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Errors in digital files can be extremely time-consuming and expensive. At best, they interrupt the workflow while the client is contacted, the problem is explained, and corrections are made. At worst, the errors are output intact (so to speak) and the job might need to be thrown away and reprinted. Catching potential problems early in the process — before a file is sent to an imagesetter or printer — is an invaluable part of a smooth and profitable workflow.
Part 1 of 3:
Understanding Job Jackets
QuarkXPress 7 incorporates groundbreaking new technology that will help to solve many of these production problems — before the file ever leaves the designer's desktop. The new Job Jackets utility attaches dynamic design assets and production information directly to a layout file, enables design-level preflighting within QuarkXPress, and helps the production workflow to keep flowing.
In a conventional workflow, a job jacket is a folder, bag, or other physical container that is used to keep together all of the necessary bits and pieces of a design or printing job. Most job jackets include one or more job tickets, which describe the characteristics and requirements of the job being created or output.
A job ticket tells the designer what she is going to create — size and number of pages, number and type of colors, and other relevant information. A job ticket tells the designer, for example, that a particular layout is going to be printed in six-color including two specific Pantone® colors that are used in the client's logo.
To complete the exercises in this file, you should download the resource files from www.againsttheclock.com/downloads. The resource file archive includes the ATC fonts (for both Macintosh and Windows), which you should install and activate before completing these exercises.
The same type of information is also valuable for a printer or prepress operator. If, for example, a job comes into the shop with nine pages but the job ticket specifies only eight, you already know there is a problem.
QuarkXPress 7 digital Job Jackets technology lets you build job jacket and ticket information directly into a layout. The same information that would be written down on a physical job ticket can be attached to a QuarkXPress file so that nothing is lost as a job moves from one place to another.
Job jackets can be intimidating at first, if for no other reason than the sheer volume of options. The potential benefits, however, justify the learning curve if layouts can move through prepress and production smoothly, without the usual need to stop and fix errors.
To help make it easier to understand and apply QuarkXPress Job Jackets technology, we will first explain the different elements of a job jacket, then show you how those elements are interrelated. Understanding those two issues will make it far easier to effectively create and manage QuarkXPress Job Jackets to eliminate potential problems in the production workflow.
Before we explain how to apply job jackets in a QuarkXPress file, you need to first understand the basic hierarchy involved, the different types of resources that can be defined, and the interactions between those different resources.
At its most basic level, a job jacket is a container. It contains resources, as well as one or more ticket templates. The ticket template is also a container, which contains resources as well as one or more layout descriptions.
As you will see in the next section, the different elements of a job jacket and ticket are relatively straightforward individually. The technology becomes more confusing, however, when you begin to consider how those different resources relate to each other.
The Elements of a Job Jacket
A job jacket contains a number of resources that will be available to the tickets in the jacket (and thus to the projects and layouts attached to those tickets). Job jacket resources can be broken into four categories:
- Application-level resources control output and color management; these are called by, but not embedded into, the job jacket.
- Jacket-level resources include information about the overall job.
- Project-level resources apply to all layouts in a project (assets such as colors and style sheets exist for any layout within the project file).
- Layout-level resources apply only to a specific layout; examples include page size or the actual output method that will be used (e.g., you might print one layout and export another in the same project as PDF).
Application-level resources control output and color management; these resources are called by, but not embedded into, the job jacket.
- Source Setups contain profile information about the devices used to capture or create color in a job.
- Output Setups contain profile information about the output device that will be used to output a job.
- Output Styles contain specific settings, including the PPD, that will be used to print or export a file.
Application-level resources must be imported into a job jacket from the application. In other words, these elements must already be defined before they can be called into and applied in a job jacket.
Information (Jacket-Level) Resources
Jacket-level resources contain information that is specific to the job you're building; this information is defined directly within the Job Jackets Manager (explained later in this chapter).
You can (and should) add contact information of anyone involved in the job, potentially including the original client, designer, art director, print salesperson, prepress operator, customer service rep, or anyone else who might need to be contacted as a job moves through different stages of production.
©2007 Against the Clock. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.