The press check has always been an important role for a graphic designer. It is one of the last checks before a job is completed. With the digital age and how advanced presses have gotten, press checks have become less frequent. Recently, I was disheartened to hear a printer say that most people only come to one or two checks and then hand it off to them. That was not how I was taught and not something I would pass along to another designer. I was taught to be at every press check and to know as much as possible about the job.
Those two fundamentals paid off on my recent press check. First, I got to take a new employee to a press check and show her the importance of comparing previously printed pages to the ones you are checking. You need to make sure the colors are consistent through the entire job, not just what you are looking at, using a loupe like pictured above and following a checklist like the one provided by Prepressure.com.
Then I got a call from the client, asking about colors and some other questions. I was able to answer all the questions and put the client at ease because I had been at all the press-checks for her job.
To hear that most designers do not go to every press check for a job was quite surprising. It is essential that a designer follow a project through to the end in order to ensure color and quality consistency, to be prepared to address client questions and to make sure their creative vision is fully realized.
I am happy to pass this awareness along to younger designers. It is a very gratifying experience to take full ownership of a project. Involvement in all phases provides opportunities for growth and learning and best prepares a designer to address client questions.