Our white paper has changed
prepress 20 years ago

On March 13th, 1998 the white paper «PDF for Prepress» was published. This white paper was created by a dozen prepress experts from Germany and Switzerland which have met to discuss the current status of PDF for prepress production:

In this white paper a series of shortcomings and limitations (e.g. no bleed), workflow problems (e.g. fonts) and desirable functionality (e.g. color separations) which at that time were the reasons that PDF could not be used as universal data format for all prepress data. The white paper did not only mention the current situation but also described the goals.


Olaf Drümmer (Callas Software) and myself had the opportunity to talk about this white paper in our presentations at the Seybold Seminars which took place on March 17 – 19, 1998 in Boston:

We got a lot of positive feedback from the industry and some vendors were encouraged to develop solutions for the topics mentioned in the white paper.

PDF 1.3 and Acrobat 4.0 as well as some plug-ins from third parties (Lantana CrackerJack, Callas pdfOutput Pro, Quite A Box of Tricks) solved many of the issues.

One year later I could report about the progress in my presentation at the PDF Day of Seybold Seminars 1999 in Boston:

Our white paper has contributed substantially that PDF could be used as universal data format for all digital prepress data. Eventually this allowed the development of the PDF/X standards by the ISO.

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