Press Checks Guide

The printing press check is a step in the printing process. It takes place after a printing press is set up but before the print run is underway.

While errors should have been corrected during the Color Proofing and proofreading stages, the main purpose of a press check is to make sure that the color on press comes as close as possible to the color proofs or pms call outs. Color proofs are valuable guides, but due to the inherent differences between color proofing techniques and printing itself, proofs will match the printed sheet with varying degrees of exactness.

Areas that are commonly evaluated at a press check are:

  • Color Matching (checking that colors match proof or pms call outs)
  • Overall color balance/consistency/saturation.
  • Paper stock (checking for correct color, weight or texture).
  • Content (looking for missing elements and confirming copy changes).
  • Registration (checking sharpness, color overlapping, edges of images and screened type).
  • Physical defects (checking for broken type, odd scratches, hickeys, spots or ghosting).

WHO SHOULD ATTEND – Appoint a lead decision maker ahead of time.  The person(s) who is responsible for making the final color and quality decisions should attend the press check. Once the label is “approved” by the client or designer it will travel with the order and serve as the quality and color standard for future production runs.

COLOR MATCHING – In order to maximize efficiencies and keep costs down, all color match information (color targets/print outs and color proof guides) need to have been discussed and provided to CRUSH at the time artwork was supplied – not at the time of the press check.  Frequently a press operator has invested several hours of set-up time prior to your arrival…last minute changes or color updates could result in press down time and subject to additional charges (hourly rate of the specific press).


WHAT TO BRING  – Please bring several bottles (filled and with your specific capsule/screw cap) to the press check so that you can mock your bottle up with labels prior to approval.  It’s amazing how different a label can look when applied to the cylindrical surface of the bottle versus flat or on a roll. Label colors can take on an entirely different look/color depending on bottle color chosen.

TIIMING  – So, it’s GO TIME and your labels are finally printing…while this is is a very exciting time it sometimes requires a little bit of patience as the exact timing involved in the press set-up/approval process can be hard to predict.

Start Time – We will provide you with an estimated “press check start time” the day before the press check is scheduled to occur & then contact you with a same day “1 hour courtesy call” prior to “go time”.

How much time do I allot for the press check? This is a bit hard to gauge and all depends on the job specifics and how many copy/color changes you are wanting to see/approve.  You could be in/out in 15 minutes or you might be spending the day with us.  We will talk about your expectations and provide you with an estimated +/- time frame before hand so that you can budget your time accordingly.

Down Time – If the desired result is not being achieved at press and color/art adjustments need to be made on a pre-press level we could be looking at several hours of “down time” while new plates are being made and fitted to the press. Bring something (a book, laptop, a stack of work) to keep you occupied so that the time by goes faster.


TRIPLE CHECK COPY/TEXT/LAYOUT –  By the time you are press checking your labels all proofs will have been approved and double checked for copy and layout but it doesn’t hurt to check “one last time” prior to printing. Although changes made to files after plates have been made will result in additional charges (art prep/plates/press down time) it is far better to address any required changes now versus after the labels have been applied to the bottles.



Alcohol %







Label Size/Position