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Dickeson--Print Communications Made Easy

April 1998

Thank goodness Norm Scharpf and his group at GCA had the foresight to see the needs for standardization and communication that were going to be essential to survival in this age of "smaller is better." Norm's people have been involved in bringing the committees and industry groups together and hammering out the details of how to make the disparate pieces fit.

Kotok, as a colleague of Scharpf, has been at the center of it all, keeping the minutes, scheduling the meetings, goading, wheedling, interpreting for the PROSE, EDIs, EMBARC, OpCode participants—constantly struggling for common understandings and standardization. We're indeed fortunate that Alan Kotok has taken the time to write it all down with such clear expression. What a jewel this man is!

And, likewise for his co-author, Ralph Lyman. What Kotok has done for the administrative and procedural impacts of change, Lyman, a printer/printing professor/author, has done for the aspects of the printing craft. Take, for example, the matter of digital proofing, a "critical quality step that can save the printer and print customer considerable time and money down the road."

Digital proofing, Lyman tells us, relies on the CIElab model for defining color values. The "l," "a" and "b" refer to coordinates for hue, saturation and brightness. CIE is the Committee for Illumination that defined the three-dimensional color space in 1931, Lyman explains. This enables matching some 1,800 points between color proof and press sheet, using the robotized spectrophotometer.

Media Competition
Will the Internet, CD-ROMs—all of the electronic marvels—make our beloved ink-on-paper industry obsolete? The new media can deliver text, photography, video, sound, animation and interactive response to the viewer, while, alas, ink on paper can only lie there, passive and inanimate. K&L challenge thinking on this point. They list the many advantages of ink on paper.

Ever try to use a computer on the bus or subway? If there's so much digital advantage, why is it that millions of copies of Time, Newsweek, and US News are still printed and read despite the fact that much of that same material is presented on their Web sites?

Yes, there's a challenge from electronic digital media, our sturdy authors concede, but, at the same time, there are astounding digital developments taking place within our own graphic process.

Recall how radio changed after television arrived? Well, radio is alive and stronger than ever. What about motion pictures? The other day I went to a 24-screen theater with stadium seating and Surround Sound to view a current release. And has "Titanic," the super-colossal motion picture, met the same disastrous consequence as its famous forebear? Movies, newspapers and books all flourish in this television and digital world.

What truly refreshed me in the K&L book was the listing of the Deming contribution, his 14 points and seven deadly sins. Our writers also do a very credible job illustrating the use of Shewhart charts and Paretos for printing process steps.

Good book. Thumbs up and four stars. Have a look. It isn't on the Internet!

—Roger V. Dickeson

About the Author
Roger Dickeson is a printing productivity consultant based in The Woodlands, TX. He can be reached via e-mail at or; or via fax at (281) 362-7572.


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