Recently, Markzware sat down with Sherry Baker who works for Sterling Printing in Anderson, South Carolina. Baker’s job title is quite complicated because she is a mighty might who wears quite a variety of hats which runs the gamut of graphic designer, prepress specialist to web mistress/server technician. Thus her appointed name on her business card is perfectly described as “Digital Diva.”
Q: Sherry, please describe to us a brief description of your day to day responsibilities.
A: Let’s start with the easy answer first… I work for Sterling Printing Company, a small town business printer in Anderson, SC. My job title is complicated as it changes on a daily basis and has been everything from Designer/Prepress Specialist/Web Mistress/Server Tech to Anything-else-computer-related-that-no-one-else-can-figure-out Person. My business card title reads “Digital Diva” and, though it gets a lot of raised eyebrows, I assure you… it’s only to save space, because there is no way a 3.5″ x 2″ card can fit everything I do on a daily basis!
Digital files are my domain… whether they are created in-house, or by the client… from the time I either create it, or the client brings it in on disk to the time it is archived at job completion. In between, I am solely responsible for pre-flighting, troubleshooting, correcting the file, making suggestions, finding stock art, creating logos, designing layouts, performing imposition and variable data functions, running digital files to the final product, and creating film for conventional press.
Now, I don’t want to give the impression that I feel what I do is somehow more than what any other Graphic Designer does in the line of duty. I’m fairly sure that ALL of us fit this description somewhat. I’m nothing special. Just one of the many “behind the scenes people” making the end product painless and beautiful!
Q: I would imagine that you see a lot of different file formats from folks bringing in content created in everything from Photoshop and InDesign to Microsoft Word and old versions of PageMaker, correct? What types of file formats do you find are most popular? And what types of file formats do you prefer to receive?
A: Believe it or not, I’m still getting files formatted as WordPerfect and AmiPro! We won’t even get into the myriad of “bargain bin” applications by various greeting card companies that clients insist should be workable. Those aside, yes, we still get the occasional PageMaker or QuarkXPress file, but lately they are few and far between.
The most popular by far are InDesign CS3 and CS4… MS Word… MS Publisher… and Excel files. My favorite to receive by *far* are properly constructed InDesign files… preflighted and packaged with all necessary support files. If they have also already converted all their RGB photos to CMYK… it actually brings a tear to my eye and they are sure to end up on my holiday card list.
Q: How prevalent are Microsoft Publisher files these days? If you had to estimate the number of Publisher files that are coming in, what would the percentage in an average month be?
A: Honestly, I don’t get many anymore. It used to be that half the files I received from customers were Publisher files, but now I think we are down to about 20% to 30% of customer files that are Publisher. It may be more, but most are actually converting them to PDF’s prior to sending.
Q: How problematic are Microsoft Publisher files in terms of receiving them and getting them through prepress?
A: Let me start by saying… I’m not really a fan. MS Publisher simply doesn’t understand the press process as well as they would like people to think. They have a lot of fancy “Save for service provider” features that are so complicated, they do nothing more than confuse my customers. Most of them were more frustrated with me trying to walk them through all that mess, than they were at simply loading their file on disk and praying I could work with it. You can imagine how that turned out on my end…
/All their photos are 40 inches wide and in RGB mode and are 72 dpi.
A few of them are index color and started out as 50×50 pixel gifs
they found on the web somewhere… and are not embedded at all. The
text is “Rich” black… even the spot color jobs. The fonts are
never embedded properly and there is always a post-it note enclosed
saying, “I couldn’t figure out how to rotate this headline I created
with XYZ Generic Headline Creator Pro that I got at the office store
for $9.99… could you fix it for me?”/
Oh, yes… MS Publisher files have always been problematic. VERY much so. Until 2 years ago, we were at the point where we refused Publisher files unless they could save them as PDF’s.
Q: Are you mostly using Adobe InDesign / Adobe Creative Suite as your primary design/layout tool?
A: Yes. We use Adobe products exclusively for all our in-house creation.
Q: How did you learn about Markzware’s Pub2ID application? And what piqued your interest in this plug-in for Adobe?
A: I am not sure what prompted the invitation… but I received an email invitation to beta test Markzware’s Pub2ID. For my participation, I received a working copy of the beta program and all I had to do was give feedback. I figured, what could it hurt? The worst that could happen is that it didn’t work and I was back to PitStopping PDF’s. I have to admit, I wasn’t too optimistic but the thought that I might be able to make a difference in a program that could change the way I view Microsoft products was very intriguing.
Q: Have you personally used the tool to convert a Publisher file (a file that originated in Microsoft Publisher) to a workable Adobe InDesign document? And if so, what are your impressions of this plug-in for Adobe? Do you find it reliable, useful, seamless, easy to use?
A: I use this tool on every MS Publisher file that crosses my desk these days. It’s very easy to use and I haven’t found a single file that has hung it up or failed to function.
Frankly, I would have been tickled PINK if the only thing the plug in had done was collect graphics… but when I opened a 120-page technical manual created in Publisher into InDesign (saving me a week of reconstruction work) and all I had to do was fix a few line endings and a couple picture boxes… my squeal of joy could be heard clear to Bindery. (They are still talking about that… much to my chagrin.)
Q: Have you encountered any problems with the conversion using the Pub2ID plugin for Adobe? And if so, what types of issues have you run into?
A: I’m not going to say it’s a 100% perfect translation every time, because let’s face it, MS Publisher is prone to allowing users to set things up wrong, anyway. It can’t fix things like user errors… but Pub2ID gives you a great starting point on most files you would otherwise have to reset from scratch – and the best part – it collects all the graphics so you can fix them properly!
The most common issues I’ve run into are caused by graphics and text that have Publisher affects assigned, font variances from platform to platform, and where a customer has reassigned color space of a graphic. Pub2ID handles these graphics sensibly… pulling them in as their original color space, allowing you to make the proper corrections in the proper program.
Q: Generally speaking would you say that the investment in the Pub2ID plugin for Adobe is worthwhile? Do you feel as though it’s a technology that you’d recommend?
A: A prepress person finding themselves faced with Publisher files that they don’t have time or the inclination to recreate from scratch (or even if all you need is ONE LOGO out of a Publisher file because your customer thought it would be okay to delete the native file since it was in their Publisher document), it is worth the price.
Remember that 120-page technical manual I mentioned? My copy of Pub2ID purchased itself in that single use. If your time is money – and let’s face it, in prepress it is all about the money — you really can’t afford not to have Pub2ID in your arsenal.
Pub2ID – Plug-in For Adobe Makes End Product Painless & Beautiful