How Did Proofing/Review Process Evolve?

How Did Proofing/Review Process Evolve?

Today we talk extensively about design review, architecture review, audio/visual review etc however the underlying concept of document proofing began as a prepress activity. In earlier days, before final distributable documents are ready for printing, customer would be given hard-copy of the proofing document. Press-time is the costliest element of the whole document printing process. Getting customer’s approval used to be (and it still is) a crucial milestone. Once printer (vendor) has agreement from customer that everything is okay, printer can go ahead and print the whole lot. Customers would have reviewed the hard-copy and s/he would have approve after suggesting certain changes. This saved printers as well as customers from avoiding costly errors, cost of reprinting, etc.

Emergence of Soft-Proofing

Last decade marked arrival of desktop publishing and newer print technologies were introduced. These provided cost effective and quicker alternative to reviewing of hard-copy. This is what is termed as soft copy review or soft-proofing. Soft-proofing has its own advantages as well as disadvantages. What did not work greatly for soft-proofing is investment required for exact or similar types of hardware-software system installed for all, designer, customer and reviewing stakeholder : in order to replicate exactly same colour combination on-screen like it would be on-paper. As one can guess, it eventually turned out to be an expensive affair; and hence did not get wide acceptance.

Online Review/ Online Proofing Has Arrived

The proofing landscape changed from reviewing hardcopy of a document to soft-proofing. Today online proof review or online proofing is becoming a common practice. Variety of online proofing tools have been able to leverage fast speed internet and newer technology to offer cost effective, quicker and more productive alternative for customers. You no longer need to print and send hard-copy of the document for review/proofing. In this document review and approval process relevant stakeholders can be involved right from the beginning.

What Else Has Changed with Online Proofing?

  • It is not only document or pdf files we are talking about. The proof to be reviewed can be audio, video, website and other media formats
  • The proofs are available for online review almost 24 x 7, so it has removed the necessity of sending proof as attachment
  • Since reviewers and approvers are identified online, it is easy to track who has reviewed &/approved or who has not reviewed or has not approved yet
  • Versions of the proof are managed online, so no separate need to maintain versions or revisions
  • All comments, review feedback can be notified via email or web-application, the process can move forward nearly real-time basis
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