VOLUME 16 ISSUE 1&2 Spring/Summer 2000

Table of Contents

A New Millennium and a New Printer’s Ink . . . Sort Of!

I ’d like to welcome you to the first edition of Printer’s Ink for the new millennium. Upon his retirement Ned Thomson turned over the editorship to me; and hopefully, you won’t see much of a change in the overall concept of this publication. The goal is to communicate what’s happening in our industry and here at T-S in such a way that both those who have been in the business for a long time and those who are just tuning in to learn about PDF and perfect binding will come away learning something. 

One thing that will change is that in the past Ned usually wrote all of the articles with necessary input from those “in the know.” Since we are now nearly 100% employee-owned, I’m going to take advantage of the knowledge and experience of my co-owners and ask them to help in contributing to this effort. So, in future issues you’ll probably see some varying writing styles as the works of various individuals are presented. My role will be to make sure that those closest to the subject don’t over-power you with details and technical mumbo-jumbo, but communicate their point in a way that everyone can understand (including me). 

Ned would be the first to admit that he didn’t always understand all of the details behind what he was writing, and I’ll be the first to admit that if that’s a requirement of this role, I’m a great candidate. I’ve been with Thomson-Shore (and the book manufacturing industry) since 1995 and came here primarily because of the atmosphere of participation that was present. I knew that this was a place where my actions and efforts could actually make a difference. My current role is in management in the customer relations and marketing areas. 

One other thing you should probably know is that I am a graduate of Michigan State University. For some of you that may not mean much, but others of you under-stand. You see, Ned often talked about the efforts of his favorite school and our arch rival, the University of Michigan. Going forward I’m sure that some U of M related material will find its way into this publication as the majority of the employees of this company are die-hard wolverine fans; but I’m here to say that you will also find a passing comment now and then about MSU. So, let me start by congratulating Coach Tom Izzo and his Spartan basketball team on winning the NCAA National Title! 

I’ll finish by saying that this publication is for you. If you have any comments or questions regarding how we can make this better, please let me know.  Feel free to drop me an e-mail at toddg@tshore.com. I look forward to your feedback and to serving you in the future. 

-Todd Gaffner

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What's the Latest Buzz in Prepress Technology?
Output-Ready PDF
It Can Save You Time & Money

Output-Ready PDF (Portable Document Format) is a file format that, when constructed properly, offers reliable portability from the computer to the service provider for high- resolution output. The native application files should be prepared using all the guidelines for clean and trouble free files. When you are ready to send the PDF files, we have two main requirements to determine if a PDF file is Output-Ready. 

First, the graphics in the file have to be live for high-resolution output. “For position only” art adds time, costs and handoffs to the production process. We can offer our P-file process to provide you high-resolution quality scans to place into your files. Contact your Customer Care Team for more details. 

Second, the fonts have to be embedded and subset to ensure that the correct typeface will be used when the film or plates are made. Subsetting gives the font an unique name within the PDF. This ensures that the font in the PDF file will be imaged. If the font is only embedded, then the file may use a font from the imagesetter if it has the same font name. If fonts are not in the PDF file at all, then Acrobat will substitute a multiple master font to simulate the output. In most cases this font does not match the expected output. For more information please refer to our guidelines for Configuring & Using Acrobat Distiller to ensure you have the correct settings to make the PDF files. 

And here’s even more reasons to strive for Output Ready PDF in the future . . . 

• Saves approximately 15% in prepress costs compared to camera ready copy, and 6% when compared to application or PostScript files. 

• Allows soft proofing of electronic files before they are sent to the printer. All fonts and illustrations will be in place. 

• Saves on production time when scans are prepared in advance and included in files when they arrive at the printer. 

• There will no longer be a need for laser proofs, so there is money saved in producing these proofs and the shipping costs associated with sending them to us. 

• You can utilize the digital blueline technology. These proofs cost significantly less than conventional dylux proofs. In some cases you can bypass bluelines, saving time and costs. Inquire with your Customer Care Team on what is best for your project.

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Output-Ready PDF Workflow

  1. Manuscript provided to compositor

  2. Art is sent for high resolution scans

  3. Compositor prepares files with art included

  4. Book goes through preliminary proofing

  5. Book is ready for final files

  6. PostScript files are created

  7. PDF Files are made following guidelines

  8. Publisher views & approves PDF files

  9. PDF files are sent to Thomson-Shore

  10. Job is planned from PDF files

  11. Files are imposed electronically

 Direct-to-Plate Workflow   

  Film-to-Plate Workflow

  1. Digital blueline proofs are printed

  2. Proofs sent to customer for approval

  3. Proofs are approved

  4. Files are output direct to plate

  1. Full format film is output
  2. Dylux bluelines are made
  3. Proofs are sent to customer
  4. Proofs are approved
  5. Film is sent to plateroom for plates

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Things To Be Aware Of When Creating Output-Ready PDF Files

There is a steady increase in jobs that are being provided as PDF files. Approximately 40% of new pages that are coming in as files on disk are now being supplied as PDF. A good percentage of these are Output-Ready. As mentioned on page 2, to be considered Output-Ready the files must contain the final art and have the fonts properly embedded and subset. 

We accept PDF files created from Acrobat 4.x as well as files created in Acrobat 3. Adobe does recommend updating to version 3.02, the update is available on their web site. They corrected some bugs from the earlier release that are significant for files going to print. 

In addition to Adobe’s website you can find current news and plug-ins for PDF at www.pdfzone.com and www.planetpdf.com. As with other evolving technologies it is necessary to keep on top of the on-going changes. About 90% of the PDF files we receive progress smoothly through production. We feel this is pretty good success since PDF is fairly new in the production process. Of the problematic 10%, about half of the issues could have been avoided if the file creator followed the rules for clean file preparation. A few percent of the problems were introduced due to improper settings in Acrobat Distiller and a few jobs experienced system or software incompatibilities here at T-S. 

Here are some tips to avoid having your files fall in the lonely 10% . . . 

• We recommend that you create PostScript and then distill to PDF using our guidelines for configuring Acrobat Distiller. 

• Some applications provide an export option but still call upon Acrobat Distiller to create the PDF. In most cases this is okay, but we urge you to use caution when trying these methods. We suggest a test file to ensure compatibility. 

• PDF files exported from Adobe InDesign are causing problems, but are working if you create PostScript and Distill. 

• Do not use PDF Writer, its use is not intended for high-resolution output. 

• Avoid using TrueType fonts. Acrobat 4.0 honors the font licensing restrictions embedded in fonts, primarily TrueType. You will not be able to include the fonts in the PDF. 

• Watched folders need job options configured for each folder. 

• Be sure all your links are up-to-date in the application before creating the PostScript. 

• Be sure all your colors are in the proper color space. Otherwise you will be missing elements as we only output the black separation. 

Give PDF a try on your next project. Once you get into the swing of things, we think you’ll love it. -Sue Campbell, Prepress

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Thomson-Shore Continues To Be A
Leader in Caring for the Environment!

It’s been a little while since we’ve mentioned anything about the continued environmental initiatives we here at Thomson-Shore have been striving to implement, so we thought we would use a little space in this issue of Printer’s Ink to bring you up to date on a couple of our most recent endeavors. These latest announcements continue the long-standing tradition we have had to care not only for our customers and employees, but also for our community.

The first recognition was being named a Michigan Great Printer. The Michigan Great Printers Project is big news among printers because it recognizes professionals who strive for more than just a quality print job, but also commit to doing so using top quality environmental techniques. Pollution prevention is the key strategy of these print professionals. Pollution prevention is the common sense idea that it is most effective to reduce or eliminate waste before it is generated rather than develop costly treatment and disposal techniques after the fact. This innovative initiative is a partnership between the Michigan Environmental Council (MEC), the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and the Printing Industries of Michigan (PIM). This combination of interests and resources provides a well-balanced team of individuals who spread awareness and the goals of pollution prevention. 

The second recognition came as we were named a partner in the Community Partners for Clean Streams Program. This is a program initiated here in our home county of Washtenaw County. T-S established a Water Quality Action Plan that includes not only preventative tasks that are routinely performed, but also an education program which educates T-S employees on water quality protection practices. Because of this we were awarded with the opportunity to be recognized as a partner in this program. 

These are just two recent examples of how T-S has been recognized for its concern for the environment. To learn more about T-S environmental initiatives, please visit the Green Pages in the Library section of our web site. 

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Materially Speaking

The market for paper, pulp, and related products remains strong. Not surprisingly, prices for all grades of paper and related products have increased over the last couple of months. Prices for white, natural, coated, uncoated, text, and cover papers have all recently gone up. Other paper products with in-creases are binder’s board, endleaf, and cartons. Even though prices have gone up, the good news is that in contrast to the strong paper market of several years ago, the paper industry appears to be taking a rational disciplined approach to price increases this time around. 

To offer our customers a more economical natural text option we now stock Glatfelter’s Writers Off-set Natural. This is the sheet Ned mentioned we were testing in the last issue of PI. We stock Writers in 50#, 55#, and 60# for 6x9 trim size. We have also added 50# and 60# for 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 trim size. Writers is made at the same high quality as Glatfelter Offset or Supple Opaque, the shade is slightly different and the opacity of each weight is only 1 point lower than Glatfelter offset. The PPI’s for each weight are 50# @ 500, 55# @ 360, and 60# @ 420. Opacities are 91, 92, and 93 respectively. You get a lot of bulk for the buck from the 55#, while 50# and 60# will print good halftones for a natural uncoated sheet.

Writers Offset
# PPI Opacity 6 x 9 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
50 500 91 Yes Yes 
55 360 92 Yes No
60 420 93 Yes Yes

To assure the fastest and most reliable schedules take advantage of all our stocked materials. When all the materials used in a book are items that we stock it gives us greater predictability and control over production schedules. We now stock a greater variety of cloth and papers than ever before. This gives our customers a lot of choices. When we special order a material for a job we’re at the mercy of the material supplier and a variety of transportation systems to get it to us, and sometimes even the weather. 

What would you like to know about the materials that go into a book? Let us know and we’ll do our best to accommodate your interests in future issues. -Bill Thomas, Purchasing                      

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Mission: Output-Ready PDF 
Seminar Set for July 2000

Our next seminar will be held July 27th & 28th. If you were one of those people who were not able to attend last year, we certainly hope you’ll choose to come this time. 

The seminar is aimed at thoroughly covering copy preparation in the PDF format but we also include a plant tour where you’ll have a chance to talk with our production people. We’ll have a session on scanning techniques, something on covers and color, and in an effort to accommodate people who have no experience . . . or just want to become more confident about electronic prepress technology . . . we will offer a workshop to help those folks “get up to speed” so they’ll be able to get more out of the actual seminar. This last part will take place on July 26th and will be limited to the first ten interested registrants. 

Your mission should you choose to accept . . . will cover the following topics. 

Plant Tour
Customer Care Teams
Softbound & Hard Case Binderies

Output Ready PDF
Basic Design Necessities
Preparing Art
Job Options in Distiller
Acrobat 3 vs. Acrobat 4
Fonts and PDF
Preflighting PDF
FTP Considerations

Understanding Prepress Workflows
Conventional Layout
Disk to Film
Disk to Plate
Digital Bluelines
File Formats
Cover & Jacket Tips

Scanning Techniques
Analyzing a Photo
Setting Enddots
Adjusting Curves
Proper Resolutions

Panel Discussion with the Manufacturing Managers

If you’re interested, there’s a postal reply card in this issue of PI that will get you more information should you choose to send it in.

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Introducing 2 New PreQualified Typesetters

DeLarge Designs
Bill Walker
Los Angeles, CA


JTC Imagineering
John Taylor-Convery
Santa Maria, CA

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Ned’s News 

It’s amazing how fast your . . . or at least my . . . interests change when you retire. Maybe it was because my wife and I and our 9-year old golden retriever left Michigan and drove to Arizona 24 hours after my last day at T-S. This was just a couple days after Christmas and it was timed to get us to Arizona at least 24 hours before Michigan played . . . and soundly defeated, more or less . . . Alabama in the Orange Bowl. Thank goodness for football. Michigan’s basketball team has fallen on hard times since we left, so our memories of big victories are getting more and more distant. 

Actually, University of Michigan sports is one interest of mine that hasn’t changed but work at T-S seems farther away each day. After writing about EP, PDF, and PS for the last four years, all of a sudden I don’t even remember what those things spell anymore. I do recall that PDF is one of the good guys though and I assume you’re all using it religiously now. 

I seem to have exchanged business interests for physical interests. I’m now doing step aerobics three times a week (actually I’ve been doing aerobics regularly for over 10 years but not three times a week). I play tennis from six to 10 hours every week, ride my bike every day, hike and/or climb about once a week, walk the dog every day, then go to bed early so I’ll get enough sleep to have enough energy to get up and do it all again the next day. I’m kind of in a state of repetitive equilibrium that goes from being refreshed to being exhausted every 24 hour period. 

My non-exercise time is spent reading the four daily newspapers we subscribe to, reading the investment literature I take and using the internet to do research on small (what is known as “microcap”) stocks. So, while my interests and activities have changed, life is proceeding in a pleasant fashion and my greatest apprehension about retirement, that I’d be bored, has not happened. 

I believe Mary Jane’s life is pretty similar to her life “before retirement” only she is playing a bit more tennis now . . . and the dog, Maggie, has had to learn to walk in the desert and avoid cactus, but when you sleep 20 hours a day, it doesn’t make a lot of difference when or how you do it. 

In a short time we’ll be back in Michigan and it will be exciting to see clouds again. If you think this space would be better used by something other than this “retirement update,” let the people at T-S know or e-mail me at nedthomson@webtv.net -Ned Thomson 

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This May Be Your Last Issue 

As mentioned in the last issue of Printer’s Ink, we are attempting to “clean up” our subscription list. For those of you who have responded, you will find the word “RENEWED” above your name in the address block on the back of this issue. If you don’t see this and want to continue receiving Printer’s Ink, please respond in one of two ways. 

The first way is to go to our web site at www.tshore.com. On the home page you can click on “Subscribe” next to where it says Printer’s Ink Newsletter. Input your name and address and e-mail address on the form provided. Select whether you would like to receive Printer’s Ink by mail or an e-mail notification that the most recent issue is now on our website, or both. 

The second way to renew is to send in the postage paid reply form in this issue. Fill in your address on the request for quote page, check the box on the reverse side, and fill in your PI# located above your address. 

It’s that simple! We’d really like to continue sending Printer’s Ink to you, so please let us know you want to continue receiving it.

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