Political Printing: What To Look For In A Proof

political printing proofs

Political Printing: What To Look For In A Proof

So you send your final political direct mail file off to the printer and breathe a sigh of relief. Not so fast! Political printing is a much longer process than that. After you send off your final political direct mail file, the printer will send you back something called a print proof that you need to approve. A print proof is an exact mock up of what your piece will look like when it prints so its important you take the time to look it over carefully. If you don't like how your piece looks on the printer proofs, you won't like how it turns out when it's printed. Below are a few items to be sure to look for in your printer proof:

Clear, crisp images

The first and most important thing to look for in a printer proof is that your images are clean and crisp. If your images look dull or low resolution, it's important that you flag it with your printer, because the chances are they will look even worse in print form.

Union bug in place

In most cases, political printing for Democratic candidates should carry a union bug. And for some items, like the printer’s individual union bug, the printer will have to place these minor items into your final file for you. Thus, the other item you need to be on the lookout for is to make sure your union bug or anything that you have put in your final file FPO (for placement only) have been placed by the printer and that it looks exactly like it should when you have it physically in your hands.

Make sure there aren't unneeded lines or shapes

Every once in a while, the printer will add a stray line or shape when they are creating your printer proof. In most cases, these lines will only be a function of Adobe or whatever program you are using to view the PDF, but it's always worth flagging these items to make sure they won't show up on your final political printing piece.

Colors are how you expect them to be

This is an oversimplified view of how it works, but essentially when a printer gets the final file, they convert it into the colors that they have the ink for. In most cases, the colors on the political printing proof will be exactly how you intended for them to look, but in other cases (particularly if you use the color orange) these colors can turn out to be slightly different than what you had intended. Be sure you are taking a close look at all of the colors and that they are how you wanted them to look. If you need exact colors to meet branding standards, you should send the printer the color codes to make sure you get the exact colors you need.

Double check sizing

Be sure to check the size of your proof to make sure it will print in the size and format that you intended. Some printers will add crops to the proof that will increase the sizing of your piece slightly, but generally your printer proof should be pretty much the exact file size that you had send them originally.

The key to political printing is making sure you take the time to look at the proofs closely and that you are not afraid to flag any issues you see. Most printers will push you to get a proof approved quickly so they can get it on the press and out the door, but it's important that you take the appropriate time to review the proof and make sure it looks the way you want it to. At the end of the day, you spend a good amount of time and money on your direct mail so it should print exactly how you had intended.

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