Ed #11 Print It

Looking OK

So what should you be looking for?

Begin with a once-over. First, scan the entire sheet and compare it to the content proof, such as a blueline, and the final color proof. Make sure that all photos, artwork, and copy are in place, including any special codes or identification numbers. Check carefully to ensure that the sheet incorporates all of the corrections made on the proof. Verify the dimensions of the page and the paper stock.

If all the basics check out, look at everything in more detail. Working under correct lighting conditions, most often found in a special color-viewing booth, check the overall color, corporate colors and any “memory” colors, such as the yellow of a school bus. Compare spot colors to your ink drawdown or the sample you already provided to the printer. Pay special attention to large areas of solid colors, since even slight variations in ink or toner will make the results look uneven. If the project contains images that cross over the gutter, make sure that the color and ink density are the same on both sides. (If the two parts of the image appear on different forms, cut one out so you can hold it next to the other). You should also make sure that any varnishes or coatings appear where they are supposed to and have a uniform appearance.

Check the register by using a loupe to look for dots—or rows of dots—that are hanging at the edges of four-color photos. Good quality four-color process work calls for a register tolerance of .010 of an inch, or a row of dots; and even one color out of register on a four-color job can cause the color to shift, especially when printing cyan or magenta.

You won’t be the only one looking at the job. The printer will also be examining it, using both a trained eye and some special tools including control strips and a densitometer.

The control strips or color bars (described and illustrated on “Bar Exam”) that appear on almost all sheets are key tools in achieving and maintaining quality printing. Using a densitometer, a small device that measures the amount of light reflected from a printed surface, the printer can use the bars to measure color density, and other factors in print performance.

Find the Perfect Paper

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