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Sales Relationships : Don’t Cut Out Print Buyers
August 1, 2011

Is it wise or profitable to seek out requisitioners or corporate-level types, as opposed to print buyers, in search of work? As printers take on more of the services that have traditionally been identified with advertising agencies, can the marketing-evolved printer play nice with an ad agency client?

DIGITAL digest
April 1, 2005

Adobe Suite Offers Second Take on Integration SAN JOSE, CA—The new version of Adobe Systems' Creative Suite (called CS2) is one of the most rich and featured-packed upgrades in recent memory. This is due to a move the company made about 18 months ago to dramatically change its approach to upgrading its key creative products—Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator and GoLive. Instead of rolling out a hodge-podge of individual product updates, Adobe decided to align the product development schedules and release all application updates simultaneously. The reason for this new approach was not to simplify management of upgrades—neither for Adobe, nor its customers (although

The New World of Offshoring and Automation --McIlroy
October 1, 2004

It's widely accepted that desktop publishing killed the typesetting industry. This is not true. It certainly shrank the industry a great deal. As I recall back in 1984, just before the Apple Macintosh hit the market, roughly 6,000 firms in North America offered typesetting services. In the short-term many of those firms morphed into "PostScript Service Bureaus," offering film output from desktop publishing software. Soon printers began to bring that service in-house, forcing many of the service bureaus out of business. More recently, the near-complete printing industry adoption of computer-to-plate knocked most of the rest of them out of the market. But a core group has

Tackling the Workflow Challenge --McIlroy
August 1, 2004

Adobe Creative Suite and Version Cue—they're the newest mountain in a molehill. Have they even crossed your radar screen yet? You may have heard the Reader's Digest version. Instead of releasing individual versions of their hit software, like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator, Adobe has chosen to unify their major products under the CS (Creative Suite) name, and release all individual upgrades simultaneously from now on (including Adobe InDesign and Adobe GoLive). Wow! It's the kind of news guaranteed to excite Adobe employees and put the rest of us to sleep. But buried within that announcement is something far more important: Version Cue. As Shakespeare

The Next Stage in Composition -- McIlroy
April 1, 2004

As XML adoption becomes more widespread across all industries, there's an increasing focus on how to get XML-tagged content beyond the Web and into print. A recent W3C standard, XSL-FO, is an attempt to add formatting capabilities to XML, an attempt to add print formatting to data that was more likely intended primarily for electronic distribution, Web or otherwise. Imagine how tough it would be if your father was SGML, and your mother was the anarchy of the Internet! What a difficult time you would have trying to find your real purpose in life. Someone asked me the other day: "Does anyone really

Cross-Media in QuarkXPress and Adobe InDesign --McIlroy
February 1, 2004

Last summer I wrote a column for Printing Impressions called "Whatever Happened to Cross-Media Publishing?" In it I explored the 10-year history of the concept of cross-media publishing (sometimes called "media-independent publishing"). It sure sounded great in the early '90s: a single publishing system, a unified publishing workflow, encompassing both print and electronic (mostly online) media. But, I noted, "the majority of what we find in print today does not appear on the Web; and very little of what's on the Web ever makes it to print." Trying to figure out why the cross-media dream had not been realized I noted that what works best

Let's Move Forward Quickly --McIlroy
December 1, 2003

In May 1998, William Davis, then new chairman and CEO of RR Donnelley—one of the largest printing companies in the world—said, "In this game, manufacturing discipline will win. The craftsman who has to leave his thumbprint on every page will lose." He continued: "We are a decade behind in manufacturing best practices." His comments reflect the modern challenge of the graphic arts. Traditionally the manufacture of print has been craft-oriented, from design through to print. Designers made their reputations by creating unusual print pieces, with beautiful typography, tough-to-match colors, and unusual trim and bind requirements. Printers made their reputations by dealing under deadline with these

Hollywood Confronts the Digital Revolution --McIlroy
October 1, 2003

There's a wonderful article in the August 11 edition of The Wall Street Journal called "Engineering Blue Skies" (you need an online subscription to grab this from The Wall Street Journal Website, but if you do a Google search, you'll often find articles posted on secondary Websites without charge.) The article covers a new trend in Hollywood—that of converting feature films from silver halide to digital, in order to use digital tools to improve the images, and then converting them back to film for theater viewing. For anyone in the printing industry who has lived through the shift to digital imaging, the article is a

Whatever Happened to Cross-Media Publishing? --McIlroy
May 1, 2003

The other night, lying in bed, thinking about publishing (sad, but true!), I started to wonder: Whatever happened to cross-media publishing? As the Internet and Web exploded across the publishing world in the early to mid-1990s, cross-media publishing and media-independent publishing were our battle cry. Sure, the Internet was in ascendence then, but we publishers knew that the Web folks would have to come home to papa eventually. They couldn't build megalithic systems for Web publishing independently from the megalithic systems for print publishing currently in development and in place. These systems would have to merge together into a single, powerful, cross-media system: one

Fools and Their Foolproof Workflows --McIlroy
April 1, 2003

In my last two columns I reviewed "PDF Workflow Shootout & Usage Survey" (from Seybold Publications), an 84-page report that I called "the only comprehensive survey yet conducted on PDF utilization in the graphic arts." I was wrong. Another survey has come to my attention, and it's a very good complement to the Seybold study. In a comprehensive new report from GATF called "The PDF Era: PDF Usage in the Real World," author Julie Shaffer, director of the Center for Imaging Excellence at GATF, provides an in-depth examination of "the experiences of the people who work with PDF files 'in the trenches' of print production."

PDF Generators Weigh In --McIlroy
January 1, 2003

In my last column I discussed some of the results from the Seybold organization's in-depth report on the state of PDF: "PDF Workflow Shootout & Usage Survey" ($450 from Seybold Publications). The 84-page report looks at two sides of the PDF problem: what do publishers (PDF generators) want, and what do printers (PDF processors) want? Like most reports, particularly those that are styled as "shootouts," the report suffers from some questionable methodology, and inconclusive results. At the same time, this is the only comprehensive survey yet conducted on PDF utilization in the graphic arts. PDF workflows are the most important technology development in the

A PDF Progress Report --McIlroy
November 1, 2002

I happen to be a big believer in PDF. I think it's the best technology driving workflow improvement today, and that it will bring even more benefits to workflows in the years ahead. Now that's hardly a controversial statement—you could even call it a widely-held belief in our industry. But I know there are lots of people out there, both publishers (in the broad sense of the word) and printers (ok, in the broad sense of that word, too), who, while they have a generally positive attitude towards PDF (how could they not, after all the good press we've given it?), still have some doubts,

GRAPH EXPO & CONVERTING EXPO 2002 -- Showing Signs of Recovery
September 1, 2002

BY MARK MICHELSON What a difference a year makes. Exhibitors came to PRINT 01 in Chicago last September feeling guardedly optimistic—despite the lingering effects of a soft economy and, consequently, a reduction in most printers' capital expenditure budgets. And, of course, no one could foresee the September 11 terrorist attacks that would hamper buying activity at the show and create heightened concern over the state of the U.S. economy. Now, fast-forward to next month's Graph Expo and Converting Expo 2002 exhibition in Chicago, scheduled for October 6 to 9 at McCormick Place South. With more than 400 exhibitors filling over 360,000 net square

New Print Campaign Is Fatally Flawed -- McIlroy
April 1, 2002

GENTLE READER: I can only say that if you're getting sick and tired of my naysaying of the printing industry, think about how I feel. I look back on my Printing Impressions columns over the last few years, and I realize that you could easily get the idea that there's nothing I'd like better than to see the printing industry disappear. I keep harping about the industry's failure to get with the program: to recognize the changes that are taking place in the way that media is proffered in our society. I keep harping about the economic challenges that the printing industry faces and, I

In Search of PrintTalk and JDF -- McIlroy
June 1, 2001

I intended to devote this column to an exploration of the PrintTalk specification and to JDF (the Job Definition Format). I got the idea when I opened the April issue of Printing Impressions and noticed an advertisement for PrintTalk (placed just below my column). The ad listed a bunch of sponsoring vendors, and had the headline "Demand PrintTalk-enabled Solutions from Your Suppliers." I went to five or six of the Websites of the vendors listed in the ad and searched for a mention of PrintTalk. I couldn't find one. The ad for PrintTalk lists a Web site—www.PrintTalk.org. There I learned that PrintTalk "is a

How Important Is Acrobat 5?--McIlroy
April 1, 2001

By the time you read this column, Adobe will have announced an upgrade to Acrobat—called Acrobat, Version 5.0, and a new version of the Portable Document Format (PDF), Version 1.4. I'd like to proclaim this the most anticipated new software release of 2001, and to call PDF 1.4 the "file format of the year." In fact, there's been very little advance buzz about either the new Acrobat or the new version of PDF. So I was surprised when I sat down with Adobe to take a look at what was coming in the software. I think it's a very important upgrade. In this consumer age, we're

Moving to Network Publishing--Thad McIlroy
December 1, 2000

I first starting writing about printers and the Internet in the summer of 1995; a mere five years ago in human time, a lifetime ago for technology. Since then I've continued to harangue you in this column and in my seminars. Get with the Internet, get with the Web, I've admonished. This really is going to affect printing and publishing—it's inevitable. The problem is that I've been a little short on specifics about what exactly a printer is supposed to DO about the Web. Was I suggesting that printers learn a lot more about the Internet and the Web? (Definitely.) Was I suggesting that you

McIlroy--The (Hidden) Meaning of DRUPA
August 1, 2000

There are two major schools of thought that have formed opinions about what happened at DRUPA 2000, held in Dusseldorf, Germany, last May. One theory has it that there were hundreds of new product announcements, some of them very important. The other school says that there were hundreds of new product announcements, none of them of any key significance to the future of printing and publishing. Which one is right? Part of what makes it so difficult to interpret the impact of DRUPA is the sheer scale of the event. Held only once every four or five years, the show is enormous by North