Putting PDF into Production
There are many ways to view the PDF momentum within the graphic arts industry. Dome Printing's intelligent caution, yet visionary acceptance, of PDF's placement in the industry and future impact on print production is one way. The 100-percent PDF stance of Johnson Printing is another. The progressive approach of Primary Color, and its work with Adobe's PDF bridge technology, InProduction, is yet another.
Regardless of the current PDF positioning of any specific printing organization, the fact that PDF will continue to take root in the printing industry is undeniable. Prepress technology companies from Agfa to CreoScitex to Heidelberg to Fujifilm to Screen to IPTech, and on and on, it seems, are developing new PDF workflows or enhancing tools and capabilities in existing PDF workflows. The number of third-party PDF solutions is growing at a healthy pace as well, further enabling PDF to the mass market of commercial printers looking to go digital.
Introducing PDF to any print production workflow is a dramatic step. While it can streamline processes and create a more flexible, predictable prepress environment, PDF done incorrectly is a workflow nightmare. Educating the design community and the print buyer to the proper ways of creating PDFs will be the best insurance that PDF, in practice, will be successful for any commercial printer.
The PDF Message
As PDF gains momentum, so too does a new cadre of third-party plug-ins, designed to enable and enhance any PDF workflow. Why are these tools important? The variety of third-party PDF proponents, available from the developers or directly from Adobe Systems, do everthing from converting multi-page PDF files to image file formats like TIFF, JPEG or BMP, to turning PDF documents into archiving solutions.
While Adobe is working to educate the graphic arts community (visit www.adobe.com) on the merits and implementations of PDF, the responsibility to truly get designers, publishers and the comprehensive print buying community pointed in the right PDF dir-ections may fall on the shoulders of the printer—cautious or pioneering—to put PDF, truly, into production.