What is a printer’s proof (PP)?

A Printer’s Proof (PP) is similar to an artist’s proof. They were originally designed to monitor the progress of printing. They are a print or object that the manufacturer or printer receives as proof of their work. These copies are made in addition to the actual edition and are not intended for sale or included in the count of the edition. They remain in the archive of the printing house and can be submitted to other potential clients and artists as a work sample. However, it is customary for the manufacturer to release their PPs for sale in the event of a complete sale of the print run or on special request.

Instead of stating the number of the sheet within the edition, the printer’s proofs contain the note PP and possibly a numbering with Roman or Arabic numerals. The number of PPs in addition to the regular edition is up to the artist. Usually there are one or two PPs. In any case, the number is determined from the outset and cannot be supplemented afterwards.

Print graphics also include the designation AP or HC. The abbreviation AP stands for Artist’s Proof (see What is an Artist’s Proof?). HC means “hors de commerce” (“outside the trade”) and these were printed on sheets which were not to be sold, but were instead intended as gifts for institutions or museums.


Glossary of prints and editions