Ed #11 Print It

It’s OK

Press OKs vary from press to press and job to job. Getting the color in a limited edition art catalog exactly right is one thing. Trying to achieve the same level of quality for a mass-produced advertising insert is another. 

Some projects may not require a press check at all, if the proofs are acceptable, you’re confident about the printer and there is nothing unusual when it comes to inks, coatings, special effects or stock. Some designers may also choose not to bother with a press check if they are reprinting a job that they have produced previously. And some print buyers believe that projects that are printed digitally don’t need to be OK’d at all, since the device’s settings are known and can be matched precisely to the proof.

Of course, there are still good reasons to hold a press check—if you’re printing on a challenging stock, for example. Press checks can also help to protect everyone’s interests when printing high-profile projects like annual reports or corporate image brochures. And even the most carefully planned projects can often benefit from a little fine tuning.

The most important reason to hold a press check, however, is that computer monitors and most proofing systems only provide an approximation of what you will see on press. While proofing systems are getting better, it remains difficult to proof metallic inks, spot coatings or varnishes and fluorescent colors. It can also be difficult to predict the effect that colored or textured stock might have on the appearance of the project.

So press checks remain an important step in the production process. And whether it’s a quick once-over or a multi-form marathon, some basic rules apply.

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