Some leading publishers agree. Last year, Time Inc., in New York, and Wizards of the Coast, Renton, Wash., announced they were establishing digital ad workflows based on PDF/X-1a. But since those high-profile announcements, there has been little movement among other publishers to follow suit.
The vast majority of periodical publishers are still requiring native application files, and accepting the increased cycle times and other risks associated with doing so. The proof is in B&W: Read the media kits of most business-to-business publications.
Each of the DDAP's recommended accredited formats has advantages over native and proprietary file formats. TIFF/IT-P1 is the digital equivalent of film. It's a locked-down file that can't be altered. But TIFF/IT-P1's principal advantage is also it's principal liability in the cross-media age.
The preferred cross-media standard: PDF/X-1a, created in response to TIFF/IT-P1 drawbacks. It gives publishers and advertisers a print-stable file that can also be revised to serve other, non-print, electronic output.
"PDF/X-1a is a one-size-fits-many file," says Greg Captain, manager of The New Yorker Imaging Center at Condé Nast Publications, in New York "It can be easily repurposed. With TIFF/IT-P1, you're jammed. It's digital film, and we can't reuse it easily if it's going to be published in more than one title. We [can] do that with PDF/X-1a."
In addition to flexibility, PDF/X-1a is more workflow friendly. That's because it's supported by most popular manufacturing solutions, such as digital proofers, imposition applications and platesetters.
When CTP burst onto the print ad world in the early '90s, publishers were concerned they would have trouble convincing advertisers to submit materials digitally. Those fears were misplaced. Advertising agencies of all sizes jumped on digital submissions for CTP faster than most publishers expected.
Large advertising agencies such as McCann-Erickson Worldwide Inc., in New York, are now well-equipped to provide digital ad files and proofs for publishers to process. McCann-Erickson supplies several formats of digital ad files to publications, including native Quark files, Adobe's PDF, and DDAP's accredited PDF/X-1a and TIFF/IT-P1.