Hamilton--A Few Holiday Wishes
I am tired of hearing about it. The bottom line is that there are so many other issues that determine the quality of the finished piece that to focus on my 8-micron spot vs. your 7-micron spot—hat or halo—shows how we can lose perspective.
What's really important about CTP is what happens before the file gets to the platesetter. Beyond the issue of file formats and workflow, what I would really like to see is the printing industry stand up for itself and demand that clients become accountable for the materials they submit for production.
There's no doubt that everyone wants it faster, better and cheaper. However, it seems that there is considerable reluctance on the content creation side to take on the responsibility to make sure the files can be printed according to the quote. Sadly, we, as an industry, have abetted this practice (I guess that makes us co-dependent) by offering to fix files for free, and our clients are hooked.
But it seems to me that if publishers/designers/catalogers or whoever want to maintain control over the files and do all the page assembly, then they must invest in the necessary tools and training to make sure they deliver the goods. Buying G4s and preflighting software is a start, but the truth of the matter is that sending designers to classes that teach proper file preparation will do far more to reduce cycle time and errors. No, not the dreaded "T-word."
This brings me to fonts, which is a two-headed beast. First, is the mundane yet maddening problem that only too few designers seem to remember to supply or embed fonts in their files, which results in Courier type, text reflows, kerning problems and headaches all around. I even saw a full-page ad in the New York Times recently that had Courier type—and I don't think that's what the client had in mind! It's hard to believe that, 15 years into the desktop publishing revolution, about 80 percent of all files still come in with pedestrian problems like this.