Streamlining the graphic design approval process


We have all been there, you are ready to hand over the final design to your client (after way too many edits) and the client rejects it. They say the color isn’t what they approved or the spacing is not what they wanted.


Unhappy, irrational clients are just part of business, but there is something you can do to prevent these last minute snafus – use proofing checklists.

What is a proofing checklist?

Imagine printing 500 flyers and then having the client say that is not what they ordered and they will not pay. That is a big financial hit for the printer, which is why in the printing business we rely very heavily on proofing checklists.

Proofing checklists are legal documents that your client signs after viewing each test print. They sign off on the fonts, spacing, colors, etc. and agree (legally) that we are printing exactly what they want. If we then do the print job and the client changes their mind, they still need to cover the cost because they approved and signed off on the print job.

This system works well for graphic designers for similar reasons. As a design goes through several rounds of edits, clients often contradict their own edits. A proofing checklist will not only hold a client accountable for accepting and paying for a design, but when each round of edits has its own checklist, you can show your client that you have been doing exactly what they asked.

What to include on a proofing checklist

Have your client inspect and approve the following on every round of edits:


  • There are no spelling or punctuation errors
  • Addresses, phone numbers, emails, web addresses, social media addresses, names and titles are all correct
  • All wording and phrasing is correct


  • Correct fonts were used
  • Fonts are consistent where need be
  • Font sizing is correct
  • All text is formatted/aligned/spaced correctly


  • Color of visuals and type are correct
  • Verify that you understand different printers (especially personal printers) may cause a shift in how the colors look

Print elements

  • All the pages are in the correct order
  • Page numbers are correct
  • The dimensions are correct
  • (If needed) the fold marks are correct
  • (If needed) the bleed dimensions are correct
  • (If needed) the bleed marks are included

This is a living document. We want all you designers to hit us up on Facebook or Twitter to help us add to this checklist. You share with us why it should be on the list and we will edit the blog post.

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