Proofing in Digital Printing

Proofing is an integral part of digital printing. It is the only way to reliably avoid printing errors. But what exactly is proofing and what benefits does it offer? You will find out in this blog article. 

What is Proofing in Digital Printing? 

Proofing is the color-accurate reproduction or the pre-simulation of color-accurate print results from other printing systems (offset printing machine). A medium or printer is only suitable if its color space can fully contain the color space of the printer to be simulated. 

Why is Proofing necessary? 

A proof is necessary to inspect and improve a prototype before it is printed. A proof allows errors to be detected and corrected early on, which in turn helps to minimize waste. Additionally, a proof allows for the examination of colors that may not be accurately reproduced on screen. Because a proof provides a more accurate representation of colors, it helps to ensure that the final product accurately reflects the desired colors and visual elements. Overall, a proof is an important step in the printing process to ensure the quality and accuracy of the final product.  

Benefits of Proofing 

  • Seamless Coordination: Proofing allows a smooth collaboration between designers, creative clients, and production. All parties can review the current status of the project and provide feedback, which improves the efficiency and quality of the work. 
  • Time and Cost Savings: Time and costs can be saved by identifying and correcting errors in a timely manner. By identifying errors early in the process, before production begins, expensive rework or reprints can be avoided. This results in a more efficient workflow and reduces overall production costs. 
  • Quality Assurance: Proofing allows a thorough inspection of the print files for errors or inconsistencies. This ensures that the final product meets the required quality standards and meets customer expectations. 
  • Improved Communication: The proofing process improves communication between the various parties involved. Feedback and changes can be communicated clearly and precisely, minimizing misunderstandings and miscommunications. 
  • Customer Satisfaction: By providing customers with the opportunity to review and make changes to the final product before printing, satisfaction and confidence in the company's services increase. This contributes to long-term customer loyalty and a positive company reputation. 

Proofing methods - Analog vs. Digital 

The choice between analog and digital proofing methods depends on various factors, including the project requirements, the available technology, and the desired proof quality. 

Analog (or "conventional") proofing methods involve creating the proof through an intermediate stage of a printing form. Analog proofing methods require printing films and working with photographic means. The production of analog proofs often requires manual work steps, which leads to a longer and more costly process and does not allow for proofs for special printing processes (such as screen or textile printing).  

Digital proofing methods enable the direct output of the proof from digital data without the need for an intermediate stage like a printing form. Digital proofing methods require hardware, such as an inkjet printer and the corresponding software that processes the incoming data and converts it into the printer-specific format. Since no manual steps are required, digital proofing methods are often faster and more cost-efficient than analog methods. Digital proofing methods offer greater flexibility in adjusting colors and other parameters, allowing for more precise reproduction of the final product. Digital proofs are usually suitable for a variety of printing processes and can also be customized for specific processes.  

What types of proof are there? 

There are several types of proofs that are used depending on the type of print job and the customer's requirements: 

  • Layout proof: Layout proofs are used to check the placement of content and elements. They are not color binding and do not provide any information about the realistic impression of the subsequent print product. 
  • Soft proof: A soft proof is a digital simulation of the print result viewed on a screen. It provides a color-accurate and content-correct representation of the print data but is not physically printed. Soft proofs allow for a quick and cost-effective check to ensure that layout and colors meet expectations. 
  • Hard proof: In contrast to the soft proof, the hard proof is a physical printout of the print data on paper. Hard proof provides a more realistic representation of the final product and allows for an accurate check of colors, sharpness, and other details. 
  • Contract proof: A contract proof is a color-binding and legally valid proof according to ISO 12647-7. The Contract proof is currently the highest proof standard with the tightest tolerances and is therefore considered a "contract" between the proof provider and the print company. Contract proofs ensure precise color reproduction and are often used for high-quality print projects. 
  • Validation print: A validation print is a color-binding proof according to ISO 12647-8. Compared to the contract proof, the validation print has slightly higher color tolerances and is not legally binding. Validation prints are often used for projects where slightly larger color variations are acceptable but high quality is still required. 

Proofing with ColorGATE 

We offer you the following software solutions for proofing your results: the Proof Standard Digital Module and Proofgate.  

Proof Standard Digital Module  

The Proof Standard Digital Module is an additional module for Productionserver. In the proof workflow, you simulate the print output, for example, of an offset printing machine on the supported inkjet printer. By using control wedge evaluations, you can verify the simulation print for compliance with FOGRA tolerances. The proof workflow uses simulation profiles of the printing system being simulated. After screening, the CMYK data of the simulation profile is converted into the output color space via a DeviceLink profile. The module is necessary for using DeviceLinks. Further information on the Proof Standard Digital Module can be found here. 


Proofgate from ColorGATE offers first-class color management and print quality and simplifies the process with integrated profiles and MIM sets for common proofing standards and printers. It takes color deviations into account and ensures that your proofs maintain impeccable quality even without expert knowledge. You can find further information about Proofgate here. 


We are happy to support you in selecting the right software for your optimal proofing. You can find further information at 

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at