SPEAKING OF PROOFING ...
Can the industry adopt a common language for the approval process?
by Terril McConnell, Prepress Editor
In his national best seller, "Cultural Literacy, What Every American Needs to Know," author J. D. Hirsch argues our society may be suffering from a serious "failure to communicate." Not that we lack the means. The problem, proposes Hirsch, is that we don't necessarily know what to say to one another when we do connect.
Hirsch explains public school systems have de-emphasized rote learning, the 3Rs, and literary classics in favor of more innovative and individualized studies on everything from basket weaving to brake shoes, graduating several generations of adults without a common vocabulary.
Today's young adults may lack the ability to understand and employ new ideas because they do not recognize the reference points used by authors, historians, technologists, and the media to explain those ideas.
I also wonder if our industry isn't suffering from the lack of a common vocabulary. I started researching this article by attempting to collate the biggest issues in approval proofing:
• What is the best proofing method for each printing application?
• Are halftone proofs the only acceptable "contract" proofs?
• Is "pleasing color" versus accurate color ever an acceptable goal?
• Should the proof ever be the press operator's target, or is the purpose of the proof simply to predict what can be achieved on press?
• Who should be liable when the prepress file doesn't match the proof?
• Who should be liable when the proof doesn't match the printed result?
These are the exact same issues we've been grappling with for a long time. With all the new software and hardware we have at our disposal, why haven't we collectively solved these problems? Surely, left unanswered, they're costing us money.
In the publishing world, where the liabilities for color matching are enormous, and the circle of finger-pointers is even larger than in packaging, the move towards a common language is really heating up. SWOP, Inc., the industry's most successful and prolific printing standards body, has introduced a certification procedure and accompanying Certification Mark for off-press proofing systems.