PDF for Print, Proofing and More
Financial stressors are compelling many catalogers to take a minutely detailed look at production workflow and the technologies that will best support their print- and electronic-media efforts. At the same time, standards-based Portable Document File (PDF) exchange is largely leading the way in digital production and prepress.
When many catalogers first made the leap to digital print production — migrating from the initial native application exchange scenario to more sophisticated (and reliable) standards-based PDF/X-1a exchange, for example — it seemed they had reached the pinnacle of their print efforts. Certainly, with film-based processes gone and a seamless digital workflow in place with prepress and print suppliers, it didn’t seem as if there were any other places in the workflow to shave off time or cost.
And yet many catalogers spent the past two years seeing budgets shrink and turnaround windows collapse — leaving the daunting question: “What can I do now to save production time and money?”
As it turns out, there are a few areas in the workflow that have proven ripe for emerging solutions that address these issues.
PDF and the Proofing Workflow
The growing popularity of standardized PDF exchange for catalog production has enhanced other facets of the printer/cataloger relationship, most notably in the realm of proofing, note Greg Meersman and Julie Loggins, sales representatives at catalog printer Banta.
Meersman says a growing number of Banta’s catalog customers are turning to remote proofing to help meet time-sensitive deadlines and cut costs from their proofing tasks. What Meersman means by remote proofing is the installation of a digital-proofing device at the cataloger’s site so that contract proofs can be sent electronically from the printer’s prepress facility to the customer. The proof, which is then printed on-site, is ready for the cataloger’s approval. Once approved, the printer uses the same digital file for imposition and platesetting.