Workflow on Parade
R.R. Donnelley moved virtually all of its short-run magazines to the DSC technology last year. Next up: company officials plan to integrate their long-run customer projects into DSC offering.
Schneider believes digital standards, such as PDF/X-1a, are speeding acceptance and driving demand for all-digital workflows. "The delivery of an acceptable file format, PDF/X-1a, along with the implementation of that file format using automated workflows, has accelerated that move," she says.
Accredited by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) last year, and endorsed by the Digital Distribution of Advertisers for Publication (DDAP), PDF/X-1a offers a stable format that can be used for cross-media media publishing.
Criticized for not being as robust at TIFF/IT-PI, regarded as the digital equivalent of film, PDF/X-1a is, nevertheless, better suited for all-digital workflows. "The TIFF/IT-PI format is a large file, and that makes it difficult to use in a digital workflow environment," says Barbara Hanapole, executive director of the DDAP, Marblehead, Mass.
Those who adopted the standard quickly discover it's not trouble free, says Paul Scalenghe, vice president of production at Alcone Marketing Group, a sales promotion and marketing group in Darien, Conn.
"It's a great standard, but it's easy for some things to slip through," Scalenghe says. "It's important to check [the files], particularly if you have a lot of different files coming from different sources."
FIXING THE BUGS
Scalenghe uses Markzware Inc.'s Flight Check software to automatically scan and detect errors in PDF/X-1a files such as incorrect colors, fonts, and images. "We run Flight Check, and then pull our proofs from that, so we don't waste time proofing something that's obviously not going to be acceptable," he says. "The earlier PDF errors are found, the less costly they are to repair."
Problems aside, the PDF/X-1a standard got a big boost last year, when Time Inc. announced it would accept only PDF/X-1a files from advertisers. Industry observers expected PDF/X-1a use to skyrocket as a result.