We recommend that you order a hard proof if color matching is essential. There are several ways that you can ensure the color is correct without using a hard proof. You can set your artwork to use the CMYK color scheme when you create the file. That will give you the closest match to what we’re using. Finally, you can calibrate your monitor, either using a hardware calibrator or you can use the built-in software calibration (which is good, but not as accurate) in Windows or Macintosh.
If all of those steps still aren’t enough, you can absolutely order a hard proof. We offer the electronic proof because it’s faster and less expensive (i.e. free). For example, you can get a same-day turnaround and next-day shipping with an electronic proof, but not with a hard proof.
Ask yourself how important the color matching is to you. If your print job is color critical, we recommend ordering a hard copy proof for the most accurate representation of your finished product. If, however, anything that’s close to the right color is good enough for you, an electronic proof will be adequate.
Figure how much a hard proof costs as compared to the entire order. For example, if you’re ordering 250 business cards at a starting price of just $15.50 (before shipping and tax) a next-day mail proof will add 400% to the total cost ($50). But if you’re ordering 100,000 business cards (starting at $827.50), the hard proof only adds about 6% to the final cost (the same $50). A $15 mistake, if you get the wrong color on your order or have a typo in the file, isn’t as big a deal as an $800 mistake. If you’re ordering large quantities, consider a hard proof.
If you have any questions or concerns, we’re happy to help. Just give us a call at 877-405.3949 or contact us online.