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What a time to be in print!

I may be new to my role at OneVision, but not to printing. I started in a graphics department for a medium-sized web-printer while I was still in college. Electronic prepress didn’t exist, nor had the role of computers been defined. Customers would bring in their separated artwork; we’d shoot it and then plate and print it. We didn’t have to worry that the art wasn’t correct – we’d see it on the artboards when they handed it across the counter.

In the early 1990’s, we’d use our laser printer to output separated art from Illustrator 88, Aldus Pagemaker, or Freehand with solid blacks and lay a screen over it to make our negs and then plates. Along came imagesetters, and now we could print directly to film and ultimately to platesetters. By now we were taking files from customers across the country and not the counter. Now we added another level of complexity to something already complex. First, we had to analyze the file: was it missing fonts, are the graphics too low resolution, were the spot colors correct? We’d have to relay the bad news to the CSR so we could get a new file. Once we overcame that hurdle, we had to figure out why the imagesetter bombed making film. What was it causing the RIP to choke? In the log you’d look for the page number and then start the tedious troubleshooting: was it a corrupt placed EPS or something more sinister? Sometimes we could make changes and try again. Sometimes we’d have to recreate the artwork. Sometimes we’d never know. We’d just run it again and lo and behold- it’d work! Most of the time we had to contact the customer.

As a graphic designer plying my trade in printing, and more specifically, electronic prepress, I learned what could and couldn’t print; and why. I’d try to talk to the designer and share what I knew so that the next time, I wouldn’t have to do the same work again. Sure, it was a lot of work, but it helping other designers became a passion.

The print world changed with digital printing: we were taking in hundreds of files a day, rather than two or three ad-agency type jobs for the offset press. Sure, the runs were shorter, but now customers demanded the same or next day turnaround. If we couldn’t do it, they’d go down the street to the next printer who would.

But bad files still plagued us. The time-consuming troubleshooting was still there and had grown exponentially with the influx of files. We needed fifteen people to look at all the jobs and relay the preflight info to the account manager to take back to the customers. Long hours, multiple shifts, and bad coffee fueled us to get through the daily backlog. There had to be an easier way.

Unbeknownst to me, at the time, OneVision was toiling away, perfecting prepress automation for the world’s newspapers. No one from the commercial segment had bothered to check what was going on in that industry. And no one from newspapers wanted us to know their secret!

Flatten transparenciesFast forward to the present day: to learn that all the effort; all the time; all the manpower; it all could have been used elsewhere if we had known about and used Onevision’s solutions. Not only can we take the file and tell you what is wrong with it (if you even want to know), but we fix it. Automatically! We embed the fonts. Automatically! We normalize it. Automatically! We strip out the bad color information and put in your good. Automatically! And so much more. All as automatically as you’d like it to be!

This is my platform now. I tell everyone in commercial print about it. I tell my family. I tell my friends. I tell my family’s friends. I believe in OneVision. I am continually in a state of awe as I see the software being implemented in new and fascinating ways with each installation.

Each day I learn something new, not only about OneVision solutions and the amazing people and culture, but something new about the industry in which I have spent close to 30 years. What a time to be in print!


Who is the best contact person at OneVision?

If you are already a OneVision customer and want to get more out of your software, then contact training(at)onevision.com.

If you do not yet have OneVision software in use, please contact info.ce(at)onevision.com

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1 comments

Eduardo Barragán Mondragón, 2020/01/16

Reading your words is returning to my own trail for more than 30 years.

From horizontal cameras in dark rooms, panchromatic films for color separation and photomechanical preparation of negative films to finalize in final films for burning to printing plates.

Who do you remember ferricyanide to soften hatched negatives and opaque ink to correct translucent points by brush?

I am proud to know the origin of all those tasks that Asura has managed to automate, with reliable results, expeditious and of unbeatable quality that we had long dreamed of.

Jon Flaxman, 2020/01/17

Hello Eduardo!

I do remember all of this: from the first horizontal stat camera that was the size of a small car to the last Agfa – Gevaert Repromaster 1000 I used, all are fond memories. I still have some opaque pens for nostalgia along with my letter presses.

Like you, I am proud of my history. The memories of that time make the fruits of automation that much sweeter!

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