Vertis’ Dave Colatriano on Soft Proofing
Recently, Target Marketing and Inside Direct Mail parent company, North American Publishing Co., has begun phasing out hard copy printer proofs in favor of soft proofing. Having never relied solely on soft proofing in the past, I was wary. But the end result was well worth the worry: The cost savings have been substantial, and we’ve been able to trim two days off our production cycle. In a time-crunched world where speed-to-market is so important, a day saved can be a dollar earned.
Curious to learn more about the potential applications of soft proofing for direct mailers, I reached out to Dave Colatriano, senior vice president and general manager of direct marketing and premedia for Vertis, a Baltimore-based marketing services provider that recently launched a new soft-proofing system. Here, Colatriano touches on some of the key considerations involved in implementing this technology.
TG: What exactly is soft proofing?
DC: Soft proofing is a technology that allows you to create a proof and … view it on a color-calibrated monitor with the proper viewing profile attached to it. It also gives you the capability to annotate, and will allow tracking—who made changes, who made annotations, who approved it—that will go along with the proof.
TG: What are some of the benefits of soft proofing for direct mailers?
DC: One of the benefits we’ve been using soft proofing for, as opposed to a color-correct contract proof, is annotation work. It’s been advantageous for us to create a file, make the [soft] proof and let the client look at it and make changes immediately. It saves time and money [because] we don’t have to overnight proofs. We get all the annotation work done up front, then we make a final paper proof to go to the press. So we’re combining both of them, really. As turn-around times tighten, and the ability to get your product in the mail faster [becomes] more important, using this technology allows the producer and the customer to communicate more efficiently, more effectively and quicker. With direct marketing, you want to have the freshest file, the freshest list—and front-end processing time is shrinking. You want proofing that can be done faster, and this allows for that because it’s desktop-to-desktop.