A Day in the Life of a Print Job - Part 1
A few of you have expressed an interest in the "behind the scenes" action here at the studio. We're always buzz, buzz, buzzing around when it's print time for our patterns. I print locally at a commercial printing facility because I like to have the option to attend press checks and discuss pre-press edits directly with my rep.
The pre-press proofs for our 6 new patterns arrived yesterday. I immediately spread them out on the floor because I find that the best way to work. I thought I was the only one who did that (because I'm "vertically challenged") but come to find out a bunch of my creative tweeps work that way too. I'm guessing us "creative minds" don't like to be confined to the strict parameters of a table.
These are the "Sherpa Proofs". They are large digital outputs made on a high end AGFA machine. We use these to check for color variances, image resolution and registration issues.
This is about the closest you can get to what it'll look like on press, without actually creating the plates. The pages are impositioned in the same fashion they would on press, in our case we print our booklets as "work and turn". Here's a closer look:
After I look these proofs over with a fine-toothed comb (as if I hadn't already looked at these patterns a gazillion times!) I check the "OK TO PRINT" box and sign on the dotted line... then my heart beats a little faster.
Next, is the "folding dummy." As this title would indicate, these proofs are used to check for page positioning, binding and finishing. This proof is in no way to be used to check for color or print quality (that's what we have the Sherpas for!) As a matter of fact, the color is often way off and the image quality is poor. We look these over to make sure the pages are in the correct order and the booklets have the right amount of pages and are folded and saddle-stitched (stapled) as they should be.
There's that pesky "OK to Print" box again. I always hesitate a tad before checking it.
And finally we get to look at proofs of the actual pattern sheets. These are black & white and full size and usually come folded to the size the final printed ones will be folded to.
We check for all the usual stuff... placement, resolution, image quality, size, folds. I also give it a once-over to make sure the MODKID logo is sized consistently throughout and the fonts and type sizes are also consistent. I'm super OCD about those sorts of things.
And wouldn't you know it! No matter how many times we proofed, edited and re-proofed the files before sending them to print, it's not unusual to find something at this stage. That's why I'm so happy I get the chance to OK these before they go on press.
PHEW! So glad I caught that! ;) I make a little note on the sheet, mark my proof as "Need Corrections" and off they go to get plates made.
I hope you guys enjoyed seeing what goes on behind the scenes at the studio. My printing company has graciously agreed to let me bring my camera into the pressroom later this week so I can document what goes on "on press." It truly is a fascinating process... well, at least it is for me! I hope I'm not boring you guys to death!