You know how before driving anywhere, you'll do a series of vehicle checks? These range from checking the gas level, making sure your emergency brake is off, and oftentimes (in good practice), waiting a couple of minutes for the engine to heat up before driving. Similarly, an essential step in the printing process is to make sure a print project doesn't contain any serious errors that will prevent it from printing successfully. In print production, this is done in the form of pre-flights. 

What is a Pre-flight?

A pre-flight is a standard print procedure. To get more specific, it's a prepress process. The point of completing pre-flights is to ensure the art files are print-ready. We pre-flight all new and rerun with change labels. This explains the little extra charge added to your order when you make a brand new order, or update an existing label we have on file. It takes our trusted team a little longer to get those files prepped and ready for print. So, this cost accounts for that extra time and work. 

Pre-flighting for print production focuses on examining the submitted art file and comparing all necessary elements against a checklist of required components, common errors, or potential known issues. This is done by our handy Prepress team, who are adept in proofing art files for print. If the art files meet all of our requirements and are error-free, the job can proceed to print (which is where the magic happens)! 



Benefits of Pre-flights: 

  • Efficiency: Ensuring the files are print-ready before printing eliminates errors that could occur further down the line, helping with the efficiency and the speed at which you will receive your labels.

  • Quality Control: Pre-flighting acts as quality control and ensures the files will print correctly, and serves as a second checkpoint before the label print. Often clients will submit artwork with spelling errors or forget to include items. So, this extra stage helps identify those things and gives you the additional opportunity to correct your materials and verify what you’ve provided us with is exactly what you would like printed.
  • Cost: Pre-flighting can save time, effort, and materials by catching errors before the print stage, saving hours of potential labor, and in turn, saving you money and time. 

What Is Checked During a Pre-flight?

Still curious as to what exactly pre-flighting entails? Below are some of the things we check for:

  • Checking the artwork size.
  • Adjusting and/or adding a die line.
  • Checking safety and bleed margins. 
  • Adding or updating a universal product code (UPC), also known as a barcode.
  • Adjusting colours to match the previous revision. 
  • Ensuring that we have all necessary file elements (images, fonts, etc.) in the file.
  • Checking the colour profile - making sure colours are set to CMYK, so that the print will remain consistent with the file that we’ve been sent. 
  • Verifying if indichrome inks are needed (or would be recommended).
  • Making sure that all elements are 300+ pixels per inch ( PPI), dots per linear inch (DPI) or Vector for resolution purposes. - "imagery has the resolution it needs (matches Summit standards)" --> link to artwork guidelines
  • Checking the viability of any requested embellishments.
  • Checking the viability of any stock-specific requirements (white plates, etc.)
  • Checking the viability of any process-specific requirements (shrink sleeve, Variable Data Print (VDP), specific sheeting styles, etc.)


As you can see, pre-flights are a crucial step in the label creation process. It helps ensure that the label is not only set up properly, but prints according to your order. You wouldn't want to drive without any confirmation that the car is in a drivable condition. So, why print a file that might not be print-ready? Pre-flighting is a key process that minimizes issues down the line, helping to ensure you get your labels correctly, efficiently, and at a reasonable cost. More questions? Talk to one of our label solutions specialists!