Hamilton--Are We Ready for E-Commerce?
This is where bombproof file formats such as DCS, PDF and TIFF/IT must be embraced by a far greater proportion of the creative community than is currently the case. That means they'll also have to take more responsibility, too. The market being what it is, content creators know they can rely on printers to validate their materials for them. And it's not all their fault, either, as many printers have resigned themselves to having this responsibility and figure it's easier to have the native application files from the get-go rather than have to request them later in the production cycle.
In the meantime, e-commerce pioneers who want to minimize the number of arrows in the back will have to start with simple projects and gradually raise the level of complexity. Thus, the mundane products that require as much effort to procure as to produce, including business cards, forms, stationery, BRP cards and the like, are a good starting point. Not only do these tend to be simple designs, but they're frequently one- or two-color jobs.
Before the business of high-end color printing can migrate en masse to the Web, it's useful to consider the evolution of the cataloging and direct marketing businesses.
Until supporting "technologies" such as toll-free numbers and credit cards were in widespread use, it remained a relatively small industry. For us, e-commerce needs tools that can guarantee proper file assembly. And while PDF clearly looks like the savior in many people's eyes, it still has a ways to go.
Kind of reminds you of the early days of PostScript, doesn't it?
About the Author
Alex Hamilton, a former technical editor with Printing Impressions, is president of Computers & Communications Consulting, which specializes in digital technologies for printing and publishing. He can be reached at (215) 247-3461 or by e-mail at email@example.com.