FAQ
Colors
  • 1. Why do you require a PDF/X-4:2008 formatted PDF file for proofing?

    In order to produce cost effective proofs and meet the tight turn around, we can only process files that need NO intervention. The PDF/X-4:2008 format ensures that your PDF will process without intervention both here for proofing and at your commercial printer.

  • 2. What is a "Contract Proof?"

    Simply put: A Contract Proof is a color target that any commercial printer can achieve with little difficulty (assuming his equipment and processes are in proper working order).

    Explained In Greater detail: A Contract Proof is a color calibrated print output to a specific color standard (or profile) whose purpose is to predict how a file will reproduce in a specific commercial printing environment.

    The commercial printing process is not capable of reproducing the bright, vivid colors you'll get from your desktop printer which is why you cannot use your printout as a color target. A properly profiled proof will show (for better or worse) how close the commercial printer will be able to get to your ideal color before you release your file for production.

    Proofs are output using Sophisticated High-End Color Management Software on Specialized Proofing Equipment. Our Paper, Inks, Printers and Software all have to meet a certain standard in order for us to generate a contract proof. After your proof is generated, a Spectrophotometer is used to verify that your proof is within industry standard tolerances.

  • 3. Can I send the PDF you proofed to my commercial printer?

    Yes, Your PDF/X-4:2008 formatted PDF is suitable for production in a commercial printing environment.

  • 4. What file format can you proof?

    We require a PDF/X-4:2008 formatted PDF for proofing. We recommend that you create your file using a "Commercial Grade" Desktop Publishing software for your own sake. That being said, You can use any software to create your file as long as you can export your file to a PDF/X-4:2008 formatted PDF.

  • 5. Do I need to convert my file to CMYK?

    It goes without saying that your file (and all its elements) should be set up in the CMYK color space (not RGB or L.a.b.) so I will assume we are talking about Spot Colors vs. CMYK builds. Talk with your printer and convert your file to how ever many inks he advises you to print. Don't leave spot colors for the printer to convert. If you proof elements in your file as spot colors and ultimately decide to print it as process, the color in your proof will not match the press sheet. Some spot colors, especially the bright and deep ones, do not convert well to CMYK. You are going to want see how they render before you release your filers into production. If you change spot color elements to process colors you need submit the corrected file for a new proof.

    A word to the wise, Make sure you use CMYK builds from a Pantone Bridge book when you convert your spot colors to process. The trend in design software is to no longer convert spot colors to CMYK builds using the generally accepted CMYK builds you find in a bridge book. Instead they convert the color's L.a.b. values directly to CMYK. That L.a.b. conversion is NOT the conversion from any bridge book and will be problematic as you try to match your proof in a commercial printing environment.

  • 6. My file failed the preflight. Can you fix it for me?

    Your file failed the preflight because there are one or more elements that are not suitable for production in a commercial printing environment. It is important that you make the corrections to the file on your own server then export a new PDF for us to proof.

    If we make changes to your file then proof it, the proof you receive from us would serve no purpose as it would not reflect the file you plan to put into production.

  • 7. The color on my proof is not what I had anticipated, Why is that?

    The color you see on your proof will be what you can expect to see on a press sheet. If it is not what you had expected you need to adjust the colors on your file and submit a new pdf for proofing. Keep in mind that the color spectrum that can be created by mixing Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black in a commercial printing environment is much less vibrant than what you can see on your screen or print using your desktop printer. Unfortunately there will be some colors you just won't be able to achieve. Keep in mind, Realistic expectations are your best friend!

  • 8. Why is there a tint in the background of my proof?

    There are no "White" papers. Only "Shades of White" papers. Included in the profile you have selected is a "Paper White". As a part of the proofing process, you need to see how your colors will be affected by the color of the paper you are printing on.

  • 9. Why can't I just print my own contract proof? I have very good desktop printer.

    Your desktop printer is capable of producing a wide spectrum of colors. Prints can be bright, vivid and extremely pleasing to the eye. While this is exactly what you want when you print your Photos, it is definitely not what you want in a Contract Proof. Contract proofs need to simulate commercial printing.

    The commercial printing process is not capable of reproducing the bright, vivid colors you'll get from your desktop printer which is why you cannot use your printout as a color target. A properly profiled proof will show (for better or worse) how close the commercial printer will be able to get to your ideal color before you release your file for production.

    Proofs are output using Sophisticated High-End Color Management Software on Specialized Proofing Equipment. Our Paper, Inks, Printers and Software all have to meet a certain standard in order for us to generate a contract proof. After your proof is generated a Spectrophotometer is used to verify that your proof is within industry standard tolerances.

  • 10. Why are some of my white elements (type or art) missing?

    It is likely that the missing white elements were inadvertently set to overprint. Check their attributes in your desktop application.

    When a white element is set to overprint, the resulting "color" is actually clear not white. Your elements are there, you just can't see them. On the bright side, it is better to find out that these elements "overprint" on a proof rather than a press sheet.

    Elements are set to overprint for a variety of reasons. Usually this is done to generate a desired effect by mixing elements. Many new effects filters also utilize overprinting. Overprints are also used to generate traps.

  • 11. How confident can I be that the spot colors I have in my document will proof as they will print?

    While many spot colors commonly used in the printing industry proof well as a solid, there are other colors that cannot be reproduced in a proofing environment (think vibrant and deep colors, pastels, fluorescent and metallic inks).

    Although great strides have been made to render industry standard spot colors closer to the actual spot color, an ink drawdown on the substrate being used in production is the only true indication as to how a spot color will appear in the final product.

    Spot colors that interact with CMYK elements and spot colors interacting with one another cannot be proofed 100% accurately using the software and hardware available at this time. Only a person's experience and understanding of past performance can predict with a reasonable amount of certainty how a spot color that interacts with CMYK elements will render in a production environment using a certain set of press conditions.

  • 12. How will spot colors that interact with the CMYK elements and/or other spot color elements proof?

    Spot colors that interact with CMYK elements and spot colors interacting with one another cannot be proofed 100% accurately using the software and hardware available at this time. Only a person's experience and understanding of past performance can predict with a reasonable amount of certainty how a spot color that interacts with CMYK elements will render in a production environment using a certain set of press conditions.

  • 13. How are custom spot colors rendered?

    Very Important! Proper (precise) naming conventions must be used in order for the software to identify an “Industry Standard” spot color and render it in accordance with the color values built into the software.

    Special colors and incorrectly named “Industry Standard” spot colors will not be rendered using any tested and/or verified color values. Colors built into a file that fall into this category will rendered using the values built into the supplied file and not color managed in any way.

  • 14. How are Technical Colors rendered?

    "Technical colors" like those used to generate CAD drawings will all be rendered using a single color.

  • 15. Why are the measurements and other technical data printed on my proof? It is obvious that those elements will not be on my press sheet.

    In order to meet tight turn around and pricing schedules Proofing Solutions cannot open and alter files. Removing technical data and other elements would require us to manipulate your file.

    There are agencies that want the technical data printed on the proof. If we were in a position to manipulate your file, it would not be possible for us to know which elements should be deleted and which elements should print.

    For this reason, we proof all files as supplied.