Checks and Balances
In an attempt to familiarize publishers with the benefits and pitfalls of computer-to-plate (CTP) technology, printers commonly draft CTP constitutions for prospective clients. The following is a foundation on which digital clients and printers can build:
1. Content isn't always developed in-house, especially coming from advertising or freelance submissions. When a publisher accepts outside materials digitally, it's important to establish parameters for that material. Will publishers accept transfer media (i.e., Jaz disks, CD-ROM, etc.) or will publishers limit file formats to a few popular choices (i.e., Mac- or PC-based, TIFF-IT, Jpeg, etc.)? Copydot files created by vendors require similar considerations, according to Clarke Fine, executive vice president at American Web. He encourages copydot files to be saved as G4 Compression, Composite, CMYK, Tiled 2048 at 2400 dpi.
2. When accepting digital files, it's also important to request accompanying proofs 100 percent to size ensure that quality control measures are fulfilled. How will a publisher know the exact color within ads or graphics without a high-quality proof with which to compare? Linda Manes Goodwin, executive director of Manes Goodwin Associates, advocates SWOP-certified proofs. In her PrintMedia magazine column, "Digital Directions," Goodwin says SWOP certification is an assurance that proofs are accurate for both publisher and printer.
3. Content is as much graphical as textual. Even when a publisher has outlined preferred file formats, will the advertiser be able to support them? The best graphic output comes with harmony between programs, creators and printers. Publishers should be specific about specifications, making sure workflows are able to support desired formats. Goodwin says that PDF/X-1 and TIFF-IT-P1 are the most important file formats to consider from both the publication and advertising perspective. Not only are the formats designed for quality assurance, says Goodwin, but they're malleable when it comes to repurposing. Michael Weinglass, vice president of production at Easy Riders also favors the formats, explaining that embedded fonts and image conflicts have since been remedied.