Proof of Concept
Nowhere is the adage "time is money" more appropriate than when applied to the business of publishing. Publishers and printers are always on the lookout for faster, better, cheaper ways to speed the production workflow.
Widely adopted technologies such as word processing, desktop publishing, digital photography and editing, accredited file formats, electronic file transfer, content management, and zero-make-ready presses all exist for one fundamental reason: to speed publishing production.
Of all the points along the publishing workflow, one area remains doggedly resistant to time optimization: proofing. Publishing costs creep upward with every tick of the second hand as pages are being trafficked and proofed.
Even with the wide availability and acceptance of digital files for soft proofing, artists, writers, editors, and printers continue to mark-up and traffic hard copies, including final contract proofs.
This not only stretches the proofing phase by days or weeks. It also increases publishing costs for paper, ink, electrical, telephone, shipping, and prepress.
Unfortunately, serious inadequacies of soft proofing solutions cause publishers and printers alike to continue their reliance on old fashioned hard copies.
But now a new generation of digital proofing technologies, dubbed virtual proofing systems, promise to overcome the problems vexing soft proofing solutions.
A collaborative, Web-based technology, virtual proofing lets editors, artists, publishers, printers, and advertisers review content in purely electronic format, while maintaining absolute color accuracy.
Soft proofing has been around in one form or another since the mid-1980s. That's when desktop publishing became available to any publisher with an Apple Macintosh. Acceptance of soft proofing grew throughout the '90s, after Adobe Systems Inc. introduced its Portable Document Format (PDF).
PDF files allowed publishers, advertisers, and printers to review final layouts on any PC, Mac, or Unix computer screen. This was a giant step forward for editors and artists accustomed to trafficking and squinting over hard copies.