The overall target of the upgrade is said to be to improve communication, collaboration and production efficiency. Job Jackets touch on all three goals by providing an “intelligent link” between creative and production, according to Nick Martin, a Quark regional business manager.
Job Jackets are JDF (Job Definition Format) based and go beyond preflight to “keeping everyone on the same page from the start,” Kurz explains. This is enabled by the “New Project from Ticket” function that creates a new file with the job parameters, styles, output target, etc., already set up.
Any user can set up a Job Jacket, but Quark says the intent is for this to done by people with the necessary expertise in brand control (design parameters) and production expertise (output requirements). ICC profiles can be embedded for color management.
Jackets and the tickets they contain are built through a QuarkXPress 7 menu, but are saved as an XML file so they can be shared (saved and imported). Along with being used to set up a job properly, the information in a Job Jacket is applied by the new Evaluate Layout function to identify problem areas.
Users are alerted to any aspect of file that doesn’t meet the specifications of the Job Jacket/Ticket and provided instructions for how to fix problems, but this function doesn’t force the changes to be made or apply any of them automatically.
Quark envisions Job Jackets being published on Websites to facilitate sharing. SRDS already has committed to including Job Jackets as part of its online publication search results and the Ghent PDF Workgroup plans to offer versions that implement its specifications.
Composition Zones are geared toward collaboration at the design stage, but printers would be wise to consider the implications of this capability. Quark says its market research indicates that design firms are now using more freelance workers than full-time employees. It sees collaboration tools enabling users to grow without adding labor, but still maintaining control over projects and brand identity.