How to know when a printer’s proof
by Reuben Malz
A brand company goes through many revision cycles until a final PDF is approved.
Management gives the go ahead to print 500,000 labels.
Purchasing fires off a purchase order to the printer with the approved PDF file attached.
Most people consider this to be the end of the line and the expectation that the printed labels will be delivered in a few days.
The packaging engineers know better.
The Brand companies approved PDF is far from being “Print-Ready”.
The Printer depends on professionals from pre-press to trap, bleed, and impose the file, correct errors in the Brand companies file and much more. The end result is a derivative of the Brand companies approved PDF file. This is the “Printer’s Proof”.
But Printing cannot begin.
Remember the Purchase Order the Brand company sent to the Printer? This is the “Contract”.
In order for the printer to get paid for printing 500,000 labels, the contract requires that the 500,000 labels match the Brand companies approved PDF file exactly. NOT the Proof!
Printing cannot begin until the PDF is verified against the Proof. But whose responsibility is it to check
Most printers will send the proof to the Brand company and wait for the signoff before starting print production.
But even with the Brand companies signoff of the proof, the printer cannot take the risk and assume there are no errors in the Proof for the following reasons:
- The Brand company may sign and never have checked the Proof.
- The Brand company may have checked quickly and missed an obvious error.
- The responsibility is usually assumed to be shared.
- The Purchase order has legal weight.
- The Brand company may be in the wrong, and refuse to pay.
- The Brand company may be wrong, but the Printer will not want to lose the customer.
- The Brand company may be in the right, but loses time to market.
- The Brand company may be in the right, but delays production.
It is for these reasons that both parties will need to verify the Printer’s Proof.
Misconception #2 – The Printer’s Proof, is part two in a five part series about the misconceptions in packaging quality control. Visit our blog next week for Misconception #3 – The Approved Text Copy.