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Before your job goes to press, the printer will usually give you something called a contract proof. And that contract proof is what's going to be used to guide the job on press. So you want to look at this really carefully and make sure that there aren't any changes you want to make, make sure that there aren't any problems that need to be fixed. So, for example, here the designer has looked at the first round of the contract proof and decided, well maybe they don't want hyphenation. And they have an alternate version of the image, so they want to replace the image of the guy with the red shirt with another version that shows him in a green shirt.
And they also want to spread some text out here on this panel. All of these things are chargeable, because the artist has made changes at this point, they're going to be charged for the alterations that the printer is going to have to make. But you also want to look for things that are common concerns when you're looking at a contract proof. You want to make sure that there's adequate bleed. You want to check for missing text and graphics, you want to make sure there are no typos or spelling errors, and check for font substitution. Make sure there's no text reflow and check for any incorrect graphics.
If there are any images that you think need color correction or retouching, this is the time to bring that up. The printer may also give you something called a folding dummy, and that shows all the pages of the job in their final position. So when you're looking at the folding dummy, make sure there's no content that's too close to a trim edge or a fold. If you have artwork that crosses over pages, make sure that it lines up from page to page, and of course you want to check your page numbers. If there are simple corrections or simple alterations that need to be made, it's probably all right to just mark that first contract proof okay with corrections.
But if there are complex changes, and I think this falls into that category, have the printer make the corrections and then make you a new contract proof. Keep in mind that the contract proof is a really important milestone in the life of your print job after all, the next step is the live press run.
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