Digital Proofing--Proof Positive
Saul warns that using these desktop proofs for final customer approval becomes an expensive and time-consuming struggle for a printer trying to match color while the press is running.
Rather, she advises, the way to accurately match color on-press is with a high-end, contract proofer, such as the Kodak Approval or Creo Spectrum—which are the systems Tukaiz currently uses. "Investing in this type of equipment," says Saul, "will result in a realistic color expectation for the customer."
Realistic color expectations "that the proof will mimic what comes off press" is particularly (and critically!) important to some of the Fortune 500 clients of Chicago-based R&B Group, a color separator and high-end commercial printer.
Having used both dye sub and ink-jet proofing systems for the past five years, Dan Tesch, director of technology, says they do not give a consistent enough match to press for his firm's high-end purposes.
Accurate Color Is Critical
"We produce work for national advertisers that can be printed all over the country," he reports. "And, in that case, we would ship digital files and never produce film. So having a digital proofer that can accurately reproduce the colors in the file is critical."
To "accurately mimic" these colors, the R&B Group invested in a new Fuji Final Proof—Fuji's latest generation, contract proofing system. Installed late last year, Tesch says his Final Proof system was Fuji's first U.S. installation.
"We produce very tight-turnaround work, such as catalogs, where clients have strict deadlines and high quality standards," he explains. "Having a digital proofer that we can rely upon to closely match our final output is invaluable." And, since digital proofing eliminates the output of film, R&B can produce work faster.
"Customers are getting pretty savvy about digital proofs," Tesch contends. "They've driven the need for the technology because of their high-end work, tight turnaround and budget requirements. The market has evolved to where customers demand a digital proof. It's not a luxury any more."