Analog Proofs – Hard proofs because they are printed on paper or other material.
Contact Proofs – A contact proof is a type of monochrome prepress proof. Bluelines and Velox are common types of inexpensive contact proofs. A contact proof is generally (though not always) meant primarily to show layout and copy.
Blueline – Usually inexpensive, photographic proof from negatives where all colors are shown in blue (or another color) is called a blueline.
Color Proofs – Also known as Colorkey or Laminate Proofs. These proofs are created from the film separations that places each ink color on a separate clear acetate sheet or film material then either stacked together in alignment (registered) over paper stock or laminated together.
Hard Proofs – A color prepress proofing method where a job is printed from the digital file using inkjet, color lasler, dye sublimation or thermal wax print technologies to give a good approximation of what the final printed piece will look like. The digital proof is generally less expensive than other prepress proofs. Digital proofs can often be produced on the actual paper stock of the job adding another element of accuracy. They aren’t as accurate for checking trapping and identifying moire problems as overlay and laminate proofs.
Soft Proofs – Also known as PDF or Monitor Proofs are image displayed on a video monitor to visually simulate the expected printing results. It can not be used for exact color matching since it employs the RGB color spectrum of your monitor. It is useful for reviewing content and color breaks.
Used on press checks, it is a proof from the printing press, plates, and actual inks specified for the job. A press proof is used to verify images, tone values, colors, and imposition. Because it involves setting up the job and running a proof on the actual paper to be used, it is normally done with the designer on-site (and sometimes your customer as well). It’s your last chance to get it right and can add additional cost to the job.