Ad Transmission and Preflighting Made Faster and Error-Free
The PDF/X-1a specification promised to resolve the kinks in the advertising workflow for print publications. But how widespread has its adoption been, and how are agencies supplying the file format to their print partners?
Publishing Executive spoke with J.D. Michaels, vice president and director of print services for New York-based BBDO—the fourth largest global agency network, with 290 offices in 77 countries—about his thoughts on PDF/X-1a, the agency’s efforts to see the PDF prophecy fulfilled, and how the Web has changed the prepress model.
Publishing Executive: What are your general responsibilities in your role at BBDO?
J.D. Michaels: I am responsible for all production after an idea has been approved by the client—which at BBDO, includes art production, project management, the mechanical studio, proofreading, approval proofing, print production and the archiving departments, as well as our Xinet server administration.
PE: How prevalent is PDF/X-1a for print exchange these days? Do you find that most of the print work your agency is producing is required in this format?
Michaels: I used to say that PDF was the Esperanto for the industry, but that international language [Esperanto] never caught on. It was far too complicated and ignored most local nuances. PDF doesn’t make those same mistakes. It is a single-language solution, and even though it is an iron-clad format for digital material—where all the information is locked down tight—it remains amazingly versatile. I really don’t think anyone has explored all that PDF can do, but I remember the days of ‘collecting for output,’ and this is much better.
PE: Do you encounter situations where a print publication isn’t asking you to supply a standardized file? If so, what is it they’re asking for?
Michaels: Most publications ask for either TIFF/IT-P1 or PDF/X-1a files now. More and more are moving to PDFs. We do have some—a very few—tiny publications that ask for native application files collected for output and put on a disc. We consider this really retro, in a quaint, ’90s sort of way.