What to Check for in a Proof Document?

We get it. You’re in a rush, and you just want to get this thing printed, so you hastily approve the proof document. When you get your prints, it’s all wrong. Reprinting is a costly and time-consuming process that can be easily avoided.


Approving a proof is basically a contract. You should review it just like you would any other contract. Once a proof has been approved, the printer gets busy to start putting ink to paper.


This is why it’s important to thoroughly review your proof. But what exactly should you be looking for?


  1. Grammar and Spelling


You should always check for spelling and grammar mistakes. Ensure all names are correct and that all text is grammatically correct. We’d hate to have to reprint over something that could be caught by auto-correct.


  1. Missing Elements


Always check that there are no missing elements such as images or text boxes missing from your document. Especially if the file given to the printer was not a .pdf file, the possibility of images or text getting lost in the process is always there. As well, make sure no critical elements such as the logo or text gets cut off.

Beware of images with people on them as well, we’d hate to accidentally cut off someone’s face!


  1. Meets Brand Standards


Ensure you’re using the correct and most up-to-date logo and that the design meets the brand standards. Larger companies may have more strict brand standards, so make sure you adhere to them, else you have to reprint.


  1. Accuracy of Information


Make sure that everything on the banner is correct. If promoting an event, make sure details such as the time, date, and location are correct. Make sure you don’t miss out on opportunities by accidentally providing the wrong contact information.


If including a QR code or link, actually use it to make sure you land on the intended website page.


What Not to Check For


Don’t check for pixilation or colour accuracy. Most proofs are purposefully created to be a very small file, so if you zoom in too far, you will see pixilation. As long as your source document is high resolution, you should be good to go. If not, the printer should have caught that in the pre-flight process and let you know that changes need to be made to the file before print.


As for colour accuracy, colour reproduction is a beast, but essentially, that screen you’re using to review that proof is probably going to show inaccurate colours. Colour is influenced many variables like your ambient light, the colour profile of your computer and even the age of the monitor. Unless you colour-calibrate your monitor using a professional spectrophotometer on a regular basis and use monitors designed for colour accuracy, your colours are not going to be accurate enough to compare properly. As well, due to the differences in colour spaces between screens and print, some colour shifting is expected.



In conclusion, approving a proof document is a big deal. Try to get multiple eyes on it to make sure you haven’t missed anything. Mistakes happen, but you can minimize them by being thorough in your review of the proof.