It is paramount in flexographic printing to go to press with the right plates, ink & stickyback, in order to produce the correct print the first time. However, with a process that involves so many variables, accurate proofing and customer education becomes ever more important.

“In the packaging market, the accuracy of brand colors is critical. Research shows that consumers spend five seconds or less making their decision on what product to pick from the shelf - the brand color is a key to picking the product. Consistency and predictability of color in packaging is an important requirement for the brand owner.” ~ David Harris, Esko.

Until the late 1990s, the printing industry mainly relied on manual processes to produce proofs, but with the arrival of wide format inkjet devices, software developers began to develop front end proofing solutions to control both data interpretation and color output. Today, digital PDF proofing is the norm and education to end customers about color expectation is the most important part of the process.

To meet the many needs in the packaging industry, PlateCrafters offers a variety of proofing options. PDF proofing is the preferred practice for most print jobs and allows for instant viewing and approvals. Critical to PDF proofing is the need to educate the end customer on how monitor’s color displays vary and that they can not expect the color they see on screen to be achieved on press.

Pantone PMS books should be provided to the end user for spot printing. In process printing, managing expectations of the end user so that they can expect a certain amount of variation on press is key to providing a great end product that the customer loves. Unlike many pre-press houses, PlateCrafters never charges for pdf proofs.

A physical proof for layout and color assignment is incredibly helpful for any pressman. That is why also included with every set of plates at no charge is a standard laser color printout on 8.5x11. This type of proof is perfect for pressman to easily see position and color selection. Though this proof should never be used as a color matching guide. The goal is to produce the best end product, not reproduce a laser proof.

To demonstrate layout for larger jobs, your customer or pressman may request to see a 100% scale proof. PlateCrafters is able to provide an inexpensive option for this purpose with our wide web HP proofs. This is perfect for wide web and larger format print jobs when a full size proof is needed.

When the end customer is in need of a quality physical proof, PlateCrafters recommends a high end Epson printer that utilizes appropriate color management software on the front end. This is the ideal proofing method for process printing. If your customer or pressman need a high quality color proof, this is the best option. Appropriate education about on press variance and managing color matching expectations remains vital.

With Kodak's true color halftone quality proofing system Approval, the output can build color as on press, accurately capturing all the variables and provide a contract quality proof. The system can check accuracy, consistency, color and appearance and consistently control screen angles, screen ruling, density per color and dot shapes. The Kodak Approval is the highest quality digital proof in the industry and PlateCrafters is happy to provide you one. However, we generally discourage it, because the proof will look better than you can match on press. As as with all proofing, education and managing the end customer’s expectations is the most important aspect.

Finally, the best possible proof is a press proof pulled directly from the press that will make the final product. Your press is unique and nothing will ever look exactly like what your press can accomplish. This is the most expensive route, but when the customer demands to know exactly what the final product will look like, this is the only true option.

From education to PDF proofing to the highest quality proofs in the industry, whatever your proofing needs: PlateCrafters can meet your requirements. Contact us and allow one of our dozens of pre-press artists to go over your file and proofing options with you. Simply let us know how we can help: 888-Flexo-Plate.

Mission Statement

“To honor God and our fellow man through the quality manufacturing of printing plates, enhancing the world we live in via numerous industries; while handling business in such a way that leaves our employees, customers, vendors, and society blessed through our conduct.”