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Panpa Bulletin : June 2006
June 2006 PANPA BULLETIN | 31 Online reporting What sales manager or rep would not love to be able to gen- erate a report immediately with regard to any information that will assist sales and production? With a single internet-based solution any data is available at any time subject to system ac- cess procedures governed by the newspapers security scenario. If the booking and ad deliv- ery system is internet-based the customer's expenditure for com- munications programs is nil, as they will use a simple browser for all access and communica- tions, supplied with their com- puter terminal free from the manufacturer. This augers well for any customers bottom line. It is vital that confirmation of the booking, placement and pricing is given upon submis- sion, much the same as the elec- tronic booking of airline tickets and auto confirmation. Artwork submitted electroni- cally must be internally checked as print ready, prior to accept- ance. A larger number of newspa- pers are employing checking systems utilising such programs as Twist, an Acrobat .pdf check- ing system that allows all parts of the digital advertisement to be individually checked for in- tegrity and its press ready status, with automatic advice sent to the customer of any errors. This has eliminated many problems and allowed a stand- ard to be employed for the re- production of colour advertising material. What is better than a happy cli- ent who knows his expenditure immediately, one who probably pays for the account electroni- cally or if not will receive billing immediately, as a well designed web system interacts with the ac- counts department on demand. Indesign v Quark This argument is finally being put to rest. I make no opinion of both programs, But the steady replacement of Quark in many newspapers' operations has been driven by cost and excep- tional marketing by suppliers. The bottom line is that both programs make up display ad- vertising and have changed from being merely page layout programs to now hosting a large amount of drawing and graphics capabilities. They both run exceedingly well on Macintosh or PC work- stations and at the end of the day both preform well. The one to succeed is the pro- gram that allows many parts of the production cycle to work on one single program, for example Indesign is used for the con- struction of advertising mate- rial and is also used for complex page makeup by editorial and can be viewed as a simple solu- tion for many tasks. Which do I choose? Well either really, they are both usable by any operator and I regard a long term user of, say, Quark who changes to Indesign as being a chef in a new kitchen looking in different cupboards. Is pdf the standard? Eons ago the world had pro- prietary systems that generated information that very few peo- ple could share. The advent of the Desktop world changed all that, but we still had the prob- lem of being forced to utilise a multitude of programs to con- struct advertising material. Adobe in its infinite wisdom saw an opportunity to standard- ise the way in which we convert- ed the files, and initiated a now industry standard called Acro- bat or .pdf files. This meant that any file from any program could be convert- ed to Acrobat .pdf prior to being sent to the customer or produc- tion, and read by all with a sim- ple free program called Acrobat Reader that works on all compu- ter platforms. Acrobat also allowed for the compression of these files mak- ing their storage and transmis- sion faster and the inclusion of fonts, images, colour informa- tion and text without compro- mising quality. It is vital that fonts and im- ages are protected once released to the newspapers production department. We all know the problems associated with miss- ing fonts, missing graphics, bad file formats and the many hours spent retrieving these elements prior to a deadline that looms overhead. We have too many standards for software, file elements and communications protocols be- cause every man and his dog wishes to create standards for royalty purposes. Every year goes by and an- other standard hits the mar- ketplace that causes confusion and presents an opportunity for manufacturers to upgrade sys- tems without firstly fully provid- ing quantifiable cost savings as reasons for change. We cannot escape the constant change in standards but we must be able to see what standards in- cluded in our system will enable transparent growth, without ef- fecting profitability. Press confgurations This is critical information for customers with regard to page lay downs to maximise colour requirements and advertis- ing opportunities and must be made available to all new cus- tomers on line. How many people have been upset by the reproduction qual- ity of their artwork? Many I would think. The variation of colour has always been a problem and will continue for quite some time yet until newspapers employ a sin- gle, industry-standard method of colour determination of pre- press and printing, such as the ICC method of colour standardi- sation. ICC ensures that every moni- tor, every printer and the printed page remains the same. Colour changes are in most cases not the fault of the printer, although everyone cries 'shoot the printer'. In my experience the bot- tom line is that a single dot on a printing plate must pick up the correct amount of ink and place an impression of the dot onto paper. It is the control of this dot's size and interaction with other dots that determines quality colour. Quite simply put, should the dot be too large then dark- ness will appear on the page, should the dot be too small then lightness will appear on the page and of course cause colour shifts on the printed version. Information specific to the dot's journey must be provided to customers that will ensure the correct dot size reaches the press first time, every time. In the trade we call the infor- mation required, dot gain or how big does my dot grow, coupled to ink density and the correct conversion from the RGB - red, green and blue space - to CMYK or cyan, magenta, yellow and black space. This colour space conversion to CMYK allows all colours to be faithfully repro- duced on the printed page. Optional layout library What better than to give ac- cess to an online internet-based library of pre-designed tem- plates to customers, enabling them construct their own adver- tising material. Each template can be custom- ised by the client but retains the correct ad integrity, size, and page dimensions of the publica- tion at all times, not to mention the savings in design costs to the customer. Imagine the joy a customer would experience if advertising elements were available on line to download and include in his layout. The standard of print quality would be maintained as all ele- ments would be press ready for specific publications at all times. Again a massive saving in time and costs to the customer. Giving people access to their historical data maintains a de- pendency upon the advertiser. He is more likely to continue advertising in publications that offer value-added services such as historical data access and free advertising construction ele- ments such as images, logos and pictures. Don’t rely on the agency! I don't wish to be rude to any agencies but rarely do I see col- our work completed correctly for the newspaper industry. Companies who gain infor- mation from newspaper pub- lishers will have more chance of success than those who do not take the time to learn the press characteristics of specific pub- lications and use them in their own production environment. Advertising delivery systems changed dramatically in the early '90s. I can imagine many of you remember the old method of putting all the advertising ele- ments into a large brown enve- lope and delivering by hand to production. Or placing all the