Quark Out to Make Seven a Lucky Number
NEW YORK CITY—Competition is said to be a good thing. To the extent that’s true, these are great days for users of page layout software.
Quark Inc. clearly has been tested by Adobe Systems’ challenge to its once near monopolistic position in the graphic arts market. It is responding technologically with the release of QuarkXPress 7 and offering inducements for users to upgrade, thereby keeping them in the fold.
Most of the enhancements are targeted to the design community, naturally, but the company insists it kept an eye toward print service providers (PSPs) during development and testing. In implementing capabilities such as Transparency, the development work still focused on print so files created will output and not just be suitable for the Web, pointed out Jürgen Kurz, Quark’s senior vice president of product management, in his keynote address at the official product launch in New York City.
Among the new features, Job Jackets has the greatest significance for PSPs. Printers may also want to take note of the new Composition Zones capability, along with improvements in color management and the aggressive upgrade offer.
Since Quark had been providing details of version 7.0 long before its formal launch, the audience size turned out to be the more striking aspect of the event. Attendance easily topped 300 people for the 9 a.m kick-off session and stayed near that level during the full day’s worth of presentations and into the evening of entertainment.
The number of users on hand and their level of interest was a strong counterpoint to the recent buzz surrounding Adobe Creative Suite. Quark is looking to encourage product loyalty by offering a single upgrade price from any previous version of QuarkXPress and not just the most recent release. Also, it has committed to offering a Universal Binary version (for support of Intel-based Macs) as a free update to any registered QuarkXPress 7 user when it is released.
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.
Composition Zones enable multiple people to work in parallel on different components of the same project (document), down to elements within a single page. It is incumbent upon the “owner” of the document to take ultimate responsibility for the entire file as that person retains control over all the parts. However, it’s not hard to image a scenario in which a break down in communication leads to a file being sent to a printer with one or more component not having been finalized.
And if a problem is discovered in preflight or subsequent processing, how many people are going to have to be tracked down and brought into the loop to resolve the issue? Job Jackets do travel with the individual zones, as well as master/source document, to help ensure consistency. Then there’s the question of whether each collaborator needs to proof and approve his/her portion of the job.
The upgrade includes an array of other enhancements, including tighter integration with Adobe Photoshop while also incorporating Quark’s Image Engine technology for manipulating design elements without needing Photoshop. A final touch that should be doubly pleasing to printers is the company has gone back to including a printed manual in the box at no charge.
JDF Product Certification Program Launched
SEWICKLEY, PA—More than two years in development, the JDF Product Certification Program has finally been launched by CIP4 (The International Cooperation for the Integration of the Processes in Prepress, Press and Postpress) and PIA/GATF (Printing Industries of America/Graphic Arts Technical Foundation).
The program has been established to test product compliance to the Job Definition Format specification. JDF-enabled solutions that successfully complete testing will be issued a “JDF Certified” logo. This logo can be used on product packaging and promotional materials to convey to buyers that products have been certified to meet established guidelines for interoperability.
Parameters for the testing are to be dictated by the Interoperability Conformance Specification (ICS) documents created by CIP4 technical working groups over the last three years. Each ICS document is focused on a specific interface between two components of a graphic arts workflow.
Initially, testing will be limited to solutions implementing the “Layout Creator to Imposition” ICS document. This ICS defines the interface between a layout creation tool and a consumer of the fully populated JDF “layout resource”—the files and metadata required by output devices.
Consumers in this instance may be tools that produce an imposed content file or prepress workflow system that performs RIPing and imposition.
“Many vendors have expressed a desire to attain JDF certification, so we expect this program to expand quickly,” says Mark Bohan, PIA/GATF’s director, research and integrated technology. “JDF Product Certification for the ‘MIS to Conventional Sheetfed Printing’ and the ‘MIS to Prepress’ ICS documents will be introduced in the near future, and several other ICS documents are in development.”
Further details of the JDF Product Certification Program can be found at www.cip4.org.
PALO ALTO, CA—Hewlett-Packard recently teamed up with one of its HP Indigo users, Zazzle, to produce customized legal postage featuring images of HP founders Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, the original HP garage and company logo. In May, the United States Postal Service expanded its year-old customized postage program that gives businesses the right to place their logos on U.S. postage. Zazzle reportedly is one of only three companies approved to print postage with corporate logos.
In other HP news, DPI of Rochester, NY, has expanded its digital print capabilities by installing a six-color HP Indigo press 5000. Increased price competition for short-run color printing was a key reason cited by the printer for making the investment.
FOSTER CITY, CA—EFI has launched new Graphic Arts and Personalization Services designed to help its print MIS users meet their customers’ needs for variable data communications. The company has partnered with Affinity Express, a global provider of document creation and production services, to provide resources for basic artwork creation, image editing and VDP template creation, to consulting service for printers seeking to develop complete VDP campaigns for customers.
HARRISONBURG, VA—RR Donnelley has upgraded the digital book production capabilities of its local plant. Working with Nipson Digital Printing Systems, it has boosted the productivity and print quality of its existing VaryPress monochrome print engines and invested in a second production line built on Muller Martini’s SigmaLine on-demand system and Nipson digital printing technology.
LAKE SUCCESS, NY—More than 500 OfficeMax Print and Document Service (PDS) centers are getting set to offer customized signage and poster output services targeted to commercial customers. The corporation signed a deal with Canon U.S.A. to install imagePROGRAF W6400 24˝ color ink-jet printers in a nationwide rollout.
BOULDER, CO—The Village Printer has installed a SpeedSetter VM violet CTP system and OpenRIP Symphony workflow from RIPit Computer Corp.
TEWKSBURY, MA—As a follow on to ECRM Inc. having signed an agreement to acquire Esko’s polyester CTP product line, it has now committed to having Mitsubishi Imaging remain the master distributor of the DPX polyester platesetters. The product family includes the DPX 4, DPX System and DPX Lite models.
READING, PA—Standard Offset Printing has installed a Kodak Prinergy Evo workflow system, becoming the 1,000th user worldwide of the PDF-based workflow solution for small- to mid-size companies.
BERMUDA—Voting its three filmsetters off the island, The Royal Gazette newspaper has installed two ECRM NEWSmatic CTP systems.
ROCHESTER, NY—Newspapers continue to be a hot sector for CTP system installs. Among the publishing operations having recently invested in Kodak Trendsetter thermal platesetters are Frank Mayborn Enterprises in Temple, TX; The Pueblo Chieftain in Pueblo, CO; SPC Printing in Hibbing, MN; Galveston Newspapers in Galveston, TX; RiverTown Printing Group in Red Wing, MN; Times-Citizen Communications in Iowa Falls, IA; NPG Newspapers in Saint Joseph, MO; The Villages of Lake Sumter, The Villages, FL; and Ogden Publishing Corp. of Ogden, UT.
BATAVIA, OH—The Artios Users Group International (AUGI) and Association of Esko-Graphics Users (AEG), the two user groups devoted to Esko products, have agreed to merge into one organization. The combined organization is to be officially founded immediately upon the simultaneous closings of the two groups’ 2007 annual meetings, at which time the individual entities will cease to operate.
HEIDELBERG, GERMANY—Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG reports delivering its 500th Suprasetter CTP system. Systems are now being used in 44 countries, including this benchmark unit installed in Portugal.
DALLAS—FedEx Kinko’s has upgraded its free File, Print FedEx Kinko’s software, which enables customers to print directly to any of the company’s print centers from their desktops. Among the new features are the ability to print multiple files per order, automatic online proofing and a wider selection of papers.
ROCHESTER, NY—Xerox Corp. has expanded the “Let’s Say Thanks! Postcards from Home” one shot program it conducted earlier this year into an ongoing effort. The company is sponsoring a Website, www.LetsSayThanks.com, through which people can pick a postcard from a set featuring artwork drawn by children ages 6-14 and input a personalized message to a soldier. Once they are output by a Xerox iGen3 digital press, the postcards will be delivered to deployed forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere in care packages distributed by the military support organization Give2theTroops.
DENVER—Quark Inc. has entered into a strategic alliance with IO Integration, an independent systems integrator, to deliver advertising management solutions that streamline production workflows and deliver custom Web-to-print portals. These solutions will be based on Quark Dynamic Document Server (QuarkDDS) technology, which is designed to facilitate the production of customized, creative communications for multi-channel delivery via print, e-mail and the Web.
MELBOURNE, FL—MGI Digital Graphic Technologies is teaming up with PrintFlux to integrate the latter’s e-printing module with its Meteor DP40 digital press. Users will be able to set up an online print shop that can receive secure payments.
PHILADELPHIA—To boost the direct mail production capabilities of its local plant, Transcontinental Inc. has installed six Nipson VaryPress 200 monochrome digital presses. Among these units will be the 4,000th magnetographic press delivered from Nipson’s facility in Belfort, France.
SEWICKLEY, PA—Since becoming a core service of the association, PIA/GATF’s Digital Printing Council (DPC) reports tripling its roster to more than 1,000 members.
TOKYO—Ricoh Co. has entered into a partnership with EFI as part of a strategy to extend its presence in the high-end, print-on-demand market. This will enable Ricoh Aficio multifunction devices to be mated with EFI’s Fiery server technology.