Special Report The 3Ps: Printing, Production and Paper
Catalog Success: What do you think has been the most significant print-production innovation during the past three or so years?
Downey: Digital asset management, which came into its own about three years ago. Solutions came on the market because we were all trying to juggle a zillion files. We needed solutions that helped us manage content.
And if you look at the catalog companies that have successfully employed these solutions, they’ve proven to be more efficient and can calculate fewer errors in the workflow.
CS: What areas of print catalog production do you think require more attention and introspection?
Downey: This may surprise you, considering my previous answer, but I’d have to say digital asset management. Even though there are several really good solutions out there, and they’re mature, I believe they’re still not as robust as we need them to be. Most of them are far more complex than they need to be; and most of them provide a pretty good method of managing images and graphics. But we still need a total solution that takes text and other catalog data into consideration.
Most of the early solutions were created for service bureaus and prepress suppliers, so it made sense that they were graphic-oriented, rather than copy-oriented. Plus, many of the technologies out there are very difficult to justify. They’re expensive, both to license and implement.
What I’d like to see is someone from the catalog side of the business develop a tool that’s ideal for us.
CS: How profoundly has digital photography impacted the industry?
Downey: There are two parts to this issue: digital photography in the studio and for on-location shots. For studio photography, digital has become the norm, primarily because it’s a controlled environment and they’re shooting stills. But when it comes to outdoor or location shots requiring a lot of movement, shooting digitally is very, very difficult.