Printer Proof Approval Process


  • The Printer Proof Approval Process is a vital step in the packaging production phase, primarily aimed at ensuring that the final printed packaging accurately reflects the approved artwork. This process involves the critical examination of printer proofs - preliminary versions of the finished product - provided by the printing vendors. It's a final check to catch any potential errors or discrepancies before mass production begins.


  • Key challenges in this process include ensuring color accuracy, alignment, and overall print quality. Companies often struggle with efficiently coordinating feedback between internal teams and external printing vendors, managing multiple iterations, and maintaining tight production schedules. Ensuring that the printed packaging adheres to the approved digital artwork is essential to avoid costly reprints and delays.

How ManageArtworks Addresses These Challenges?

  • Collaborative review platform: ManageArtworks offers a collaborative platform for teams and print vendors to review and provide feedback on proofs, streamlining communication and expediting the approval process.
  • Version control and audit trails: ManageArtworks maintains version control and provides a comprehensive audit trail for each proof iteration, ensuring transparency and accountability throughout the process.
  • Digital proof comparison: ManageArtworks enables digital comparison of the printer proofs against the approved artwork, allowing for precise detection of any deviations in color, text, or design elements.

The below image shows a typical print proof approval process

  • Print proof request: The print proof request typically consists of product attributes which include for which product, brand and variant, the vendor proof is being requested.
  • Artwork source files and specifications: Its essential that comprehensive inputs are provided to the print vendor for creating the print proof. Here is a list of inputs that might be required:
  • Approved artwork – The approved artwork in both Adobe Illustrator and PDF format will be required. All associated files for the artwork like the embedded images and their corresponding PSD files and font files if any for special fonts used in the artwork.
  • Dieline - The exact dieline file for the packaging, which includes the cut lines, folds, perforations, and glue areas.
  • Print specification - Detailed print specifications including the type of printing process (e.g., offset, digital, flexography), information on ink colors (Pantone or CMYK values), varnishes, or special coatings and requirements for print finishing techniques like embossing, foil stamping, or UV coating.
  • Packaging specification - Detailed information on the type and grade of material to be used (e.g., paperboard, plastic, foil) including specifications for material thickness, texture, and any special treatments (like waterproofing or grease resistance).
  • Prepress Activities: With the inputs provided, the printer will use pre-press related software to do the following tasks
  • Preflight checks: Ensure all files are correctly formatted and ready for printing. Check for correct file types, resolution, dimensions, and inclusion of necessary fonts and graphics.
  • Bleeds and Trapping: Verify that the artwork includes proper bleed, which is extra space around the design to account for movement of the paper during printing. Check trapping, which is the technique used to adjust the printing of two adjacent colors to prevent gaps or overlaps.
  • Color separation: Separate the artwork into individual color components, typically CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key/Black) for printing. Ensure each color plate is correctly aligned and set up for the printing process.
  • Creating drawdowns:  Produce color swatches or drawdowns on the actual material to be used for printing. Verify that the colors match the Pantone or specified color standards.

Once the pre-press activities are complete, the printer uploads the Digital Print Proof for approval.

  • Print proof approval: The uploaded print proof file is routed within ManageArtworks to multiple stakeholders for approval. Users can use the proof comparison tool which compares the approved artwork with the printer’s digital proof file to show any deviations in text, layout and color. The Proof Approval process is a collaborative process within ManageArtworks and users can annotate on the artwork and use a checklist to check the different aspects of the proof.
  • Press check: Typically done for new product packaging or packaging redesigns, an optional press check at the printing facility is done for a final review of the printed proof. A physical print proof, which is an actual sample of the printed material is taken and checked for color accuracy, clarity of images, and text readability. Real-time adjustments to ink levels, colors, registration, and other print quality aspects are done before a final ‘go’ decision is made for mass production.

Benefits of using ManageArtworks for Printer Proof Approval Process:

  • Accuracy and quality assurance: ManageArtworks enhances the accuracy of the final print, ensuring that it matches the approved artwork and meets quality standards.
  • Streamlined communication: ManageArtworks facilitates efficient communication between internal teams and printing vendors, reducing the likelihood of misunderstandings and errors.
  • Faster time to market: ManageArtworks accelerates the proof approval process, enabling quicker turnaround times and faster market entry for new products.

Packaging Concepts – real world examples:

  • This example of a Trident Xtra Care packet was first place winner in the Student category of the 2015 Dieline awards and garnered some very positive attention for designer Hani Douaji.  It takes a familiar product and reimagines it in a fun way that is sure to win a second glance from consumers as they browse the shelves in the checkout lane.
  • This design concept is minimalistic, fun and, most importantly, does a good job of housing the product. It highlights the product - it’s often easy to forget that what makes packaging great is that it makes the product its centerpiece.
  • With a redesign that resulted in a sales increase of 1000% , Nathan Frank, Founder of Help Remedies, had this to say about the work, “Pearlfisher has done a great job in enhancing our identity so that it communicates everything we have to say without spelling it out, literally.”
    The colourful packs feature a simple concept that revolves around a specific problem. Taking care of your health can feel stressful and scary. Help Remedies wanted to eliminate that feeling and empower you to make your own health decisions through simpler language and simpler medicine. Besides having a simple and clean design, the packaging itself was done with sustainability in mind.

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