How does everyone proof?

FlexoGrunt

Well-known member
Good morning,
I've read a few threads here and I've been reviewing various proofing sites only get somewhat frustrated at the lack of a simplistic (inexpensive) online proofing alternative to email. Either you have to give up many shiny doubloons for an internal solution or you have to pay fairly high fees for external managed solutions (as many in the flexible packaging industry prep is a cost of doing business and not a revenue center so it's always penny pinching).

Our situation: We are a flexible packaging company so we deal with boxes, bags, pouches, labels, tickets, ribbon, film, etc.. 80% of the time art has to be manipulated and we always proof to the customer (as we show PMS colors, size, shape, material, etc. for them to sign off on). Most of our customers are end users who just need very basic "approved" and "reproof with changes" selections. The fancy markup systems would be intimidating to them.

Our current procedure was to create a PDF that is proofed to the customer and CC'd to the salesperson. Prep then follows up every 24-48 hours to see if they got the proof and whether or not it's approved. We have been asked to shift the burden off our email servers.



So I'm curious what everyone else is doing?
 

bdenitto

Active member
What about using FTP to transfer the files to the customer? Also - are these customers using calibrated monitors, etc?
We use Kodak Virtual Matchprint through Prinergy, so everyone has qualified monitors and is calibrated.
 
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FlexoGrunt

Well-known member
We thought about FTP but many of the customers are not the most skilled at operating a computer (for example I have to walk them through installing Acrobat and turning on overprints) so I need to keep it as simple as possible.

If it's 4cp then we create a color proof and send it to the customer for approval.
 

Greg_Firestone

Well-known member
Hi FlexoGrunt,

Is the main concern the file sizes passing through the mail server? If so, you might be able to host the files on a web server and email a direct link to the file. It'd cut down on file sizes. However, this is not the most secure solution unless you integrated some level of authentication.

Regards,
Greg
 

bobbyc

Well-known member
I looked into this same problem a few years ago. We wanted a portion of our work (the "simplier" stuff) to go out for online approval (non-email), for a simple YES or REVISE. Most solutions out there were far too cumbersome and expensive. We wanted to send a link, click link, see image, click Yes or Click No and explain changes. That's it. The second problem came with the number of users. We had probably 1 or 2 dozen new, unique users each day. Managing the typical username/password model would have negated any time savings from using the system. Plus, there's the matter of training customers to use the system, especially if they are like you say, "not the most skilled at operating a computer".

Anyway, in the end we wrote our own software (we had an excellent programmer on staff). He finished it in about a week, worked like a charm. Used a hash key in the URL to encode the items to be approved and the user email. Didn't have to mess with passwords. Then corporate IT squashed the project because it was written in Python instead of .NET. So... long story short, project died.

Anyway, we looked at several other softwares out there. I can't recall any specific names, but for this sort of thing, the online approval tools for photographers looked more appealing than things like Webcenter. Wouldn't be as steep of a learning curve for your customers.

Hope my rambling helps in some manner!
 

rich apollo

Well-known member
FlexoGrunt,
Take a look at Remote Director. The new version is all browser based and they've revised their pricing structure so that it's now very affordable.
 
We proof via email and cc the CSRs. However, I have my email set up to only send attachments to the main recipients. All the CSRs and salespeople have read-only access to my art folders and can view the pdfs there. It saves on email storage.
 
So after reading this thread I did some thinking and brainstorming with my IT guy. We decided to skip the software and dedicate a partition on our ftp site. Our new procedure will be to include a direct link to a proof placed on our ftp site so it will show up in a customer's browser when clicked. I would cc a few other people on these emails. My thought is that this saves space/speed on attachments sent which is part of the original question. My IT guy is definitely excited about it and I can't think of any downside to this plan. Has anyone run into any valid objections from customers, sales, or csrs?
 

akalaray

Well-known member
If your pdf opens in a browser it may not display correctly (overprints,etc.) Disclaimer needed stating such, and advise client to download and open in Acrobat. In general what you suggest is how we do it.
 

bobbyc

Well-known member
If your pdf opens in a browser it may not display correctly (overprints,etc.) Disclaimer needed stating such, and advise client to download and open in Acrobat. In general what you suggest is how we do it.
Could use proofing software to output rasterized PDF. We did that with soft proofing -- also minimizes chance of client taking production PDF to another supplier.
 

mglouis

Well-known member
Flexogrunt,

Each of our clients has their one account page where they order,submit files and download pdf/x1-a files. We accept approvals on pre-ripped data and problems are extremely rare.

What works for us isn't necessarily what works for a packaging printer since our average order size is under $1000. If our order sizes were larger then we would require some sort of pixels on demand solution from RIPped pages or in the case of a NORM workflow the renderers would have to match for all output devices.

Luciddream has a a relatively affordable host-your-own solution and, as usual, Rich Apollo's suggestion is spot on.

Matt Louis
printplace.com
 
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Color Optimized?

Ink
by Noel Ward, Editor@Large
Color is in demand in all types of documents, making color management a critical part of Digital Printing 5.0. Managing color on one device/press can be an easy task with the correct tools and processes. But managing color to ensure printed pages are consistent and repeatable across the different substrates and color gamuts of toner and inkjet can be a much bigger challenge. Properly implemented color management workflows can help achieve consistent color results across multiple devices. Although many end-customers are claiming satisfaction with “pleasing color,” two challenges are still in play. Link to Article

 
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