Since we respond to the voice of the customer (VOC) and some of our customers do without printed color proofs, we must ask ourselves: is proof of contract relevant today? Should we stop offering printed color proofs? Should we give the customer what they want, even if it`s not the best practice? After dealing with these issues in our shop a few years ago, we decided to develop SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) for proofing on all our printing processes. When we produce in offset, we test the color with our Epson, if it is toner-based and color-intensive, we test the color with the production equipment with which it is printed, as well as with the substrate on which it is printed. In the end, we decided to require our customers to provide a contractual color proof for the following reasons: Checking our result on the press is just as important as checking our color proof. There are several standard color strips that we can use to review our prints. FTA`s FLEXOGRAPHIC IMAGE Reproduction Specifications & Tolerances (FIRST) methodology suggests a control strip that includes a scale for each color in the CMYK process, overlay elements, and a gray balance. It would be advisable to place these control strips on both sides of the print, although this is not always possible depending on the design and width of the strip. These control strips must be compared to our printing standard. It is important to understand that a contract proof should simulate our default print type instead of changing our default print type so that the pattern resembles our proof. How did this method of proofing come onto the market? The best source of information about any technology is the end user.
Below are excerpts from testimonials (provided by Lateran) that praise the benefits of digital raster proofing: What were your selection criteria for adding digital proofing? “We chose this system for several reasons. First, it generates one-off evidence. Secondly, because we print on several different substrates, we can transfer our images to the specific substrate used for the application so that we can correct the color of the substrate. Thirdly, we like the idea of being able to use ink sheets very close to our inks and densities on the press. Fourth, the system was recommended to us by a commercial offset printer, which had great success with it. (Andre Michaud, Chief Graphic Officer, Dow Industries, Wilmington, MA, USA) How is mixed digital evidence received by your key customers? “After working with analog proofing conjectures for so many years, the biggest challenge has been to make our customers understand that the four-color process they see on the proof is what they can expect in the press. When they sign their contractual credentials of this system on the actual substrates on which we are going to operate, they know that we are going to deliver them to the press. This certainly saves them time and money for printed approvals. (Mark Howard, Vice President of Graphics Services, Syracuse Label, Syracuse, NY, USA) How were your proofing criteria met by digital raster proofing? “We spent three years studying high-end proofing systems before making a decision. We were looking for technologies that would improve what we needed in our operations. We were looking for prices that would fit into our chain, and we were looking for proofing media that were easy to use. This system is extremely accurate and consistent on a day-to-day basis.
We calibrated it during installation, and it hasn`t deviated from that calibration since. (Paul Harstrom, Composition Director, Discount Labels, New Albany, IN, USA) The quality and performance of a proofing system can be verified by Fogra and issued, for example, with the “Contract Proof Creation” certificate. Companies certified by Fogra to create a proof of contract can use the FograCert logo. The certification number on the Fogra website makes it easy to check for which proof standard the certificate was issued and whether it is valid. Verification of a print proof for CE printing (e.B. CMYK + OGV) implies that the verification process must be adapted. This includes using a control strip that contains all of our process colors and specifying custom tolerances for those additional colors. Anyone familiar with the prepress proofing aspect of the printing industry has likely heard a story about the print salesperson meeting their client at the local adult beverage show. Happy hour is a great time to relax and get to know your customer outside of the work environment.
And by the way, it brings the last proof of contract of a packing order, which the customer can approve and sign. The customer has his place in the darkness of the living room, they discuss the work, the salesman shows him the proof, the customer looks at it from different angles, says “Yes, it looks really good” and signs it. About a week later, the customer receives his printed product and the color reproduction is not even close to what the customer thinks he signed in the bar. And that`s what history says. The type of color reproduction requires consistency, predictability, and repeatability. It starts with displaying colors in the lighting that resemble the environment in which the final printed part is offered for sale and continues and continues to set standards for ink, substrate, etc. Although this story is a bit far-fetched, proof of contract was by definition a controversial target, especially in the field of flexo. The standard explanation for color variability in the flexo process is usually given as follows: “Well, we don`t have standards like SWOP, Gracol, Euro, etc., and press configurations and ink dispensing systems have a lot of variables, so every printer is different and standardization is a good concept, but not practical.” Well, standardization is an ongoing process and is being developed using industry-based approaches such as FIRST, Flexographic Image Reproduction Specifications and Tolerances..