These tips should help you spot any potential errors in your proof. This is to help you avoid paying for a costly reprint.

1. Print it out.

In the past, a proof was always a hard copy, now it tends to be transmitted as a pdf by email. Email is, of course, quick and cost effective. Unfortunately, when processes are speeded up, we find many people are less thorough in their checking.

When we email a proof to you, we strongly suggest that you print off a hard copy. Why? For some psychological reason, we have noticed that you are more likely to notice errors on a hard copy. This is especially true for grammatical errors.

As mentioned in my last article, we would prefer if you didn’t use your smart phone to check a proof. The big clue to us is when we see “Sent from my iPhone” at the bottom of your confirmation email!

Another big clue to us that the proof has not been thoroughly checked is when we receive a confirmation email barely two minutes later urging us to go ahead with the printing!

Although your office printed proof will not show you the final colours or final paper style, it will give you a good idea of the size and all the elements of the design.

Another potential hazard of viewing the pdf proof on your screen. The proof could be re-sized without you realising. This means your artwork could look either better or worse than the final artwork.

2. Ask a colleague to read and check over your artwork.

We encourage our clients to share the proof with their colleagues. You can read a paragraph three times and still miss an error. However, if three people read the same paragraph, almost certainly one of those three people will spot the error!

3. The text is more than spelling.

If you are glancing over the text and only checking for spelling errors, then you may be missing other important elements.

On your hard copy print out, please also look at the size and readability of your copy. Is everything clear and understandable? Are the fonts too thin, too thick? Are they consistent and correct? Do the fonts adhere to your corporate guidelines? Is there enough space around the blocks of text? Are there unintentional double spaces between words and letters? Does it look like it did on screen, or is something not quite matching on the printout?

4. Is something missing?

This is a tricky one because a proof is not intended for checking colour accuracy. Sometimes a colour can be seen on a screen but not necessarily seen when printed out as a hardcopy. There is more than one reason for this occurring. The most common reason is when the artwork has been set up as RGB rather than CMYK.

I don’t want to get too technical because we usually spot this issue before a client does. We will always alert you to this issue for you to correct. In some circumstances, we will be able to correct the problem for you.

5. Flaws

Can you see any little marks, scratches, spots, or strange patterns in solid colour areas on your printed proof? Do please speak to us if you have any doubts about what you see on the proof. The good news is, most of these issues can be corrected before you ask us to go ahead with the printing.

Ultimately, the responsibility is with you to check the proof thoroughly. This is why it is so important to let us know if you have any concerns about your proof.