What to look for when checking color proofs

July 21, 2009

The great thing about today’s office color printers is that it is inexpensive to get printouts at any stage of the design process.

As you get close the completion of your project it’s important to print out your project and mock it up to check for color quality and content, plus technical factors. What to look for on your color mock-up:

  • Check that the colors are consistent throughout all pages.
  • Check memory colors. Colors that are expected to look a certain way such as skin, sky or grass.
  • Check color selected from color-matching systems against printed swatches.
  • Make sure that bleeds and crossovers extend at least 1/8 inches beyond the page margins.

What to look for on a prepress proof:

  • Digitally printed prepress proofs usually have no halftone dots. Ink-jet proofs should be checked for color quality and overall appearance.
  • Look for missing copy elements, overprinting and the quality of the black ink compared to the other inks it overprints.
  • Check images to make sure that they are still in the correct position.
  • Look for overall color shift. This could be an indication of a calibration problem with your monitor.
  • Scan your copy for hyphenation errors and weird line breaks. Also keep an eye out for double spaces in your document.
  • Check all addresses and phone numbers for the last time.
  • Make sure that all pages and page numbers are in the correct order.

If possible it’s always good to check your color proof in a light booth with ISO-standard 5,000 Kelvin lighting.

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