Go West, Young Standards Seekers
If you consider each of these items individually, you may not expect any one to cause to major problems during print production. But collectively, they're the cause to a makegood effect. Granted, they can all be controlled through Acrobat's job setups, but dealing with them individually requires meticulous operator attention.
PDF/X-1 is a graphics file's seatbelt. So why isn't everyone using it? Perhaps because we fear change. Just look at the amount of film our industry continues to consume! These are the days to pioneer new digital territory, and a few are doing that with PDF/X-1.
Western Laser Graphics' clientele is 70 percent publishers, 30 percent commercial print buyers. More than 50 percent of page files produced each month are transmitted in digital form. Similarly, Easyriders, Augora Hills, CA, a multi-title publisher, delivers 100 percent digital files since going CTP more than five years ago. We've taken the digital plunge. Now it's your turn, so we offer this advice: It is always better to work with accredited file formats. It limits vendor finger-pointing; it saves the publisher from makegoods; and it protects the advertiser. Next, try not to rely on native application files. There is too great a risk for "accidental editing," reflow and missing elements.
Finally, we recommend that you do more research on file formats before you decide on your specifications. Organizations like the DDAP, Digital Ad Lab and SWOP are excellent resources.
-Alan Darling and Michael Weinglass
Alan Darling is Western Laser Graphics' president and COO; he's also chairman of the DDAP. Michael Weinglass is vice president of production for Easyriders and a member of the DDAP's Executive Steering Committee.