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Types of Printing Proofs

Updated: Mar 14

There is much more than meets the eye when it comes to printing services. The main reasons you get a high-quality final product when printing with us at CityPress are our expertise, top-notch machinery, and the types of printing proofs we use.

If you are planning on placing an order for printing a product for your company, you should know that the design must go through proofing. To be entirely satisfied with the final print, we ensure you have the best proofing options available.

So, let’s find out what we have at our disposal so that you will get the desired printed materials!

Types of Printing Proofs
Source: / Photo Contributor: socrates471

Why Are Printing Proofs Important?

One of the crucial elements in the printing industry is printing proof. Before we start mass printing your materials, we need to ensure there are no errors in the designs. As a professional printing service, we target several features of the print with the printing proofs, such as:

  • Text (typos, grammar, text size, spacing, font, and other specifications)

  • Image (image location, size, color accuracy, resolution, etc.)

  • Content (ensuring the materials contain all the needed information)

  • Print size

  • Page order and pagination elements

  • Folds, binding, and die-lines when applicable

  • Positioning, corp marks, registration marks, margins, and bleed

  • Overall aesthetics

In other words, with the printing proof, we ensure the materials have passed the quality control checks and there are no mistakes. The proofing process eventually saves your business money by reducing the risk of printing faulty marketing materials.

Types of Printing Proofs

There are different types of printing proofs, and each one can be used for a specific reason. But what types of printing proofs are commonly used in the industry? 

Well, it depends on our printing technique to make the final product and your wishes as our client. So, some of the most requested and helpful proofs are:

  • Soft proofs

  • Hard proofs

  • Press proofs

  • Plotter proofs

  • Bluelines

Depending on the form you get the proof in, we distinguish analog and digital types of proofs in the printing process. 

Analog proofs are the ones that are printed out, and you get them in hard copy, such as a blueline or hard proofs. The printed types of proofs are divided into two categories: low and high-resolution proofs. Digital and Sherpa proofs are high-resolution proofs, while low-resolution proofs include, but are not limited to, plotter, scatter, and content proofs.

On the other hand, digital proofs are typically digital files that may or may not be printed. The most common digital proofs are soft proofs and digital prepress proofs.

Soft proofs

Soft proofs are typically PDF files. If we send out a soft proof, you should use an electronic device to get an accurate representation of the print. The advantages of soft proofs are that they are affordable, environmentally friendly, and can be produced on short notice. 

They can be crucial for projects where you want to get the materials as soon as possible. From a soft proof, you can easily verify the quality of the print, check the text and image placement, look for typos and grammar mistakes, and ensure you have all the information, etc.

The biggest limitation of soft proof is that they can’t produce a precise color representation. Also, they don’t allow you to physically see and feel the printed product.

Hard proof

Hard proofs are a physical version of the print. Sometimes, we like to refer to them as mock-ups or prototypes.

To avoid confusion, hard proofs might not be the same quality as the finished product you will get from us. They closely match what your print will look like, but they typically lack some features.

For instance, hard proofs will have lower quality but are excellent tools to have an idea of how the final product will look. They are excellent for approving the dimensions and materials of the project. They are also tangible, and every client of ours has found them extremely helpful.

Press proof

You should ask for a press proof if you want to see exactly how your final print looks. They also go under the name of wet proofs.

This type of printing proof is an accurate representation of the final product. We print them out on your chosen paper and use the same settings as the original materials

However, if you are on a tight budget, getting press proof might not be worth it. Press proofs might be expensive because we need to go through the whole process of setting up our machines.

Plotter proofs

Plotter proofs are also known as inkjet proofs. You can ensure many things are how they are supposed to be, like pagination, layout, content, and product size. The main issue that you won’t be able to spot on a plotter proof is regarding the image quality and color accuracy.


Bluelines are inexpensive proofs; we recommend them when you only want to check the print's layout, books, and pagination. In certain cases, you can also use a blueline to check the text components. As the name suggests, the blueline is printed entirely blue, so you can not see the color accuracy or the image quality.

Why Are Printing Proofs Important?
Source: / Photo Contributor: DmyTo


Now you know the different types of printing proofs and the pros and cons of each. By using the printing proof, we can make sure there are no errors and the materials have passed quality control checks.

So, you are ready to place your order; you can use our online services portal to do so. On the other hand, if you have any further questions about our company's proofing or printing process, feel free to contact us.

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