Digital Barriers-Fact or Fiction?
A couple of years ago, the publication industry was totally immersed in computer-to-plate: the impact, the investment, the transition. Fast forward to today, and one would have expected the majority of publications to have completed the CTP conversion, with the exception of a few stragglers. Alas, this is not the case, and CTP has polarized the industry into those that can and those that cannot.
Separating the "cans" from the "cannots"
For those that "can," they've worked out how to go CTP without spending more on production or adding staff. For those who "cannot," sifting through the myths leads them on a challenging journey down a path paved with considerably higher manufacturing costs.
So why is it that some can and others can't? Peter Meirs, director of imaging and transmission systems, Time Inc., New York City, offers the following advice: "The benefit to Time Inc. is the process automation component of an all-digital workflow, which is something that we have leveraged extensively since moving to direct-to-plate."
Before going CTP, Time Inc. gave file formats a lot of thought. TIFF/IT-P1 and PostScript files were deemed the only acceptable formats for ad submission. Meirs and his colleagues also invested time in determining how these ads should best be prepared for Time Inc.'s workflow and for its print vendors' specifications.
Diane Romano, president, Applied Graphic Technologies (AGT), New York City, and her team assist publishers and ad agencies in CTP conversion. Romano knows first hand that a CTP win-win is possible. "We were pioneers with computer-to-plate, working with the weekly magazines such as Newsweek, Business Week and TIME, on both the editorial and advertising side. … When handled correctly, [CTP] will not add to production and manufacturing costs."
Janet Manhiemer, president, Publishing Experts, New York City, has helped many small- to mid-sized publications move to CTP: "You need to remember that the smaller publications don't have large teams and additional resources in house." Her advice: "Go outside your own company to find the help and assistance you need. Look to your vendors, prepress or printer, and see if they can help."