Jordan Gorski on Value of Color, Prepress in Wide-Format
Color management and process control are critical but often overlooked factors in wide-format printing. To learn more about how printers can improve efficiency, quality, and profitability through better color workflows, we spoke with Jordan Gorski, Executive Director of Idealliance. As an organization dedicated to developing print standards and best practices, Idealliance provides valuable guidance and training to help wide-format producers master color and streamline prepress.
WFI: As a differentiating factor between wide-format producers in a competitive space, how important is color and prepress mastery?
Gorski: It’s a determining factor for how a lot of companies operate their businesses. In wide-format, there are a lot of different specialties, and producing them to a level of quality that’s color-managed is the critical factor for success. Anybody can produce those things, but to be able to do it with quality and repeatability is important, for higher-end clients, for large brands. Once a print buyer finds a printer that can help them meet their expectations, it keeps the jobs coming back.
WFI: And how does efficiency work into the mix?
Gorski: General production efficiency leads to sustainable profitability, and built-in process control limits pre-prints and reprints, helping meet expectations every time. When you’re looking at efficiency in color, you want to get the best bang for your buck.
WFI: As an organization focused on color standards, which many printers don’t know how to approach, how does Idealliance work to convince printers about the value of adherence to, say, G7?
Gorski: A lot of the work we do benefits printers, but also their customers. Print buyers, creatives, workflow operators and managers, technology providers all have a equal playing field, so everybody feels like they’re bought in. It helps them focus on what is relevant and what is necessary. What Idealliance is doing with PRINTING United Alliance is bringing segments together. We’re working to guide the industry as to what is needed for the best outcomes; drawing lines in the sand to make sure everyone knows what they’re working with. It has helped us stay at the forefront and to bring more folks into the fold.
WFI: To what degree can adherence to color standards minimize roadblocks in prepress and increase efficiency?
Gorski: It helps to open the conversation with production staff and designers and allows everybody throughout the workflow to keep in mind the work that will be printed, and what [standard] it will be printed to. Anybody can design a great-looking job – the measure is whether it is printed with quality. And going as far up the workflow as you can with specification is critical to making sure all shareholders are on the same page.
WFI: How do printing operates fortify their adherence to a standard like G7 so it remains reliable even when production is running at over 100%?
Gorski: You can establish control, but you also have to maintain it. In the wide-format space, producers need to go through processes to ensure repeatability. It’s about maintaining all those steps on a routine basis. If you know the process is good, then you will hit to color specification. And even the latest and greatest technologies may be hit and miss unless process control is in place. Having a culture of process control helps ensure ROI on new technologies, while also meeting customer specs.
WFI: What resonates most with them: presenting the case of quality, of efficiency, or of profitability?
Gorski: I think it’s all of them. People struggle in a lot of places. There may be areas of efficiencies, but one shift may not be as productive as another. So, we try to present use cases so people can understand how it will relate back to them. Many companies get started with a single press, but if they want to grow and attract large clients and create deep customer connections, then process control becomes more “sticky.” It puts them in the upper echelon: they can do the work, and they can fix the situation if something goes wrong.
WFI: If there is one thing a majority of wide-format shops can do today to improve their color and prepress performance, what is it?
Gorski: Establishing a level of process control within their work will ensure their work is as good as they think it is. When an OEM sets up a new machine, there’s an assumption that it is operating as expected, and will continue to. Having an understanding that you’re going to maintain the machine as much as possible is something I see lacking in wide-format production. Establishing [maintenance] within a shop will help meet customer and in-house expectations. It’s also a matter of education. As we work with folks on standards, we see that education helps people understand what they’re missing so they can take their printing to the next level.
Jordan Gorski is executive director of Idealliance, which operates under the umbrella of PRINTING United Alliance. Idealliance serves the graphic communication industry by creating superior industry training and certification programs, developing professional standards and specifications, and redefining workflows for the entire print and packaging supply chain.