Re: What's with colo[u]r anyway? [wrap-up]

Subject: Re: What's with colo[u]r anyway? [wrap-up]
From: Kevin McLauchlan <kmclauchlan -at- chrysalis-its -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 5 Feb 2003 10:50:32 -0500


My father was a printer, so I know what goes on in
color offset.

However, the color separations and plate-making
and all that stuff are not an issue in color laser
printing. The ripping engine rips the supplied PDF
according to its favorite model, and the print
engine has its instructions, which it then repeats
until the job ends or the consumables run out.

The latter is the model that applies to the
documents that accompany my employer's products
(or it would if we could justify the cost...),
since we produce and sell in the dozens or the
hundreds (high-ish ticket specialty items), before
the product gets updated and the docs are revised.

It will be a while, yet, before we have any need
for offset print runs, except for some marketing
/b/u/m/p/f/ ... er... "collateral".

I noted that offset is a mature technology, so its
prices remain stable over time. Laser printing is
almost as recent as personal computers
(photocopiers came along not much earlier), so
I would have expected a precipitous decline in
costs, along with a commensurate increase in
quality and speed. I've seen the speed and
quality increases, but the price drop has been
less than expected and slower to come.

I suppose the issue is that it depends greatly
on consumables, and that the amortized cost of
the equipment is relatively small in comparison to
the ongoing paper and toner costs... which don't
seem to have dropped, despite the booming
markets for them. You normally expect a bit of
price jump when everybody suddenly discovers
a new thing, and then a predictable price erosion
as competing suppliers jump in with volume- and
process-related efficiency gains.

While I wait, I keep creating colo[u]r PDFs that
go onto our product CDs, but that get printed in
black'n'white. So I make it LOOK purty, but I
try to avoid having navigation or clarity depend
on colo[u]r cues.

Cheers,

/kevin

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