Go West, Young Standards Seekers
It's been nearly a year since PDF/X-1 became an accredited standard. So why aren't more agencies and publishers relying on it?
Maybe it's the history of its pioneer spirit, or maybe it's the predominance of maverick publishers on the West Coast, for it seems as though the use of the latest publishing standards—PDF/X-1, in particular—is far more prevalent on the "Left Coast" than anywhere else in the U.S., and we hope that will soon change.
From the start
Chaired by Harlequin's Martin Bailey, a PDF/X-1 task force assembled more than two years ago to address the would-be standard, and it was accredited in October 1999. Even so, many realized that some lag time would elapse while developers created their supporting tools. Fortunately, they were quick about it. In March 2000, several vendors touted tools at the DDAP (Digital Distribution of Advertising for Publications) conference. At the same conference, the DDAP announced its PDF/X-1 Verifier—a preflighting tool that tells users if the file is really PDF/X-1 compliant. And later came the announcement that Time Inc. had already printed the first ad delivered as a PDF/X-1 file. The Bayer ad ran in an earlier edition of TIME magazine as TIFF/IT-P1 file. Willing to try the PDF/X-1 new standard, the publisher asked the ad's creator, DDB Needham Worldwide, New York City, to send the ad file to Quality House of Graphics in Long Island City, NY, where it would be converted to a PDF/X-1 using CreoScitex's PDF2Go on a CreoScitex Brisque. The file was sent on to the printer, which converted it to a DCS 2.0 file for platesetting, and the ad ran beautifully. From accredited standard to implementation in less than six months!
Certainly, the speed at which PDF/X-1's adoption moved may be a result of the graphic arts community's cry for help: "We want PDF-based workflows!" But the shouting soon subsided, and activity seems to have quieted on the PDF/X-1 front.