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Online innovation

Oct 1, 2006 12:00 AM

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Case Study

Hillside, IL-based Darwill used its Web tools to link a publisher in New Mexico with a designer in Michigan. The new magazine is printed using stochastic screening, and the quality is so good, some recipients are framing pages. When Doug Evilsizor, founder of SlickRock Publishing (Gallup, NM), sought to launch a high-quality, national publication for an SUV automobile brand, he knew it wouldn't be a drive down Easy Street.

Evilsizor had identified an opportunity to create a bimonthly magazine, Land Rover Lifestyle (LRL), dedicated to Land Rover owners, dealers and enthusiasts.

“As a first-time publisher with a limited budget, I required a printing company that could provide expert advice and value throughout the process to ease me through any bumps in the road,” says Evilsizor. “I also wanted a printer with the technology in place to link myself and my designer, who is based in Michigan.”

Evilsizor selected Darwill, a national printer and finisher. Founded in 1951, Darwill operates a 60,000-sq.-ft. facility and employs more than 140 people. It has been named “Sappi Printer of the Year” (Midwest Region) three times and has received four Premier Print Benny awards from Printing Industries of America (Alexandria, VA). Under the leadership of Janice Van Dyke, the company also is a member of the Women's Business Enterprise organization.

Darwill installed a Xerox iGen in 2005 and uses it for full-color, personalized direct marketing as well as on-demand brochures, booklets, postcards, newsletters and catalogs. Darwill also installed a Xerox Nuvera printer last year, and a MAN Roland R700 six-color hybrid UV printer with aqueous coater. The R700 features a double-size impression cylinder and touchless sheet transfer, printing on plastic, foils and specialty substrates.

The company's Web-based ordering technology automates distribution and fulfillment of direct mail, point-of-sale, kit assembly, ads and e-mail into a streamlined workflow.

Constantly committed to embracing forward-looking technological innovations, Darwill recommended its BreezeWay prepress production system to facilitate the magazine's development and employed an innovative printing process to produce a high-quality publication.

Making production a breeze
Darwill's BreezeWay system is a workflow solution that streamlines the prepress, proofing and printing processes. The key to BreezeWay is the combination of Darwill's job submission and proofing tools: Kodak's Synapse Prepare and InSite, respectively. The system reportedly accelerates production, reduces errors and maximizes operational efficiencies.

The process begins with Synapse Prepare, an automated preflight and file preparation workflow that generates PDF files. Prepare automates the PDF creation process by utilizing a set of predefined “rules” or directives that match to print specifications and can be proofed within minutes from any Web-connected computer.

Darwill enhanced Prepare's flexibility and built a specially designed, 12-point set of standardized preflight guidelines to “lock” job directives and match technical specifications. The system preflights production details such as bleeds, color specifications, page size and fonts, then alerts Darwill and the client if corrections must be made.

Once a PDF file is created, it can be uploaded to Darwill via Kodak Synapse InSite, and proofs can be viewed immediately. Customers can make annotations, collaborate on revisions with coworkers, organize project communications and approve work anywhere, any time.

“Synapse Insite enables our clients to track job submissions, change requests, and submit rejections and approvals, so customers have immediate access to, and full control of, print projects,” says Steve Van Poolen, director of business development for Darwill. “This communications system helps streamline the process of job submission, job-status tracking, online file collaboration and proof approval.”

For LRL, the designer created press-ready pdf files that met Darwill's specifications, then uploaded them to InSite. Next, Evilsizor and the designer received notification via e-mail of RIP trap single pages available for viewing online. From there, they could conduct and track revisions live. The online tool allowed for faster production and increased turnaround times, and facilitated collaborative efforts from entities in three different time zones — Evilsizor in New Mexico, the designer in Michigan and Darwill in Illinois.

“InSite was an extremely valuable tool during the design process,” Evilsizor says. “I could see exactly what was being outputted onto the page, feel confident with resolution of imagery, and see exactly how fine lines were being printed.”

Cutting-edge printing
To add optimum quality to the publication, Darwill recommended a printing style that is at the forefront of print technology today: 10-micron resolution Kodak Staccato stochastic (FM) screening. Equivalent to a 650 AM line screen, stochastic screening results in enhanced detail and dimensional effects, smoother gradations and tints, and consistent color control.

“Stochastic screening is gaining popularity for its ability to reproduce images with crisp, near-photographic quality, especially for high-quality brochures and catalogs,” says Van Poolen.

In stochastic printing, images are printed by very small dots spread randomly throughout the image area so that no pattern is discernible. Printing with stochastic screening offers the advantages of more detail, greater color accuracy and consistency, and less ink on the sheet. The technique is especially effective at eliminating moiré patterns, increasing tonal values, reproducing very small type and printing clean screens.

According to Evilsizor, the feedback he has received on the publication's look is proof of stochastic screening's impact. “Stochastic printing creates a one-of-a-kind, very top-end print quality,” he says. “The crispness of the images is apparent and it really sets LRL apart from other magazines.”

Rave reviews
Darwill's advanced processes and innovations helped Evilsizor produce a high-quality magazine on time and in an efficient manner. The entire project, from the beginning to the debut issue launch, took only nine months.

“From day one, I was extremely impressed with the staff Darwill has in place, their experience and longevity, and the company's technological capabilities, all of which enabled me to put out a near-perfect first issue,” Evilsizor says. The first two issues reportedly received rave reviews. “The reception thus far has been extremely favorable, and I've heard of some subscribers who have been so impressed by the photographic quality of LRL that they've framed printed pages,” Evilsizor adds.