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Print Proofs: Why You Need Them

At O’Neil, we believe there is no greater feeling than running your hand over newly printed materials and smelling that fresh ink aroma. That feeling quickly fades when we later notice a mistake or even worse, our client notices a mistake. In order to avoid mistakes in printing our large orders, we send our clients print proofs.

Print proofs are preliminary versions of the final printed piece. With print proofs, there are soft proofs and hard proofs.


Soft Proof

A ‘Soft Proof’ is an electronic file (typically a PDF) that shows the client what their project will look like. This proof can be emailed and is a quick way to approve the piece before it goes off to print. With this type of proof, the client must be aware the colors may not match exactly to the computer screen.

Soft Proof Advantages:
Quick generation and approval process
Easy to share with more than one person at the company
Perfect for documents or projects with limited imagery

Soft Proof Disadvantages:
Not always true to color
Can’t feel or see the size of the final product


Hard Proof

A ‘Hard Proof’ is a physical print that closely matches what the finished product will look like. This provides the most accurate representation of the print and allows the client to visually see and feel the print before it goes through to the production stage.

Hard Proof Advantages:
Closely matches the finished product
Ability to feel and touch the product
Approval of size and colors are more conveniently done

Hard Proof Disadvantages:
Not as quickly created as a soft proof
Not as easily shared with multiple people
Colors are not always identical to finished product, since the proof isn’t always printed on the same equipment that will be used to print out your final product.


If your printer does not offer you any sort of proof before they print your product, you can ask for one. Sometimes colors don’t turn out the way you imagined them on the screen, and this is your opportunity to make edits and changes to the project.


Next time you place an order with your printer, be sure to ask for a print proof. This is especially important for large batch orders that will be seen by hundreds or thousands of people. We are happy to provide our clients with proofs, because we believe their input and approval makes the process much smoother for everyone involved!

As a graphic designer, I have been using O’Neil’s print services for many years and keep coming back because of quality and consistency. Customer service is excellent and I always get quick responses to all my questions.

Becky Ankeny Design

Becky Ankeny Design

I’ve been dealing with printers for a long time. Very rarely do they come close to the consistent level of care that we encounter every time working with O’Neil.”

Mike Fretto, Tuft & Needle

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O’Neil is unmatched when it comes to customer service and quality.

Greg Forney, Langham Partnership

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We’ve been very pleased with all of our projects at O’Neil. The staff is always professional, extremely courteous and personable, and shows a true interest in providing high quality printing.

Carrisa Kienzle, Global Training Network

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From simple flyers to our flagship magazine, the work has always been accurate, timely and of top quality – but the real difference for me has been the service O’Neil provides.

Ryan Westerman, Westerman Consulting

I’ve always been impressed with O’Neil’s professionalism and communication. From high-end brochures to time-sensitive, variable direct mail, they’ve always come through for me.

Perry Wilson, Fabcom Integrated Strategic Marketing

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Everyone at O’Neil is invested in creating a final product we can all be proud of. We highly recommend them.

Don Newlen, Fervor Creative

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We don’t consider O’Neil just vendors. We view them as an extension of our shop.

Fred Cisneros, Owner/Creative Director, Cisneros Design, Inc.

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I couldn’t have been more thrilled with the service I got working with O’Neil. They were completely transparent and helpful throughout the entire printing process, and explained any nuances or questions that came up.

Adrian Mendez, Designer

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We needed a printer who could assure a high-quality product and provide solutions to our questions when we wanted to try new printing methods. O’Neil does just that and more. They have become a trusted partner in our business.

Brian MacDonald, Wonderkind Studios

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