Digital Proofing--Proof Positive
"Where are my dots? Why did my proof fade? Where's the PMS color? What is an ICC profile? Can you match my proof on-press?" Bassett echoes the voice (and concerns!) of the print buyer.
"Ah, the life of the print buyer," he sympathizes. "Just when they thought they had us figured out, we throw more curves at them. We introduced a myriad of new variables with new terms and new standards, but the same old objective: Just match my proof!
"The digital proof—and the dozens of brands and recipes that are served up as a smorgasbord for the print buyer—have left many of them still hungry . . . hungry for information," Bassett contends.
"They believe our value proposition of speed and quality, and they've seen the benefits. Yet, many are in a quandary as to what their role is in the digital world regarding proofing: Are there standards? What do I specify? Is remote proofing the right choice for all jobs? Is my monitor a source for color interpretation? Who do I trust?"
If a commercial printing operation offers the technology, Bassett says, it must also know how to answer these types of questions and concerns. He emphasizes that Scholin Brothers (which uses an IRIS 4-Print calibrated to its Imation Matchprint analog proofer, as well as an IRIS 43-Wide system for imposition proofing) takes every opportunity to assist its customers in clarifying this often-confusing process.
"The benefits of a digital workflow for printers may be irrelevant to the buyer," Bassett says. "Their concerns about speed, quality and cost are only unfulfilled promises from the printer, until it is proven to the buyer."
All About Trust
How, then, can digital proofs be sold to the wary buyer and, more importantly, how can the digital proof become a stronger communication tool and build trust between customer and printer? While customers may be vastly different, Bassett says, the answer is the same: clear expectations.