require or even want proofs, they will just throw them out because they are running a monitor press side and the pressman are checking their color against a virtual color system.  Adding a hard proof into that mix just creates one more level of challenges for the printer and their pressman.

Who is your art director? Now you are thinking how in the world does this impact what kind of proof I choose?  Well I will tell you, A/D’s like to hold and feel their work, they also like to see the dot pattern in the proof.  What they usually don’t know is that the dot pattern they insist on is a fake. Yup, that’s right all of the contract proofing systems that show a dot pattern are creating a “fake” dot to replicate the patterns they will see on press created from the separations.  So now you need to convince them that a continuous tone proof is just fine to check color or you go to the virtual color on screen.

Which brings us to the calibrated monitor.  This is a serious investment for your vendor or in house studio, however well worth it of you are committed to going to a paperless system.  There are  a number of companies that make these type of monitors, they will need to be calibrated on a weekly basis (ideally daily) to make sure they stay within an acceptable color gamit and true to whichever color match system you are using.

Overall the debate still rages, however if you want to follow industry trends, I would suggest moving towards a paperless, on screen color matching system.  It may be difficult to brake some old habits, but in the end your color consistency and workflow will be better for it.


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Categories: Musings.

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