01 Nov 2021

How can I achieve color-accurate contract proofs?

Proofing has changed and evolved massively in recent years. Today, various approaches are available that can be used to perfectly address different requirements. In this article, we have summarized basic knowledge about proofing and briefly present the approaches – an exciting overview of the evolution of proofing.

Printed proofs are still an institution – even in today's digitalized world. They are the key to check designs, color, texts or to making a choice from different layouts of new products. They are an important part of global coordination and approval processes. For this purpose, of course, they need to be produced color-binding and in regard to particular standards. With professional proofing software, this is achieved fast and reliably. That is no secret and hasn´t changed for many years.

In contrast to that, other things have changed enormously: (1) Proofing does not “just” mean to produce “flat” proofs. Today, there are huge more options!

It includes (2) haptic proofing, which brings, for example, packaging proofs with varnish and embossing effects as well as mock-ups of new products to life. Haptic proofs can be experienced not just on a visual, also on a haptic level.

Besides that, a brand-new technology was introduced: (3) Direct-to-substrate proofing. An amazing approach and a huge step in the development of proofing for many, many companies of the printing and packaging industries as it allows proofing on the original production substrate of each customer.

And, there is much more to discover as we want to have high-quality proofs of all the things we are printing and on which we are printing today. As a result, (4) proofs of different kinds of surfaces and materials that are commonly used in the interior design sector can be produced without ease.

In this article, we are introducing the different proof approaches – an exciting overview and journey through the evolution of proofing.

evolution of proofung

(1) Classic proofing

“Traditional” proofs or “flat” proofs help in an easy and fast way to check printouts before the production starts – irrespective of the printing machine or the printing approach which is used in the real production.

Texts, graphics, and colors are checked the last time as well as the entire look and appearance. Is everything in line with the corporate design guidelines and easily legible?

Therefore, proofs are a key element for agencies, printing companies, and many other players in the printing industry as well as their customers. Exhibition banners, business equipment, advertising, flyer, bottle labels, and signage are just some examples that require contracts proofs for decision making and approval processes. They still offer the best basis to visualize the print production fast, reliable, and cost-efficient.

With a professional proof software, they can also be displayed virtually or are printed at different locations worldwide. This leads to great cost and time savings and allows common and binding decisions at the same time.

To work very efficiently, it is recommended to rely on professional proofing media which was specially produced for this purpose. Today, the variety of proof paper in different weight categories, sizes, with diverse surfaces and white points is really huge. You can choose from proofing substrates with or without optical brighteners or different price categories.

Anyway, it always makes sense to choose professional proofing papers with unique coating and optimized properties, which are certified and particular standards are achieved (additional information about CGS ORIS proofing media is available here).

proof buch

Proofing Paper overview
(2) Packaging proofs and mock-ups - haptic proofing 1.0

Based on the cooperation with global players in the packaging industry and intensive development, a new era of proofing started. From now on, it was finally possible to produce color-binding packaging proofs and prototypes that show all finishing effects of the final product. True mockups can be created, which are three-dimensional and allow a real check of the appearance and the “look and feel”.

All details and effects packaging designers created on a new product are shown. This makes it a lot easier for the people who are involved in decision-making processes to get a reliable impression of the new packaging before the production starts.

Glossy, matte, or metalized surfaces, partial embossing, varnish, or sealing effects – any finishings can be simulated easily. No extended explanations how which part of the product will look like are needed as everybody can just see and feel it.

Thanks to additional technics like heat sealing realistic welding lines are perfectly simulated as you can see in this gallery.

IMG 8037hell

Packaging substrate portfolio



PackPROOF Family
PackPROOF Glossy Paper - 45 24", 30'', 54"
PackPROOF Semi-matte Paper - 45 24", 30'', 54"
PackPROOF Clear Film 85 50 24" and 44"
PackPROOF Transfer Film 40 30 24" and 48"
PackPROOF Matte Embossing Foil - 30 24"
PackPROOF Semi-matte Embossing Foil - 30 24"
PackPROOF Glossy White Adhesive Vinyl 100 40 30"
PackPROOF Matte White Adhesive Vinyl 100 50 30" and 54"
PackPROOF Metallized Pouch Film 65 30 24" and 48''
PackPROOF Transparent Pouch Film 65 30 24" and 48''
PackPROOF White Pouch Film 75 30 24" and 48''
PackPROOF White Metallized Pouch Film 75 30 24" and 48''
PackPROOF Silver Film 120 30 3o"
PackPROOF Clear Adhesive Polyester 75 50 24"
PackPROOF Clear Shrink Classic Foil 70 30 24" and 40"
PackPROOF Clear Shrink Foil 80 30 24"
PackPROOF Semi-matte Cardboard  - 0,61 0,86 m

You can order samples of all media listed below, just send a message to Diese E-Mail-Adresse ist vor Spambots geschützt! Zur Anzeige muss JavaScript eingeschaltet sein!

To get more information about the substrates or prices, please Diese E-Mail-Adresse ist vor Spambots geschützt! Zur Anzeige muss JavaScript eingeschaltet sein!.

(3) Proofing on original substrate

Working with Transfer Film

So far, proofing on original substrate was conducted with a transfer film. A real breakthrough in the history of proofing! The transfer film can be applied to many different substrates. From steal to carton – a wide range of proofs and mockups is simulated color-accurately and shows how future products look like.

The advantages of this technic are obvious: Thanks to the Roland printers which are used and their extended gamut inks (XG INKS) a huge color space can be used – and all kinds of finishing effects are possible.

That means, no matter if you like to have matte, semi-matte, or glossy sections on your packaging proof – partial or all over – all effects can be covered easily. Also, varnish, embossing, or sealing effects can be displayed which allows showing all details a designer planned.

Working with Transfer Film: Advantages at a glance

  • Proofing on original substrate with Transfer Film
  • Huge color gamut
  • Integrated cutting function (label)
  • Multi-pass printing
  • Low-cost ownership
  • Compact printer (30'')

Working with Resin inks

For a short time, a new system is available which allows to proof directly on the individual production substrate. No transfer film is needed. This innovative approach the industry has waiting for a long time uses newly developed resin-based inks (“Multi-Purpose XG INKS”).

In this manner packaging proofs and mockups are produced which exactly look and feel like the final product.

This technology is especially interesting for very thin films or shrink foils as the distortion of an artwork can be exactly checked in advance with the original substrate. But it is also suitable for other materials like cartons or metal.

Users are speaking about great cost and time savings when they produce packaging proofs or prototypes with this system. And they even had a lot more competitive advantages, won new customers, and entered new markets.

More information about the exclusive “Direct-to-substrate proofing” system is available here.

Advantages at a glance

  • Direct-to-substrate proofing
  • Fine print
  • Highly stretchable inks, no cracking
  • Motorized take-on unit for unattended operation (depending on the flexibility of media)
  • No media cost
  • Alternative flatbed model available (hybrid roll-to-roll/flatbed), prints up to 16mm thickness (10µm)
(4) Interior design proofing - haptic proofing 2.0

Rachel USA

Nothing seems to be impossible: Today, many printing companies are printing on a very huge range of substrates and materials like textiles, wood, ceramics, etc. Even many components of the interior decoration sector like floor grounds, kitchen units, (garage) doors, or exterior wall panels.

To see the designs in advance of production, to touch and feel the structure of faux wood, even in this area proofs are popular. Flooring manufacturers are producing samples on demand which customers can take home to see if particular designs work in their home – without time pressure or the need to bring the samples back.

Haptic proofing has a new dimension here – this kind of proof really brings the structure of wood, stone, or other surfaces to live. They are achieved easily by proofing software that contains special features to cover the characteristics and requirements.

What exactly is proofing?

In this short video, Heiner Mueller, Sales Director Packaging at CGS ORIS, explains what proofing exactly means, how it has evolved and what color management does in that process.


What makes a proof a professional proof?

In our second short video, Heiner Mueller, Sales Director Packaging at CGS ORIS, sums up how a professional proof can be identified and how you can achieve it.


What is so special about proofing in packaging?

In the third part of our video series, Heiner Mueller (Sales Director Packaging at CGS ORIS) explains what makes proofing in packaging so special and what needs to be considered here.


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