A column by Stephen Beals
Just yesterday, our little print shop in upstate New York set a
new personal-best record. Although I'm generally supposed to
knock off at 4 pm, I made the mistake of still being at my desk at
five minutes after the hour. That's when I found out that a job we
had not yet received had to be delivered the following morning.
The job was a pocket folder to accompany the local university
president on a trip to China. The university had used our
company's FTP site before, so the customer already had a username
and password. Within a few minutes, the necessary InDesign
and Illustrator files were
posted, along with the necessary
fonts for the job (both
parties having access to T-1
connections), and I had them
on our server moments later.
One font did not survive
the trip, but did survive being
e-mailed after a quick followup
phone call. All of the files
were checked and verified by
4:15. RIP'ing a pocket folder
took less than a minute"?much less time than it took me to properly
impose the pockets, which the designer was not able to do
herself. Few files, even those from our most knowledgeable
designers (like this one), arrive completely ready for output,
which probably makes us a lot like everyone else in this business.
By 4:30, we had a low-res HP proof ready to be trimmed down
to the specifications for a standard pocket-folder die with business-
card slits, and the high-resolution image was already coming
off our EpsonStylus Pro 10000. But the customer need to see
the finished product for an approval. In this case, a 150-dpi PDF
file was not only easy and fast to create, but it provided high
enough resolution for the designer to approve. Since it came in at
well under 1 MB, it was also small enough to e-mail.
At 4:45, we had customer approval on a job that we hadn't
known was coming in the door 45 min. before. The customerservice
department had yet to write up the job ticket.