July 2009

In This Issue:
• Page Production
 — Options in Page Production
 — Workflow Automation, a closer look
 — Page Production method comparison
 — Other Pre-Media services
• Case Study: The Society of the Cincinatti
• Meet the Staff: Fox Cai
• BEA Show Recap
• Upcoming Events


  China Printing News, Tips on China Print Production & Case Studies

State of the Art: Page Production
From manual grunt work to automated workflows

Beginning with the calligraphic writing of hand-copied books in the Middle Ages, through the cumbersome setting of mechanical boards until just some 15 years ago, to modern database and script supported workflow methods today, the difficult, time intensive and expensive procedure of page production for books, catalogs and other products is regarded by many designers and production managers as the 'Valley of Evil' through which every print work must pass on its way from concept to reality.

Fortunately, the value proposition of overseas print production today extends beyond the pressroom to the typesetting studio. China's well-known labor cost advantages bring to bear considerable savings for products with high page counts and labor-intensive requirements.

China Printing Solutions' approach to page production is to first determine what technology, if any, may be used to optimize workflow and then to apply a system of proofreading checks and balances to ensure accurate and efficient results. Here are a few page production workflow methods that may be used on your book, catalog, magazine or other project:

Manual:
Some projects either have too few pages to warrant setting up an automated or semi-automated workflow system, or are simply too aesthetically complex or inconsistent to allow automation systems to function. Here we have no option but use good old-fashioned grunt work, leveraging a team of up to 40 Production Artists and proofreaders to crank out pages 'till the cows come home.

Semi-Automated:
Projects demonstrating substantial consistency of layout structure and text and image style, but which still require the flexibility of layout variations on the fly may be candidates for what could be called a "Semi-Automated" page production workflow. Examples of this can be found in commercial product catalogs or retail circulars. Beyond the establishment of master page templates, paragraph styles and library objects, sophisticated productivity enhancement plug-ins for Adobe InDesign and Quark Xpress provide faster, more accurate results than manual production alone while allowing the flexibility of aesthetic or content-driven variations from standard layouts.

Automated:
If you have a project with a large number of pages, a fixed design grid and an easily defined content formula, a number of Automated page production options exist that can save extraordinary amounts of time and money. Directories, Instruction manuals, retail signage, price lists, and some catalogs typically make up this pool of candidates. Solutions like XML (Extensible Markup Language) tagging, Data merge functions, Applescript programs and a few dedicated software applications allow page editors to serialize or tag data and then to "publish" it instantly to a layout of dozens or hundreds of pages. To present this process in a simplified light, page production can be done at the touch of a single button


Workflow Automation—A Closer look:

Below is an example of a very simple Automated page production workflow solution. While far more elementary than most automated systems, this demonstrates the basic principles of automated workflows: Establish templates, organize data, combine.


Page Production Method Comparison:

Here are some comparisons of the pros and cons of each page production workflow method.

Process
Typical Project
Workflow Method
Main Pros
Main Cons
Approx Rate
(for reference only)
Traditional
Complex books, Catalogs, Manuals, Brochures,Other
Manual
Most
Flexible
Slow
Error-prone
Expensive
$25-100/page
Plug-Ins
Books, Catalogs, Weekly circulars, Product manuals
Semi-Automated
Efficient
Flexible
Requires manual adjustment,
More complex to use than Automated solutions
$20-50/page
Data Merge
Retail signage, Pricelists, Business forms
Automated
Fast,
simple setup,
Inexpensive
Only applicable to simple layouts; Requires clear/ accurate input content tables
$5-10/page
XML
Dictionaries, Directories,
highly formatted Catalogs
Automated
Fast, powerful,
Accurate, inexpensive
Requires extensive set up and coding skills and time; Not very flexible
$2-5/page
*not including
set-up fee


Make the most of your budget:

Besides Page Production, other pre-media functions smart producers look to China for include volume image scanning, photo retouching, clipping and color management services. In short,
any repetitive, labor intensive service can easily be executed at a much lower cost with no
loss of quality or control in China.

To learn more about the range of services offered by China Printing Solutions International, please Click Here


For More Case Studies, Please Click Here

"As I see it, we didn't compromise at all on quality. Your work stands up against any US vendor we have used. You did for us precisely what you said you would, and I have nothing but good things to say about our experience with CPS. The savings and the pleasure of working with you are both considerable."
—Director, Society of the Cincinatti, USA
Case Study:
Society Of The Cincinatti Directory


Client:
The Society of the Cincinatti

Project Name: Annual Member Directory

Description:
The Society of the Cincinatti prints a directory classifying its roster of American Revolutionary War descendant members by constituent societies, geographical location, necrology and predecessors and including data such as address, title and military honors received. All of this data is consolidated into an intricate directory of several hundred pages where members often appear in multiple chapters according to different classifications.

To save time and ensure accuracy of the printed piece, a bespoke database was created to receive the detailed information provided by The Society. Using Extensible markup language, a series of sorting scripts were written to encode the data into the various categories as unique XML files for each chapter. By importing this XML code instead of text, page layout was almost completely automated, avoiding what would otherwise require countless hours of tedious text styling, insertion of paragraph breaks and editing by hand.

Key Challenges: With tens of thousands of individual bits of data and crossover of the data into multiple classifications, it was necessary to write and test the sorting code carefully to ensure an accurate result. Tests were conducted whereby the entire book was digitally published and reviewed in pdf format before
accepting that the data was all precisely correct.

Meet the Staff:
Fox Cai I Premedia Artist


An able graphic designer, packaging engineer, pre-press technician, web designer, photo retoucher, in house photographer and xml page production artist, Fox is CPS' jack of all trades. He has a graphic Design degree, is an expert user of all major design and publishing softwares and has a broad knowledge of pre-press procedure. Fox likes to read biographies, sing, improve his design and jog. He speaks English, Mandarin and Shanghai Dialect.

Fox can be reached at fox(at)chinaprintingsolutions.com.

Back From BEA:

To our friends in the Book Publishing World, here's hoping this year's Book Expo America was as big a success for you as it was for us.

China Printing Solutions General Manager Aaron Landis and Client Service Executive Grace Wu spent three days at New York's Javitz Center sharing samples of our book printing and talking with friends and clients old and new about book printing.

For those of you who stopped by our booth, it was really nice to meet face to face with you and understood each other's business more. If we missed you, please stay in touch and hope to see you at the Frankfut Book Fair in October!

To hear our BEA on-air podcast covering China Printing Solutions' 7 stage quality management system, Click here

For more information on BEA09, Click here

Upcoming Events
July, 2009

July 08-11: Shanghai International Printing & Packaging Products Fair
Shanghai New International Expo Centre
2345 Longyang Road, Pudong New Area

Aug 31-Sep 02: Assembly Technology Expo China

Shenzhen Convention & Exhibition Center
Shenzhen, China

Useful Tools:

Spine width/Weight/Volume Calculator Click here!
On line Quotation Request Click here!
Binding Diagrams Click here!
Folding Diagrams Click here!
Corrugated Board Flute Sizes Click here!

IN THE NEXT ISSUE:
PACKAGING IN CHINA!

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