Building Digital Bridges
Fingerhut’s catalog production burdens are eased by developing mutually beneficial partnerships
With print runs between 10,000 and 5 million—and product images that number in the hundreds of thousands—it is no surprise that Fingerhut, a Minnetonka, MN-based general-merchandising cataloger, required additional production support.
Two years ago, while analyzing its prepress needs, Fingerhut looked to Quad/Graphics’ Digital Imaging Division, Minneapolis, to support Fingerhut’s own prepress division and digital photography studio, both housed in nearby Minnesota locales. Initially, what made Quad’s digital division appealing was Fingerhut’s long-established relationship with Quad/Graphics, one of the cataloger’s print partners.
Fingerhut’s prepress volume caused the catalog publisher to analyze how integral its prepress partner would become to its production process. As Michael Hasselstrom, Fingerhut’s manager of creative technical support, recalls, “Fingerhut consciously made a decision that we didn’t want to build a [prepress] Taj Mahal. … For us, there was a benefit to working with Quad/Graphics.” Fingerhut viewed its potential relationship with Quad as one that would ease some of the in-house prepress burdens. At the same time, Fingerhut analyzed Quad’s stature in the industry and was quite pleased by the printer/prepress vendor’s reputation. A partnership with the highly regarded vendor gave Fingerhut the added assurance that prepress would be in good hands with Quad.
Acting as a full-service prepress provider, Quad’s digital imaging facility backs up Fingerhut’s corporately owned prepress shop by scanning and converting transparencies to digital form and reformatting digital images for print and Web output, as well as page creation.
With several print production partners all interacting to create Fingerhut’s catalogs, communication between publisher, prepress firms, photography studio and printer became vital. To help facilitate communication, T1 lines were installed to allow for electronic data exchange between the key players.
A Creative repository
In a thriving digital industry, asset management has moved to the forefront of catalog production as a key business and workflow concern; Fingerhut experienced its own asset-management growing pains and began looking for more sophisticated method to care for its plethora of images and corresponding metadata.