Color is an essential part of how we experience the world. It plays an important role in printed communication but it is also a challenge for printing companies and suppliers like ECO3.
To better understand today’s needs for proofing, we ran an online survey during the summer of 2022. Printing professionals from 19 countries shared how they handle proofing in their companies, what those proofs are used for and what their future proofing-related plans are. Most respondents were European (37%), but North American and LATAM companies each also accounted for a quarter of the feedback. Half of the participants identified themselves as prepress managers.
It may come as no surprise that 89% of the respondents use hardcopy proofing. On average, they have 1.3 printers in use. These are mainly Epson devices. Roughly half of the printers are 44” or larger, and given the fact that we also invited existing customers to participate in the poll, it is only logical that 43% of them use an Apogee workflow to drive those printers.
Virtually all companies using hardcopy proofs generate color-accurate proofs for internal and customer use. Nearly one-third of them make internal color proofs for all of their jobs while only 7% make color proofs of all jobs for their customers.
Imposition proofing is important, a third of the respondents create them for all jobs, and only a quarter of them don’t make any imposition proofs at all.
Almost everyone generates proofs in-house. This process is not outsourced. That is also true for calibrating the proofers: only 12% of the participants outsource calibration. Half of them update their printer profiles monthly. 7% do that weekly and 43% don’t update the profiles at all. Fogra51 and Fogra52 are European participants' most frequently mentioned industry standards, with US printers mainly mentioning GRACoL or G7. No surprises there!
Next to hardcopy proofing there is softproofing, which 80% of the respondents also use. 60% of those exclusively do this using PDF files while everyone else also uses an online solution such as Apogee WebApproval. As a side note: we noticed a significant increase in the adoption and use of WebApproval during the COVID-19 pandemic. Online tools proved their worth when customer service representatives as well as their customers mostly worked from home.
Even with online solutions on the rise, 52% of the respondents still indicated that they intend to invest in hardcopy proofing solutions in the next two years.
The overall conclusion of the survey is that hardcopy proofing is alive and kicking. It will remain a stable market in the upcoming years, and we will ensure our customers can rely on us to meet their proofing needs – both on paper and online.