March 29, 2013


GET READY: GWG can help with PDF/X-4, brand colors and cross media

While it seems like only yesterday that it was founded, the Ghent Workgroup (GWG) just celebrated its 10th anniversary. But the big news is that we also just released the new GWG2012 specifications.


PDF/X-4 is going to be the new standard for the industry. So functionality such as transparency and layers needed to be addressed. With all of the many changes, and the opportunities that the latest design tools have brought to the market, it was very important to create specifications and best practices that print providers can reliably use to ensure their production. The new specification provides a set of preflight checks and best practice guidelines.


Implementations of the specifications by companies such as Enfocus, Adobe and Callas have already been released and are available in the latest versions of Adobe Acrobat XI Pro, PitStop Pro 11 and PitStop Server 11, callas pdfToolbox 6 and callas pdfToolbox Server 6.


We are also about to release the new GWG 2012 Packaging Specification that finally addresses a number of important packaging requirements through the use of layers. In PDF, these are actually called Optional Content Groups (OCG). While OCGs can be used for different languages, brand extensions, etc., the storing of non-print contours, like die outlines, embossing, Braille, and conditional inks, are crucial requirements of the packaging process.

We are also introducing the method of including CxF data into the PDF. This will allow vendors to introduce spectral color values into a PDF file to achieve specific brand colors on different substrates and proof them, as well. Currently, we are working with vendors to get this implemented into their production products.


We are working on a specification for cross-media file types and best practices. We executed an international survey, and due to the overwhelming demand of the industry as a whole, and our long history in working with PDF, we chose the PDF format as our first file format to work on. We have done extensive testing of mobile operating systems and hardware to find and address the issues as a part of this process. We expect to release the first set of cross-media specifications within the next six months.


In addition to all of this, we have been working on updating our GWG Output Suite so end users and vendors can test their solutions and production workflows. We expect to release V4 before the end of this year or early 2013. It will address many of the issues that PDF/X-4 has introduced into design and production workflows.

David Zwang is the principal of Zwang & Co. as well as the chairman of the Ghent Workgroup. 

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