Soft Proof VS Hard Proof VS Offset Printing Sample
02-16-2023 08:39:39

Proofing is the most important part of printed matter. In a production environment where quality is paramount, the degree of matching between the sample and the final product directly determines the customer's satisfaction with the printing quality.

printing proof

What is a proof in printing?

Proofing is to test the quality of pre-press production and provide characteristic parameters for the pre-press process. Check whether the layout specifications, graphic content, positioning and overprinting of graphics and texts are correct through proofing. And check whether the layout color, level, gray balance, and uniformity meet the quality requirements. At the same time,proofing also provides color values and gray balance values for the pre-press production process, dot gain value and other characteristic parameters.
Proofing includes soft proofing and hard proofing and offset printing proof.

What is a soft proof in printing?

Soft proof, also known as PDF proofing. Proofing is the use of computer-aided color proofing system. The color image can be seen on the display screen, but the paper cannot be obtained. The proofing effect is usually displayed in the form of a PDF file, so also call PDF proofing. Soft Proofing is called Quick Check Method.

What is a hard proof in printing?

Hard proofing is to print the actual sample with paper and ink on the proofing machine. Hard proofing, often with digital proofing for checking the artwork before mass printing. Mass printing often with offset printing. Hard proofing just for checking color and content and is not display binding and post process effect as the final product. Hard proof can display any problem happen on image, text, size, layout, etc.

What's the offset printing sample?

Offset printing sample, also known as physical proofing. This type of sample is printed on an offset printing machine with the same printing material and process. The advantage of offset printing sample is to check the color and paper are used the same as your requirement or not.

Why do you need a digital proof for printing?

Digital proofing solves the problem of not needing to make a plate, and the proofing cycle is shorter, which greatly improves work efficiency and greatly saves proofing costs. Hard proof is making for checking artwork before mass printing. That means the clients can check the artwork and make any corrections at this stage. Which can help clients save a lot of extra cost.
When we need to print in large quantities, we have to go through multiple proofing, color adjustment, and proofing again to ensure the final effect. Then the book printing factory takes the final sample and confirms the color with the customer to ensure that the mass printing can be consistent with the proofing. Besides, there are some processes that are more difficult to register, such as uv effect, which needs to be proofed to determine the registration situation, especially for some small text uv.

In which case needs to make offset printing sample?

Usually, when your color requirement is very high. Such as with special Pantone color in your artwork, offset printing sample will show accurately how they appear when printed. Thus, when have high color requirement for printing or when you print high value and large bulk quantity project, offset printing proof is very necessary. Offset printing sample can help you check your color and make sure accurate to copy your artwork as possible as.

Soft proofing VS hard proofing VS offset printing sample

Hard proofs are much more accurate in color calibration than on-screen pdf checks. Also, hard proof is easier to check text, image, logo than PDF proof.
Hard proofs are made before any plates are made for the mass printing. This means the client can inspect the work and make any necessary corrections at this stage. It saves customers extra costs as it is a relatively cheap proofing option. Hard proof is useful if color accuracy is an important factor in your print job. Like custom board books, art book, photo book, etc.
But now, must of the print jobs can do with PDF proof. The PDF proof will show all the information about the job, but with inaccurate colors. This is suitable for print jobs, such as handing out leaflets where color is not important.
The cost of offset printing proof is very high. If your color requirement is not very high, often not recommend making offset printing sample. Besides, make offset printing need to make a plate, it is a very time-consuming choice.

Does all types of printing need to print proof?

In fact, in printing, proofing is not required in all cases. For example, when printing leaflets, economical imposition printing is used. Since multiple customer files are printed together, proofing and coloring cannot be done in this case, so proofing is not required. When the printing quantity is relatively small, there is often no proofing, because the cost of proofing is very high.

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