Proofs are a critical step in the book production process for many publishers. Not only do proofs provide you the opportunity to review your project one last time before printing, selecting the correct proof type can also help ensure your printer meets or exceeds your quality expectations.
There are several types of proofs that you can choose from based on your needs, budget, and schedule. At Sheridan, softproofs are the most requested prepress proof type. However, when layout, image quality, or color is critical, publishers turn to hard prepress proofs and, occasionally, printed proofs.
Let’s take a look at the various types of prepress proofs that Sheridan offers for your book projects.
- Digital Text Proofs (DTP) – Printed 600 dpi lasers, DTPs are hard copy b/w proofs that show halftones in low resolution. DTPs are helpful for verifying page order, page breaks, and image placement. Recommended for: Projects where you don’t need to review color or halftone quality.
- Digital Halftone Proofs (DHP) – Produced on wide format Epson printers, DHPs are hard copy proofs that have a simulated offset halftone dot pattern. DHPs are the best option for proofing the tonal quality of grayscale halftones. Recommended for: Projects where you need an accurate image of how the tonal quality of halftones will look when printed.
- Digital Color Proofs (DCP) – Produced on wide format Epson printers calibrated to our color presses, DCPs are hard copy continuous tone proofs, meaning they have no dots. DCPs are helpful for viewing color breaks and tonal qualities of CMYK color. PMS colors will not be accurate on DCPs as they print CMYK. Recommended for: Projects with critical four-color process work.
- Softproofs – Softproofs are PDF proofs of the text or component file that you can download to your computer. Since computer monitors project color in RGB, and presses print in CMYK, softproofs are not an accurate representation of how color will appear when printed. When color and halftone quality are not a concern, softproofs offer an economical and timely option as they remove the cost of creating a paper proof and shipping it back and forth. Recommended for: Projects where you don’t need to review color or halftone quality.
Note: DTPs, DHPs, and DCPs are printed on proof paper, which is different from the paper that your job will be produced with. If it is important to see a proof of your job on the actual stock it will be produced on, you will want to see a printed press proof.
Consider turnaround time
DTPs, DHPs, and DCPs are hardproofs that will be mailed to you. Sheridan sends all proofs via FedEx Next Day Air unless you specify another method. Typically, you will have 48 hours to review hard proofs and send us your approval. Softproofs typically have a shorter review period of 24 hours.
If you want, or need, to make any revisions after reviewing your proofs, you’ll need to budget for extra time and costs from your original printing and production estimates. Changes at the proof stage can also result in changes to the production schedule and your book’s shipping dates. Once any required revisions are made, it is a good idea to review another round of proofs before giving your final approval to go to press.
Printed press proofs
For extremely critical jobs, printed proofs are available for covers, dust jackets, sample cases, and check copies (printed text prior to binding). Printed press proofs allow you to see exactly what the final product will look as it is produced on press with the same material that will be used in the final run of your books. Printed press proofs are not common, as they are costly and add additional time to the schedule for them to be produced, mailed, and reviewed.
Unsure which proof type is right for you? Your Sheridan Sales or Customer Service Representative can help you determine if you should see proofs for your job and what kind would best suit your needs.