Until recently, most designers were designing more print ads than web banners and more packaging and collateral than social media art. It wasn’t long ago that most marketing teams used outside agencies to handle everything from design to print.
But with the new trend in streamlining creative and staff, you have designers and marketing people buying print directly via the web and cutting out the middleman. With so many options out there from digital toner-based printing and die sublimation to more traditional offset printing, its very likely you (a marketing pro or web/digital designer) will be tasked with doing a press check and putting your signature on the dotted line at the printer.
Approving a vinyl bus wrap or trade show booth graphic is a big deal! Once you approve it, you are on the hook for the costs and that can be stressful. There is nothing worse than when you’re at the printer and your RGB file “looks brighter on screen” and you are not sure what can be done about it. From prepress preparations, substrate, and the type of machine your project is being printed on, there are many factors that effect how your job will turn out.
Here are 4 TIPS for a successful press check that will ensure your campaigns print with perfection:
TIP 1: YOU HAVE THE POWER
You decide if the color looks good, not the salesperson or the press operator. If something doesn’t feel right, say something! That is exactly why you are there.
TIP 2: COME PREPARED – THE PRESS CHECK IS YOUR LAST CHANCE
This far into the process, you have probably seen the artwork a million times and it’s all beginning to blur. Hopefully you have seen a mini mock-up (if you are printing on a substrate besides standard paper) or printed color proof to ensure any final tweaks to copy, content and retouching are finalized. That is the stage to fix anything that may have slipped through the cracks. Once you are at the press check be prepared with any notes or reference you may need to ensure all of your changes have been made.
TIP 3: BE FLEXIBLE, BUT NOT A PUSHOVER
Today, with all the hi-resolution screens, ink jets, and digital printers that can print thousands of colors, we can forget that what we see on screen might just look a little better than what will print on a textile banner or cardboard substrate. Today’s standard is to send out digital proofs that are faster and cheaper that anything else we have ever had access to in the past. These files are perfect for making sure your content is correct and that the color is where you want it to be. So when you show up to sign off at the press check, make sure you express and acknowledge any difference between your digital proofs and what the art looks like on the final substrate.
TIP 4: BE RESOURCEFUL
The printing process isn’t always silky smooth. Sometimes even when the printer tries to make adjustments, it still doesn’t look quite right. This is when a calm demeanor and an inclusive attitude can really help you find a solution. Getting the salesperson, press operator, and even the designer together to come up with a plan of attack can do wonders. It may take a little time or even cost extra to finish, but in the end everyone will be happy.
If you have read this far you are most likely a business owner launching your own advertising campaign or you are an in-house designer now tasked with putting your signature on the company’s printed marketing materials. Remember: you are not alone! You can always consult your team of pre-press operators and salespersons or hire an agency like ours that has the expertise you need to make your project perfect.