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No two print projects are the same, and no two printers are the same. So, just because you've created files a certain way, or in a certain format, for one printer, doesn't mean that the next printer you work with will want the same from you. Continued from previous page

Creating for Today's Print Workflow

Knowing what the printer prefers is the first step, but there's much more...

By Gretchen A. Peck

Knowing what the printer prefers is the first step, but ensuring that your file meets its expectations is a critical second step before finalizing your file. For a very modest cost, graphic artists can implement quality-assurance tools, more commonly known as "preflight software."

Desgners There are more than a dozen solutions in the market place that verify whether a digital file meets a certain spec, but most are robust solutions that are better suited for high-volume workflows like you'd find at a commercial printer, for example. Most printers deploy preflighting and postflighting applications. They have software that will both check the quality of all incoming files from their customers, and then check the file again (if it's been manipulated in anyway by their prepress systems) to make sure it's really ready to set plates.

There are fewer quality-assurance solutions that are better suited for the single licensee situation -- say, an independent graphic artists, or a designer who works within an agency. Markzware's FlightCheck Studio comes to mind immediately. It's a relatively new application developed by Santa Ana, CA, Markzware Inc. and, designed specifically with the graphic artist in mind.

Introduced at last fall's Graph Expo in Chicago, FlightCheck Studio is a plug-in to QuarkXPress that allows the designer to designate document parameters, or "Design Policies," up front, based on a printer's specifications. For example, the content creator may deem that the file is bound to CMYK rules, and if he or she mistakenly tries to place a low-res image file into the document, the application immediately signals an alert that the rule was broken. The fix can be made then and there, without having to leave the native application, and the designer can rest assured that the file delivered to the printer is in its best possible condition.

Face it: it's no longer just about aesthetics. Graphic artists are expected to do much more than bring a concept to life on screen. They're expected to take on the role that was once played by the prepress supplier -- to ensure that the process of print runs as smoothly and as cost-efficiently as it can.

Gretchen A. Peck

Gretchen A. Peck writes about the printing and publishing industries. She welcomes comments via her Web site: www.pagesco.com.


FlightCheckManage The Design Perfect for: Independent Designers, Design Studios, Design Consultants, Art Directors, Book Publishers and Advertising Agencies -- FlightCheck Studio is capable of detecting virtually all problems commonly encountered in the print, and publishing industry. By simply clicking on a reported error, FlightCheck Studio takes the operator directly to the page and place in the document where the suspect element is located to facilitate repair or replacement.

Flight Check Professional
Flight Check Designer
Download the Demo www.markzware.com/fcstudio/demo.html
Screen Capture of the FlightCheck Studio Preferences
Read FlightCheck Studio documentation
Converting InDesign to Quark XPress
PageMaker to Quark XPress

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