PDF/VT to Bridge Gaps, Unify Production Workflows for Variable Data, Transactional and Transpromo Print Jobs
RESTON, VA— June 4, 2008—A committee of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is currently drafting an international standard that will define a variable data printing (VDP) job exchange format. ISO 16612-2 (PDF/VT) will specify how to use the Portable Document Format (PDF) to define and exchange all content elements and supporting metadata to produce predictable output for variable or transactional document content.
PDF/VT (“V” for “Variable” and “T” for “Transactional”) is designed to enable VDP in a variety of environments, from desktop printing to digital production presses, and to accommodate linkages for content, such as TransPromo applications, which combine color promotional content with transactional information. PDF/VT is a modern PDF format that builds on new ISO standards for print job exchange [PDF/X-4 (ISO 15930-7) and PDF/X-5 (ISO 15930-8)]. In addition, it will also support the full graphics model of PDF 1.6, which includes transparency, ICC-based color management and layers. In a production environment, PDF/VT is designed for use with JDF, or a similar job ticket format, to define a print product and corresponding process.
Historically, variable data content formats (proprietary or standard) have been specialized and were different from those commonly used in the graphic arts. PDF/VT is intended to bridge these differences and enable those involved in variable data printing to take advantage of tools, conventions and technologies already in use. As a versatile device- and workflow-independent content format, production strategies requiring late-stage printer re-targeting can be achieved with greater flexibility and reliability.
Based on PDF, a widely utilized and accepted final form exchange format, PDF/VT will simplify and streamline production workflows for VDP, Transactional and TransPromo print jobs and facilitate greater collaboration between marketers, designers, prepress and printers. PDF/VT files will be easily previewed, proofed, annotated, and approved across distributed workgroups using readily available desktop software. Since PDF/VT will serve as a digital master file format, the same file used to review a VDP job can be used to render it for digital presses. This support for more complex color graphics and color transparency provides content designers and marketers new opportunities to create printed customer communications with greater appeal.
This innovative approach supports the fundamental requirements of portability, device and workflow independence, and guaranteed communication of the intended color reproduction. It is anticipated that a wide variety of products, including authoring applications, viewers, approval processes, pre-flight tools and digital print devices from many vendors will support PDF/VT.
Committee members involved in the PDF/VT standard development include a broad range of leading hardware and software vendors, commercial printers and other industry stakeholders. NPES The Association for Suppliers of Printing, Publishing and Converting Technologies coordinates the activities of the U.S.-based representatives. At its April 14-15, meeting in Paris, France, the committee discussed details of Draft 6 of the standard; further deliberations are planned for its next meeting in Amsterdam in September, 2008.
NPES is a U.S. trade association representing more than 400 companies that manufacture and distribute equipment, software and supplies used across the workflow of nearly every printing, publishing and converting process. NPES is a co-sponsor of PRINT® and GRAPH EXPO® ; the largest and most comprehensive prepress, printing converting, package printing, binding and finishing, mailing and fulfillment, and offset and digital equipment trade show and conference in the Americas. Complete information about the association, its programs and member companies is available online at: www.npes.org, by phone: (703) 264-7200 or fax: (703) 620-0994.