Getting Creative About the PDF
One of the most significant developments of 2003 was a major update to what has become a world standard in communications: Adobe Acrobat. Today, for the first time, Adobe has brought forth an Acrobat version, 6.0, targeted specifically to the publishing and graphic arts markets. To that end, it includes, notably, an elementary built-in preflight capability.
Although independent preflighting technology that is superior and more extensive exists, inclusion of this feature in Adobe Acrobat Professional 6 fits a larger shift in the graphic arts industry: growing awareness of the need to address quality issues in workflows.
The consensus that Acrobat's PDF format is required for a reliable workflow reached mass market proportions in 2003. At the same time, people are realizing that the PDF in and of itself is not the solution; that the critical component to making PDF workflows function is quality control.
The fact that Adobe offers preflight in Adobe Acrobat Professional—as well as support for PDF/X in Acrobat 6 and its InDesign CS product—is a response to this growing market understanding of how to make PDF workflows work.
The activities of the Ghent PDF Workgroup, an organization of graphic arts industry associations from around the globe, is a visible example of the trend. In 2003, the Ghent PDF Workgroup released nine quality specifications, based on the PDF/X specification, then fine-tuned then to specific market segments.
This is not the action of a standard-setting consortium that will take five years to bear fruit. The Ghent PDF Workgroup is a cross-section of industry people seeking real world, immediately applicable solutions. Their quality specifications are built around technology that exists today.
The success of the Ghent PDF Workgroup is evidence that industry associations and their members—printers and publishers—feel the need to drive efforts such as these. It is so important for them to have reliable workflows—both from an economical and a liability point of view—that they are willing to invest a lot of time in the process.