Proofing in the Digital World
Proofing is a critical part of any production workflow, whether it is an agency representing a concept to a client, or a publisher handing off final materials to a printer. You can't live without proofs.
So what happened? Like parents bemoaning the wayward behavior of errant children, where did we go wrong? Where did content creators get the idea that it's okay to send their file without a proof? After countless hours spent
massaging color until the image emanating from the screen breathes all the subtle nuances so carefully rendered, you relinquish control? After a lifetime of cultivating a font collection that perfectly reflects the messages you're trying to convey, poof, you let it all go, sending the file off into the big bad world without a guide or chaperone to protect it from the harsh realities of print production?
There's device-dependent Post-Script out there, just waiting to put its own spin on your line wraps and photo placement. And lurking in the dark, there are preflighting programs ready to convert your RGB and spot colors to CMYK without so much as a wink or nod to warn you of impending calamity.
Good influences: Don't take them for granted
Some recipients of your precious file may be charitable and give you a second chance. Perhaps they'll pull a proof at their own expense. Perhaps they'll warn you that there's a big fat blank spot where a photo should be. They may think to call you to ask if you meant the headline to be set in Courier. But they don't have to. You forfeit accountability when you don't submit a proof to match.
It is the content creator's responsibility to ensure materials are correctly prepared, or, at the very least, to give the recipient a proof for comparison if problems arise. That's the way it was done when the world was analog. Why should it be any different now that we are digital?