ZOONOOZ is Good News
It's one thing to keep up with the lions and tigers and bears housed at San Diego's famous zoo, but for the city's Zoological Society, ZOONOOZ magazine is similarly stretching its legs by converting to computer-to-plate (CTP) production. Thomas Scharf, editor of the 75-year-old membership-based magazine, says that while ZOONOOZ still works with film, the conversion to a complete digital workflow is on the horizon. Scharf estimates that if CTP continually maintains good color control, as it has during preliminary press tests, full digitization may come as early as summer.
"The future with [CTP] is going to be good," Scharf confidently quips. "When I came to ZOONOOZ back in 1990, they were still using typewriters and art boards!" He says traditionalism didn't suit the magazine's mission to compete with a broad spectrum of multimedia communications. In a swift step to take ZOONOOZ into the 21st century, Scharf invested in PC hardware on which the small in-house staff trained. He explains that the magazine once had a resident art director, but when the designing was computerized, Scharf decided to outsource layout to Warner Design, the San Diego-based creative agency. The difference, says Scharf, is having one individual's perspective rather than that of 10. "Now," he explains, "we have input coming from several directions." He confesses that while he sometimes receives criticism for overly lengthy articles written by the Zoo's well-versed keepers, rave reviews are common about the aesthetics and color reproductions, a selling point for animal enthusiasts.
The digital discussion began taking shape in January 2000, when printing pressures to convert from film to digital production got serious. Finally, after two four-hour focus groups targeting quality control, Scharf rallied CTP. "We're still having trouble with high-end color," says Scharf, adding that he's so concerned about reproduction, he once took a bird's feather to a press check to compare the match in print. In fact, to be sure of color consistency, at least one publication representative attends every press check, studying registration and fine color detail. As a result, the staff and printer report having the approval process down to a science. Scharf says they have each issue evaluated on press in about an hour.