Prepress in the Digital Age (1,182 words)
Soft Proofing: Online soft proofing will continue to develop. Currently, this technology is used mostly for customer proofing for position and content. The prepress department places soft (i.e., digital file) proofs on a server for the cataloger to download, usually in PDF format. The cataloger then views the pages online and approves them or orders alterations. Though the technology doesn't yet lend itself to color approval, that's no reason to prevent its development, provided that computer monitor calibration is accurate.
Cross-Purposing: Using the same text and graphics for print and Web applications—that is, cross-purposing of digital assets—will continue. Prepress departments will format images for both, and even develop and service catalogers' Web presence.
Technology: Today & Tomorrow
Computer technology will continue to revolutionize the way catalogers conduct their print business. The following technologies will continue to play a significant role:
Digital Asset Management (DAM): Already, there are services and software packages that will archive and process a cataloger's digital assets (e.g., digital images) and make them ready for easy retrieval and use, often online. Imagine uploading your raw digital photos to an archive, and having the system catalog and store them. Then, when you want them, the DAM system retrieves them as high- or low-resolution images, in CMYK or RGB color formats, for print or Web applications.
Digital Content Management (DCM): Your database is your content. Your inventory and price lists are the data from which your catalogs and Web site are made. Now you can link your print and Web publishing straight into your database. Thus, when a price change is loaded into your database, it updates your print or Web content automatically. If an item is out of stock, it's flagged right onto your Web site and your next catalog.
Personalization: It's already easy to personalize catalogs geographically, listing where the people on a mailing list can go to buy products locally. The day is fast approaching when many catalogers will be ordering press runs of one.