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What To Look For At A Press Check
The purpose of a press check is simply to make sure that the printing is done up to expectations. Things can happen in the process between your files and the job setup to the printer. The press check simply lends eyes from someone who is intimate with the project – they may notice something someone else would not. It also affords you the hands-on ability to ensure a quality outcome for your client.
By the time you get to the press check stage, you should have gone through several rounds of proofing. At this point, it is not the time to be proofreading and checking for typos. That should have been done already. What you will be checking for is quality in production.
Tip: Bring any important reference material with you when you go. This could mean any mock ups, former proofs, or color matching chips. These will be important tools of comparison to use to make sure nothing is missed.
Check the stock. Make sure the paper being used is the one agreed upon before going into production.
Compare against a mock up (folding dummy). Check that the pagination is correct and that all cross-over images line up correctly. Make sure no elements have shifted too close to the trim due to creep. Creep is simply the gradual extention of inner signatures caused by the thickness of the paper when assembled. It is also called pushout or thrust.
Look at your type. Make sure no fonts were replaced. Use your press proofs to compare the rag in order to check nothing has accidentally been dropped or shifted.
Check your images. Confirm that all of your images are cropped correctly and that their color is good. Especially for skin tones and products.
Compare color. If you are using spot color make sure they match your color chips or any specifications made prior to printing. Also compare several press sheets to ensure things remain consistent from sheet to sheet and that there is no mottling in large areas of color.
Trapping and registration should be examined. Look to make sure things line up on the edges. If you can see outlines of cyan or magenta it may mean the registration is off and should be corrected. Look for where one color abuts up against another and make sure the overlap (trapping) does not cause any overly dark lines – this may mean the trap is to large. Conversely, make sure there isn’t any space between color abutments.
Finally, look for any common printing issues. Some common problems are hickeys – or spots of imperfection, pickings – where the ink flakes off, and pinholes, which are tiny spots of missing ink. Make sure you point any of these out to the pressman.
Feb 19, 2014
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