What you need to know before you go on your first press check

You’ve OK’d the ink jet proof and said go to press. Now what?

After you approved the proof, the make-ready process started. Printing plates were burned from your file and mounted on the press.

The correct ink and paper was loaded onto the press. The press was adjusted to assure the correct ink density and register. At this point, they probably called you and said, “We’re on press, come on down.”

When you arrive you are greeted by your customer service representative and are lead out to the noisy press floor. There, the pressman has already printed out the first few sheets of your press run. You are shown one, and you need to examine it for quality.

Now is not the time to be making type changes. Only make changes that can be accomplished by adjusting the press such as ink densities or color consistency. If you are lucky all other changes would have been caught before this point. If you aren’t, it’s a very expensive proposition to stop the press. Typically, idle press time is charged at $400 to $800 per hour.
These are the things that you should be looking for:

  • Is the type sharp? Use a magnifying loop to check for broken or doubled lines caused by slurring or stretched paper.
  • Look for color consistence from on side of the sheet to the other.
  • Is the color correct? Compare it to the prepress proof.
  • Is it being printed on the correct paper stock?
  • Are the crossovers correct and the pages in the right order?
  • If you are printing a spot color, is it correct?
  • Are all graphic elements in place?
  • Look for hickies and other blemishes.
  • Is everything in register?

Always, remember to take a couple of press sheets with you for your files.