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Our Proofs and Other Preview Options

Proof Options

Nobody wants to order a large quantity of folders only to discover an error after they've already been printed. But don't worry, we've got you covered. Company Folders provides several different proof options to help you inspect your project's quality and ensure that it will print correctly.

Whether you just want to see how all of your printed elements are going to look or you want to touch and feel the final product in your hands before finalizing your design, we've got plenty of options to choose from.

Free PDF proof

free-pdf-proofOur free PDF proof is a digital file that provides your first look at the flat, printed layout of your folder design. The PDF proof comes free with every order you place with Company Folders and gives you an impression of how your final product will look, allowing you to make layout corrections if necessary.

Pros

  • Gives you a feel for the placement and sizing of your design elements.
  • Provides a basic impression of how the final product will look.
  • Completely free of cost.
  • Your fastest option for seeing a proof of your final product.

Cons

  • Digital formats are not ideal for color matching, as the colors may look different from the final printed project, due to possible discrepancies in your monitor settings.
  • The PDF is incapable of showing the effect that coating might have on the color of the ink or the texture of the folder.
  • You can't touch or interact with the PDF the way you can with a real folder.

Timeframe and cost

  • The PDF proof is a complimentary service that is free of charge.
  •  You can expect your proof within one business day of the order being placed. Please note that this may take longer if your design is not print-ready or is particularly complex.

Getting the most from your PDF proof

  •  We suggest that you print your PDF proof on your home printer so you can get a better idea of what the finished product will look like. The PDF itself shows a flattened version of the design, so all of the elements are on a flat 2-dimensional plane, but you can fold it into shape yourself. For more information, check out the section below on printing your PDF proof.

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Laser Proof

A laser proof is a hard copy of your design printed out on a laser printer. It is mailed to you and must be signed and returned before work can be done on your project.

Laser Proof

We recommend using laser proofs only for designs that use 4-color process, since they do not provide a good representation of final PMS colors. If your design contains foil stamping or embossing/debossing, these elements will be printed in one solid color (which is used to indicate to the printer where these elements should go). Laser proofs can only show size and positioning of foil stamped or embossed/debossed elements.

Pros

  • Can help you confirm your colors on your 4-color process design.
  • Allows you to see the size and positioning of your design elements.
  • Your first laser proof is free for every 4-color process project.

Cons

  • Cannot accurately display PMS colors, embossing/debossing or foil stamp effects.
  • Will not be printed on the same stock as your final project.
  • Laser proofs are created without coating, and while they can simulate the look of some coatings, it won't look exactly the same.
  • Adds to your production time, since the printer cannot print your project without the laser proof.
  • Whenever changes are made to a laser proof, a new laser proof must be created. Creating a new laser proof will cost extra and the step is necessary even if you do not need to have the second laser proof shipped to you for approval. However, in the case where an additional laser proof has to be created due to an error on our behalf, we will waive the cost.

Timeframe and cost

  • After you approve your PDF proof, a laser proof can be created and shipped within 3 business days.
  • The laser proof will be shipped via UPS ground delivery at no charge to you. You will have to pay shipping costs to return the laser proof to the printer.
  • There is no cost for your first laser proof. Should you require any additional laser proofs, you may incur additional fees. Please contact customer service for more details.
  • Please be aware that the free laser proof offer is not compliant with our 4-Color Process Letter Size Two Pocket Folder.  Should you require a laser proof of this product, there is a $55 fee.

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Product proof

folder product proof A product proof is an actual physical sample of your final, printed design. You will receive up to ten units from the first batch of printing, which you can then use to inspect your final product including stocks, special effects and coatings. Consider it the dress rehearsal before your design's big performance-it might be too late in the process to make big sweeping changes to your design, but it's not too late to correct colors, fix embossing/debossing errors or change coatings.  

Product proofs are recommended for very large orders and custom die cut products, since these types of orders require a fair amount of investment on your behalf and you'll want to ensure that everything is exactly right.

Pros

  • Enables you to see exactly how your finished product will look.
  • Product proofs allow you to check every aspect of your product, including both CMYK and PMS coloring, the size and positioning of your design elements and even the functionality of your product.
  • This is the only type of proof that gives you an accurate sample of your foil stamped and embossed/debossed elements.
  • Allows you to experience the way your product will feel on the actual, printed stock.  

Cons

  • Product proofs represent the final stage of production, so if changes have to be made after receiving your product proof, you will incur additional costs. You will be charged for the creation of a new laser proof and if necessary, a new custom die.

Timeframe and cost

  • The time it takes to produce a product proof is roughly equivalent to the amount of time it will take to produce your final product, so using a product proof will double your production time.
  • Due to the nature of folder printing, your product proof will cost close to the same amount of money as printing off 250 copies of your final product. The exact cost of your physical proof will depend on the specs of your project.

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Hand-cut mockup

free-pdf-proof We can provide you with a hand-cut mockup of the custom die cut of your choice. This lets you see and feel the custom cut for yourself without paying the full price involved in creating a new die. The mockup is made using a blank white sheet of paper (not the same stock your finished folder will be on) and folded into the proper shape (but not glued).

A hand-cut mockup costs $80 (with free UPS ground shipping within the continental U.S.) and takes approximately 2-3 business days to create.

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Money-saving alternatives

If your budget doesn't allow for you to use a laser proof or a product proof, there are still plenty of ways you can get an idea of what your final design will look like (instead of just hoping everything looks okay when you receive your order).

Free samples

If you just want to inspect the quality of the production and you don't necessarily need to see how your own design will look when printed, you can always request a free sample.

Folder Sample Packet Product Samples

If you want to see what a certain product type, stock, ink color, foil stamp or coating will look like, we will do our best to send you a sample of a product that matches these requirements. Note that this sample will not feature your own design.

Foil Samples Foil Samples

If you want to see what a specific foil color will look like on a requested stock, we can supply you with a standard sample of both. The sample will not feature your artwork or design, and is intended only to give you an idea of what the foil and stock colors will look like.

Ink Draws Ink Draw

If you want to see how a particular PMS color will look on your stock, we can provide you with an ink draw. An ink draw is a small square of a specific PMS color applied to the stock. The intended use of an ink draw is to see how the colors will match; it will not show you how your entire design will look.

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Die strike

Die Strike A die strike allows you to obtain a sample of any foil stamped or embossed/debossed design elements before they are applied to your final product. It's applied to an 8 ½ x 11" sheet of paper, so any design elements must fit into that space.

For example, if you have an embossed logo, you can obtain a die strike of your exact logo on an 8 ½ x 11" sheet of your preferred stock. This allows you to judge whether the logo elements look correct and the embossed textures are to your liking. A die strike will not show you positioning or size in relation to your other design elements.

The cost of a die strike will depend on which type of die is necessary to create your design.

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Creating your own printed copy

handmade mockup Although it won't look much like the finished product, we recommend that customers print out their design at home to save time and money while getting their final product print-ready. Simply print the design using your home or office printer. You can use a pair of scissors to cut along the dieline and then fold the elements so that your sample takes on the shape of the folder.

Pros

  • A homemade proof allows you to see the positioning of your elements and get a basic sense of how your final product will look.
  • Having a hard copy of your design makes it easier for you to show others and get feedback-you can even write or draw on it directly.
  • Creating your own printed copy is faster than waiting for one, and you can do it at any point in the design process-even if you're not ready to submit your final artwork. This allows you to create several different designs and see which one you like best before placing an order.
  • Best of all, it's completely free and won't slow down the production process.

Cons

  • Homemade proofs will not show you accurate sizing or coloring for your final design, nor will they be able to show you some of the finer functionality features, like expansion pockets.
  • It's not possible to replicate embossing, foil stamping or coating with a homemade proof.

Keep in mind that a proof may not always be necessary. If you are confident with your final design or if you're simply re-ordering the same design with no additional changes, you may not need to see a proof. For more information on proofs or to order a proof for your design, please contact our customer service team.