Technological Developments — More Changes Reshaping the Industry
The approach is too new and minimally tried to know what the real impact of this new file format will be. However, any printer that is now receiving files in Word or PowerPoint would be prudent to consider XPS as a likely file input from enterprise customers that lack professional commercial creative and prepress personnel. It would be wise to be prepared before the files start showing up, since we believe that they inevitably will.
Proofing, a keystone element in the success of color producing commercial printers, has been and continues to undergo a continuum of technological change. A printer’s internal proofs assist in achieving customer required color. Contract proof sign-offs are a customer satisfaction tool and the legal bedrock of proving that customer requirements have been met.
These proofing functions remain a vital part of print production, but the technology of achieving them is undergoing change. As film has been replaced by digital technology, it has also faded as the primary proofing medium. The majority of proofs in 2007 were produced by digital ink-jet output. A growing portion of ink-jet proofs are being done through remote links—printer to customer and, in some cases, customer to printer. Lithographic press proofs and in-plant press checks are declining.
Some printers have been able to calibrate color digital printing output to their offset litho output, enabling digital production presses to be used to generate proofs for offset. Starting in 2005, proofs produced on digital production equipment are included in the press proofing category. The net growth in this category is a result of the growth in production digital printing as an offset proofing method less the decline in litho press proofs and press checks.
Even as these newest proofing changes take root, the seeds have been planted for the next generation of proofing technology—soft on-screen paperless proofing. Proofing screens are now beginning to appear on press consoles. PrintCom believes that ink-jet proofing either peaked in 2007 or will peak in 2008 as it is replaced by soft on-screen proofing and, to a much smaller degree by, production digital color proofing. The accompanying table shows lithographic proofing trends to 2012.