Dave Matthews heads up the prepress department at Progressive Printing, a Martinsburg, West Virginia commercial printing facility. In the commercial art print poster world, a typical customer base is ill-equipped and uneducated in the process of preparing digital content for print. Long plagued by Microsoft Publisher files submitted by customers, Matthews discovered Markzware’s Pub2ID plugin.
Markzware followed up with Matthews some months later regarding this Publisher to InDesign plugin. We wanted to hear how the application had helped solve some of the data conversion problems he had been facing. He was gracious to share his thoughts on dealing with Microsoft Publisher files regarding print art poster printing:
Markzware: When was the company founded?
Matthews: Progressive Printing was founded in 1995.
Markzware: Is Progressive Printing’s clientele mostly local to the Martinsburg area? Or does your client base extend beyond the local market?
Matthews: About 60% of our clients are in the Martinsburg area. The other 40% is all over the US.
Markzware: Progressive Printing offers a wide range of commercial print projects — from brochures to color business cards, posters to postcards. Out of all of your services, which tends to be the most popular print products you offer? Similarly, is the company known for any particular specialty?
Matthews: Our most popular projects are brochures and business cards. Our shop is mostly known for customer service. That is how we get new customers, good word from existing customers.
Markzware: I would imagine that you see a lot of different file formats coming into the shop — folks bringing you content that’s been created in everything from Photoshop and InDesign to Microsoft Publisher and old versions of QuarkXPress, correct? What types of file formats are most popular? And what types of file formats do you prefer to receive?
Matthews: We mostly get [Microsoft] Publisher files from clients that are at home designers. We prefer to receive PDF files ready to go to press, but most clients do not know how to create a PDF.
Markzware: Do you provide your customers with any guideline on preferred file formats and instructions on how to set up their content files so that they’re easier to process through prepress and, ultimately, to print?
Matthews: We have offered guidelines and how-to’s on how to get files press-ready, but they don’t follow through, and it’s easier for us to just fix the job than [plead] with the customer to embed fonts or stop using RGB [images].
Markzware: We understand that you purchased Markzware’s InDesign plugin, Pub2ID. When did you buy that conversion software, and what prompted you to do so? Do you get a lot of clients who bring in Microsoft Publisher files?
Matthews: We purchased the plugin in the first week of January 2008. We bought it because we were having an increase in the number of files coming from [Microsoft] Publisher. We have tried to steer away from Publisher files until I purchased Pub2ID. Now, we don’t worry when a Publisher file comes into the shop.
Markzware: Publisher files seem rarely “print friendly” or “print-ready.” But it’s often hard to explain that to a customer who doesn’t quite understand the nuances of what a “print-ready” file consists of. Have you run into that problem a lot, and if so, how has the acquisition of Pub2ID enabled you to avoid those types of conversations?
Matthews: We have around 10% of our customers who use Publisher. The Pub2ID plugin has allowed me to stop booting up the PC for that one job a week.
Markzware: Your creative tools of choice are those within Adobe Creative Suite 3. So, tell us how Pub2ID has worked for you. How does it enable you to bring Publisher files into Adobe InDesign? Is the process easy and seamless?
Matthews: Pub2ID makes it very easy to deal with these files from customers.
Markzware: Have you encountered any problems with file conversion? And if so, what types of issues have you run into?
Matthews: The only problem is fonts, really. And that is because of PC fonts versus Mac fonts and customers not knowing how to embed fonts – even though I have gone over it hundreds of times for the same few customers.
Markzware: Generally speaking, was the investment in Pub2ID worthwhile? Were you able to justify the expenditure for this Publisher to Adobe InDesign plugin? If so, how quickly did it pay for itself?
Matthews: The plugin was a great investment. It paid for itself in the first week, because I had a big book to deal with, and if I didn’t have the Pub2ID plugin, I would probably still be working on that book.
Art Print Poster-Turning Microsoft Publisher Documents into Print-Ready Content