Here are the answers to our most frequently asked questions and customer service related concerns.

If you do not see your question listed here, please email and someone will return your email ASAP or just call (+1) 917-9924-810 Monday - Friday 9AM-6PM EST. You can also send us a message through our contact form.

General Proofing Questions

  • Do you make a SWOP proof?

    Yes, SWOP Coated 3, and SWOP coated 5.

  • What is a SWOP proof?

    SWOP is a printing and proofing specification (standard) for web offset publication printing. A SWOP proof is one that meets the SWOP press sheet characterization LAB data, including paper white, CMYK process ink densities and dot gain characteristics. A SWOP proof is also required to have an IDEAlliance color bar on the proof so it can be measured with a device called a spectrophotometer to verify it meets SWOP specs. All of our proofs include a verified (read to meet specs) IDEAlliance color bar with a sticker on the back of the proof displaying the actual passing of specs for that individual proof. Essentially there is no arguing if the proof is accurate, the sticker proves the passing of the SWOP spec.

  • What are the different types of proofs you offer at

    GMG DotProof (simulated halftone proof) in the various proof standards:

    1- SWOP Coated 3 (US high end publication)

    2- SWOP Coated 5 (US ground wood publication)

    3- GRACoL Coated 1 (US "G7" Commercial)

    4- ISO_coatedv2 aka FOGRA39 (International Commercial)

    5- SNAP (US Newsprint, available in contone only)

    Kodak Approval (true halftone proof) in the following proof standards:

    1- SWOP Coated 3 (high end publication)

    2- GRACoL Coated 1 (commercial)

  • My document is set up for SWOPv2; do you make this kind of proof?

    Yes, proofing to either SWOPC3 or SWOPC5 will work fine. SWOPv2 is an Adobe profile and technically has a white point closer to SWOPC5, but which option you should select depends on the publication for which you are supplying a proof (e.g. Time Magazine will require a SWOPC5 proof, while Esquire will require a SWOP C3 proof). It is always recommended that you check with the magazine ad specs to determine which type of proof they require for each individual publication

  • I’m doing a custom commercial print job; which proof should I get?

    GRACoL is intended and recommended for commercial work, SWOP is best reserved for publication work. Many custom commercial printers will say that they accept a SWOP proof, but this is only because for a long time SWOP was the only standard anyone could agree on. That has since changed. SWOP has a narrow color space intended for publication stock. For general-purpose CMYK proofs we recommend GRACoL or if being printed in Europe, FORGA39.

  • Does your proof have a halftone dot?

    Yes, all of our proofs are made with a real halftone dot.

  • What are the advantages of having a halftone proof?

    There are many: to check for screen in type, image produced moiré, banding in gradients, etc.

  • What kind of Paper do you use for your GMG DotProof?

    We use a heavy weight semimatte. All proofs are made on this heavy high quality stock.

  • What kind of paper do you use for the Kodak Approval?

    We use 100lb coated Lustro Gloss for GRACoL C1, and 100lb Fortune Gloss for SWOP C3

Verified Proofing Questions

  • What is a verified proof?

    Simply put, this is a real contract CMYK proof with gravitas. Without verification, a printer might ignore your proof, because they have no way to gauge the accuracy of the proof. Verification both ensures the proof meets the color specification, and tells the printer to which specification the proof was made.

  • Why do I want a verified proof?

    If you are at this site, chances are you already know you need a SWOP, GRACoL, or FOGRA proof. And chances are the magazine or printer to which you are submitting a proof actually requires a verified proof.

  • What is involved in making a verified proof?

    After each proof is printed, it is dried for five minutes, and then read with a spectrometer to verify it meets proofing standards (e.g. SWOPC3). Each proof is then labeled as a “pass” or “fail”.

  • What happens if a proof fails verification?

    We throw it out, recalibrate our printer, and do it again. Believe it or not this does happen, despite our best efforts to maintain calibration. Changes in humidity, temperature, ink levels, etc, can all affect this process and printers often go out of calibration. This is another reason that having a verified proof is so important. We do not simply queue up a bunch of proofs and “let ‘em rip”; each proof job is proofed with care, and individually verified per job.

  • What are the differences between certified proofing systems and a verified proof?

    There are many ink jet rips that claim to be SWOP certified, however few have methods of verifying each proof to be SWOP standard in a production environment. In short it is relatively easy to get an inkjet to reproduce SWOP standards ONCE and get certified by SWOP, it is something else entirely to reproduce those results from proof to proof and verify the results. Without verification, you simply have an Epson that may or may not be accurate to SWOP, GRACoL, or FOGRA or whichever standard you are trying to proof. If your proof is off, chances are your print job will be, as more and more printers are strictly adhering to today’s printing standards.

  • Do most other SWOP proofing sites offer verified proofs?

    No. We think this is what sets us apart from other providers on the web. Please see the above question about the importance of a verified proof.

PDF/x Questions

  • What are the different PDF formats?

    There are many, but we prefer PDF/x1a, PDF/X-3, and PDF/X-4.

  • What are the differences in the formats?

    For a full explanation on the different PDF options please see here:

  • I’m a photographer; do I need to make a PDF?

    Yes, for now this is the only file format we accept. Making a PDF from an image is easy, just “save as” and select “Photoshop PDF”. We recommend using the PDF/x4 adobe PDF preset for image proofing.

  • Do I need crop marks, color bars, etc. in my PDF?

    We recommend checking with your magazine specs if you are submitting an ad based on their requirements. If you do turn crop marks on, it is important that you allow enough of an “offset” so the crop marks do not appear in your bleed. We recommend setting your offset at least as large as your bleed, in most cases .125”, but again please check with your magazine.

Color Questions

  • My files are all in RGB. What should I do?

    Please see the color settings tab; the answer to this depends on whether you are submitting a PDF/X1a, or PDF/x-4. If you need to create a PDF/X1a you will need to convert them to the proper standard (e.g. SWOP C3, GRACoL, etc.). This is easily done in Photoshop; however this is not necessarily the best option for converting from RGB to CMYK. We will be adding color conversion options on this site at a later date (from PDF/x-3/4). For now please see the color settings for converting files in Photoshop.

  • What intent do you recommend when converting from RGB to CMYK?

    Relative colorimetric is our preferred method of intent when converting in Photoshop. Perceptual also is good, and many prefer this to relative colorimetric. Both methods have their pros and cons. We now use GMG to convert our files from RGB to CMYK for best separation results, which we will offer as a service on this website soon.

  • I got my proof back, and the color is not what I expected; what do I do?

    Be glad you didn’t go to press with that artwork! There are many places in the color process where things can go wrong. We recommend reading the color settings and PDF tutorial tabs to make sure you are creating your artwork to the standard you are required to provide.

Turnaround Questions

  • What kind of turnaround can I expect after placing my order?

    We guarantee your proof will ship within 24 hours, but usually most orders are complete within a few hours. However, if you are ordering a large number of proofs it may take longer than for us to produce them. The proof verification process slows down our production capacity significantly.
    We currently are offering 2-4 hour RUSH service without an additional fee.

  • I need my proof ASAP. What should I do?

    Order the proof on RUSH and we will place your proof to the top of the queue for proofing.

  • I placed my order and it shipped the same day; is this normal?

    We will always try to proof and ship your order as soon as possible, often within hours from when the order was placed, however because we cannot control our order volume, we cannot guarantee this speedy service all the time. As a rule we try to fill orders as fast as possible.

Shipping/Deliver Questions

  • I'm in New York City; can you messenger the proof to my client or to me?

    Yes, just select this option in the checkout; you can specify a shipping address separate from the billing address, and we will messenger the proof to this address.

  • I need one proof to go to me, and another to go to my client/magazine. Can you do this?

    Yes, just place the order for the proof twice, changing the shipping options accordingly for each proof.

Location Questions

  • Where are you located?

    We operate locally in New York but due to the pandemic we are unable to accept walkins and visits.

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