Imagine you need to design an advert for a printed newspaper. First, create a blank A4 document using Pages, Word or Illustrator. Now find a sheet of A4 copier paper; a typical stock used for proofing digital artwork.

Then get hold of a newspaper. Take a close look at the white of the blank on-screen document, compare it with the white of the copier paper and the colour of the newsprint. It’s very likely the three ‘whites’ won’t match. Their relative brightness will differ too. Lower your room’s lighting and your monitor will appear brighter and the copier paper darker.

Proofing on screen and hard copy requires balancing light sources using a process called soft proofing. It can work miracles and here’s how…

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