March 14, 2023
Ralph Hamm, Customer Service Manager
I often field calls from publishers; specifically, from people who are considering self-publishing their work. I enjoy these conversations as it provides an opportunity start the conversation about the printing and binding process. A topic that comes up often is proofing, and it usually circles back to me asking customers what their expectations are of the final product. It is a question that everyone should consider, no matter what level of experience a person has in publishing.
The proofing process is an important topic to consider and discuss during the quoting process. Emphasis needs to be placed on it before finalizing the purchase order and specifications for your project. There are cost considerations as contract colour proofs do add to the price of a book project. We understand that the economics of book publishing enforce a level of prudence when it comes to expenses. It is important that your expectations are aligned with the number of proofs that are requested, and that the outcome and your satisfaction are not compromised due to a lack of contract proofing.
Today, most of the full-colour projects are run without a full set of contract proofs. Customers use a sample set, say eight to sixteen pages depending on their overall page count, to determine if expectations are being met. This means that not all pages are contract proofed. The customer approval of this sample set means you, our customer, are generally happy with the colour. Friesens works in a colour-managed environment, and the practice of using a colour-calibrated monitor for reference will suffice. If your expectations are that each image will match to previously produced work, or if there are certain tones or details that must be produced in each image and on each page, then a full set of contract proofs should be considered. This will add cost to the process, but it will also emphasize the importance that a close colour match is required.
Our press practices are also different when a full set of contract proofs are produced. We will require these proofs to be returned so that they can be referenced when the project is produced. A press operator will compare each proof to the corresponding page and make adjustments on press as needed to ensure the closest possible match to each proof.
We produce a variety of projects and books with a variety of imagery. They might contain photography, artwork, or illustrations. Colour management, profiles, and technology have made consistent colour easier to achieve. Colour and how it is described has always used subjective terms. Proofing brings objectivity into the conversation.
In the end, we want to produce a project that meets or exceeds your expectations. Proofing helps Friesens understand what your objectives are for the work that is being reproduced.
Our account managers and customer service team is here to help, so we welcome a conversation anytime you are concerned about making sure your next colour project meets your expectations.