Press Pass Top Tips: Print Buying Help and Advice

Press Pass Top Tips: Print Buying Help and Advice


If you’re printing a project with a new, untried, printer or printing an item for the first time, it’s likely that you’ll want to be there when it’s being printed, to make sure everything’s going to plan. It gives you piece of mind, tighter control of what’s going on and you’ll be on hand to resolve problems to your satisfaction if problems arise.

This is called a Press Pass or Press Passing in the printing trade.

At Webmart, we very often do this on behalf of our customer, or alongside them. When you’re print buying, signing off on your proofs can be a very daunting prospect, so you either want to be as close to the action as possible, or have a trusted expert do it for you and make sure everything goes to plan.

We’re very much into process mapping all we can so we continually improve and don’t leave anything to chance. So here’s one of the checklists used by our Print Consultants – including things to remember when visiting non-UK printers.

press passing to ensure quality print

Press Passing Webmart Business Stationery

Before you go:

  • Passport (if necessary) – we’ve all done it. Once!
  • Foreign currency (if necessary)
  • Proofs – if appropriate.  Previous printed copy (if possible)
  • Amendments
  • Copy of signed estimate/order
  • Additional paperwork (solicitor’s agreements, packing documents, mailsort manifest, etc)
  • European power adaptor (where applicable)
  • Comfortable clothing and additional clothes (if needed, in case of extra days, etc)
  • Something to pass the time!
  • Always set off in plenty of time to get to the airport/printers.

Things to check on press:

  • Content – is what is being printed the correct content, words, images, etc?
  • Layout – is everything where it should be on the page? Ask for a section to be trimmed so you can see the imposition.
  • Match to spec – are you getting exactly what has been signed and paid for? Perforations in the correct place, correct paperweight and finish, correct colours and varnishes, special requirements (e.g. spots, die cuts etc)?  Does the size match? If something isn’t correct at this stage, ask the overseer/press minder to stop press and correct.  If not sure, call Webmart Commercial department – our mobiles are on 24/7 for this type of eventuality.
  • Trim a section to size – does the trimmed section meet the finished size?  Does all the artwork fit on?  Check the bleeds (if applicable).
  • Check colours – do they match the signed proof, are they as bright/vibrant/warm/cold/bold as the client requests?
  • If the product is Linting (usually occurs on uncoated stock), request a blanket wash.

Some of the common problems apart from colour are:

Rotary trimming – edges rough and trimming out of square.  Ask them to change the cutters if it’s not right.

Spine-glued products – a method of putting a thin line of glue into the spine of a section, allowing it to be held together for finishing, usually then trimmed on press for a very cost-effective product.  

Stitched on line products – stitch not rounded and biting into the centre pages. The centre pages then become torn and the centre page falls out. Get them to adjust, there and then.

Stitched off line products – stitch too tight and again, like above, tearing the centre pages. (Can be difficult to pass, as it’s done late on in the process, but always worth a mention for things to watch out for before you leave).

There are plenty of other problems to look out for but this should give you enough to look out for!

Finally, a brief run through the checklist of what you want on press:

  • The sheet of paper chosen
  • The colour and the quality of the print on the paper
  • The fold or finish then made
  • The stitch or glue that holds it together
  • The trimming of the job
  • The packing as requested
  • The markings on the pallet cards and delivery notes

Good Luck!

Though if you’re print buying and don’t want luck to be involved – give Webmart a call and we’ll handle your print project from brief to delivery.