Green Printing-Soft Proofing and Hard Proofing

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Green printing is not always perfect. Let's take the proofing of a job. Ideally, from a green approach we would like to show a proof online(soft proof) and save the transportation of a hard proof from us to the customer and back. If there are changes you could be saving a lot of time, money and reducing the impact of the transportation of the proof.

There are some drawbacks to showing hard proofs at times, although, systems are improving all the time and have made dramatic improvements in the last few years. The problem occurs that you may not see accurate color on a soft proof. Most computer monitors are not calibrated and even if they are the translation of RGB(Red, Green, Blue) on a computer monitor to CMYK(Cyan, Magenta,Yellow & BlacK) inks can make this a challenging and possible problem area.

Most good printing companies are interested in coming as close to the end product that you want and that a hard proof should reasonably predict. The problem is if you are judging your color from a monitor most times you are using very different platforms to judge final color. That being said we recommend on more critical color jobs such as skintones, jewelry and fabric swatches that a customer see a hard proof. A hard proof is a proof produced on a paper substrate that is produced by equipment calibrated to the rip(raster image processor)that will be burning the plates and the press.

In digital printing you are actually seeing a press proof off of the actual press that will be running the job. Soft proofs are ideal for pleasing color jobs or very quick turn where the color is not absolute match color. As an industry, well over half the print jobs produced are pleasing color jobs that a soft proof would suffice.

Our recommendation at The Odee Company is if you are trying to match something very closely you need a hard proof. If you get a soft proof there is a real possibility of not having exact color. You are definitely helping to save the environment more by accepting a soft proof because it is all done over the internet and there are no transportation costs involved.

There are systems that give you more accurate color soft proofs but for the conventional mass majority of printing customers the cost does not warrant the end result. These systems will continue to evolve and improve and over the next few years soft proofing will gain more and more acceptance as it continues to become more accurate and costs are driven lower. Monitor calibration will be one of the biggest challenges so that all the monitors in the proofing change see color the same. A daunting challenge to do at a reasonable cost.

If you have some question about green printing soft or hard proofing, please contact us!

Written by Buzz Tatom
A printing company that cares about our world