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Digital Workflow Challenges: The View From The Spectrum Conference

Tony Silber By
09/28/2006 -02:00 AM

Notes from the Spectrum Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, where IdeAlliance

convenes print-production executives each year from agencies, vendors and publishers to work through production challenges:

First thought: Even through the digital workflow promised at its inception eight or nine years ago to be faster, less-expensive, more flexible, it never promised to solve the problem of standards for advertising, and sure enough, it’s still a big problem. What’s happened is the bugs and glitches from the film-production process have morphed into the bugs and glitches of digital production.

In many instances, the problems are the same, just caused by new processes. That’s ironic. The challenges are universal: Whether a small boutique agency or Draft FCB, a small printer or R.R. Donnelley, a regional publisher or Time Inc., the problems come down to poor color reproduction, proofing, odd cases of logos dropping out and more.

Hearst’s Jerry D’Elia had it right in a session on liability when he said, “One of the greatest frustrations I have is when people say the file was ‘technically okay,’ but something happened in the RIP.’ No one is responsible, and I’m stuck with a makegood.”

Nan Gelhard, ad manager for Summit Racing and a moderator of one of the panels, said that “the hurdles to workflow are human ones,” but I think that’s only partly true. Training is important, but the larger hurdle is this: Overcoming the hodgepodge of ever-changing, narrowly applicable standards that create a cacophony in the market.

As long as there is no ironclad standard overseen by an organization like IdeAlliance, applicable throughout the supply chain, you’ll have fonts bitmapping and logos inexplicably dropping off an ad.

Tony Silber By --

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