When printing high value jobs (prospectuses or annual reports for example), it’s worth attending a press pass. But what should you look out for?

Consistency and accuracy are the two key considerations, look out for discrepancies in paper stock, colours, registration, marks and image quality.

A press pass will typically take place once the printing press has been set-up and before the run has started. Depending on production schedules, your press pass may happen late in the evening or very early in the morning, so be prepared.

press pass

The fundamentals

Firstly, check the correct paper stock is being used – look for colour, weight and texture variations ensuring it’s the same as that specified.

Scan the flat sheets as they come off the press to check the colour balance across the sheet. Flat tints should be uniform without banding.

Check the content is consistent with that of the proof; look for missing elements and make sure the latest changes from the last round of amends also appear on the printed sheet.

Colour accuracy

Check the overall colour quality of images and solid blocks, paying particular attention to flesh tones.

Excessive dot gain can cause images to appear too dark, if this is the case, talk to the print technician about options.

Check registration, poorly aligned plates can affect the sharpness of images; text or titles may appear slightly blurred.

Match sheets with the latest colour proofs; if printing Pantone references in CMYK, cross check the relevant swatch in your Pantone book.

If a corporate style guide is available which contains the corporate logo or other artwork in the correct colour, bring it along.

If you’re checking a reprint or a job that resembles a previously printed document, bring that too – it’s always handy to have for reference.

Technical considerations

Scan sheets for any marks, scratches or hicks – don’t be afraid to point these out to the press technician.

Using a Loupe, look for colour creep in any white, reverse or knock-out text – you shouldn’t be able to see any colour in these areas.

If your job specifies a special coating or sealer, make sure it’s on there too. A coating can alter colours slightly, changing how they reflect light. Sometimes a second press pass may be required for this process.

Finally, don’t be afraid to raise any concerns, no matter how small – it’s your print job after all.

Speak to us today about an upcoming project, hello@creativesponge.co.uk or call us: 01603 622766