Quality No Longer King?
Quality. It's ironic that while a digital production process offers the opportunity for cleaner, more precise, better controlled print reproduction than ever before, quality seems to be losing ground as quickly as dot-coms are closing their doors. Apathy toward quality manifests in a number of ways. The two most obvious? Too many publishers are hasty to accept native application files for final content delivery from advertising agencies, and too many agencies are taking big risks by sending files without a proof or with a substandard proof.
Is it because many graphic arts professionals are embracing the technology with as much forethought and preparation as many Internet enterprises invested in their business plans? Are they assuming bits and bytes are viable substitutes for expertise and experience, and that technology alone will carry them through? Or, are they knowingly taking shortcuts?
As one publisher used to tell me, "We're on Internet time now!" In the rush for print to compete with the pace of the Web, are we sacrificing exactly what separates us from the new medium, quality?
Building the brand
Roy Zucca, principal of AskRoy .com, cautions, "Quality is our franchise!" Zucca adds, "In our niche market of magazine publishing and advertising, where daily we produce thousands of high-quality color pages, we have built a remarkable unique franchise. Unfortunately, when time and money are tight, there always seems to be some individual or group that comes out of the woodwork that wants to move our industry to the 'it's good enough' philosophy for producing edit and ad pages. But I contend that this approach puts all of us on a very slippery slope and is a certain recipe for disaster.
"I have seen first hand the enormous problems and chaos this type of approach creates," Zucca continues. "Quite simply, the way to combat this is to keep focused on our franchise and never lose sight of it. Otherwise, 'good enough' will be the order of the day, and that is not good for our industry."