American Printer's mission is to be the most reliable and authoritative source of information on integrating tomorrow's technology with today's management.

The pitfalls of proof to press matching

Oct 1, 2007 12:00 AM

         Subscribe in NewsGator Online   Subscribe in Bloglines

This is an area of printing that can be very difficult and confusing. Having a perfect match between a press sheet and a prepress proof normally is not possible. If a perfect match is needed between a proof and a press sheet, then the best method is to do a press proof on the press the job will actually print on. Some will pay for that service because they need — or want — an extremely close match. This begs the question: For a given price, how far off are we willing to be? You must decide that for yourself. But, answering that question leads to many more.

For example, “Should I go to press with a new prepress proof every run or use a sample press sheet from the last run?” The best answer is to use a new, fresh proof. Many times, the sheet from the last run was a compromise or it has aged. The most stable target is the properly made proof.

Another question often asked is, “Should I accept the customer's proof?” My answer would be, “No.” Why try to match a proof that is not matched to my press or to my process colors? Likewise, why match a bad proof? For quality color, always make a fresh proof and compare it to the supplied proof. If there are differences, then speak with the customer.

Editor's note:

Ray Prince's “Tech Thought” series appears each month in AP.

See And, don't miss his new podcasts at

Raymond J. Prince is a leading expert in pressroom technical and operational issues. He recently joined NAPL (Paramus, NJ) as vice president and senior consultant, operations management. Contact him at (605) 941-1492 or e-mail