Outsource Solutions: Catalog Production
3. Show up early. You want to show up early, says McIntyre, not just to review the prepress proofs, but to work with the press crew to determine when the first pages off the equipment are at commercial grade color—and ready to save for binding. The printing company would like to reach this standard as soon as possible, for economic reasons, which might be too early in the press run for your print-quality expectations.
To ensure you’re at the plant early enough, Frawley advises catalogers to have their account reps call them at the make-ready stage.
4. Scan for big problems first. Look for the glaring errors on an entire form proof before fine-tuning each page in the form. You don’t want the presses to continue churning out sheets with a huge mistake on one side of the form while you fuss with color adjustments on the flip side, says McIntyre. Today’s presses run quicker, making your delays in finding problems more costly.
5. Take your sample press proofs with you. Whatever proofs you signed off on should stay with you during the press check—and go home with you at the end of the press check. You want these proofs for two reasons:
• They help you conduct a thorough postmortem back at your company, McIntyre notes.
• You want the quality of the first form proof you signed off on to match the latter form proofs for a consistent presentation across page spreads, says Frawley. You also might use these proofs as the benchmark for extra print runs of the same catalog in the future, says McIntyre.
6. Send the most qualified person to conduct the press check. Regardless of whether the person representing your company’s interests at the press check is from your catalog agency, production department, creative staff or another company section, be sure this person understands both your production and marketing goals, says Frawley. The strong presentation of your top-selling products needs to take priority over any other production issues, which is not always understood by a production manager.