A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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Becoming a "Business Communications Service Provider"

Print service providers have historically been defined by output technology such as commercial color, sheet-fed, web offset and large-format. These print technologies by themselves can be easily commoditized. As the market begins to migrate to a digital infrastructure, Print on Demand – or POD – represents something far more interesting and important than technology for technology’s sake. POD hardware and software offer the potential for new ways to communicate business information. The primary focus of successful users of POD technology is building a services portfolio and positioning their companies to provide 'business communications solutions and services.' These users are looking at digital printing and the associated services as a way to decommoditize printing and increase both profitability and customer loyalty.

Pellow, Barbara A. Digital Output (2004). Design>Document Design>Prepress>Printing


Beginning With The End: Understanding Printing

Where does a typical desktop publishing project begin? Dumb question? Perhaps not. For all practical purposes, the information gathering process starts at the end, with the printing process. If you're new to desktop publishing, this article will explain some of the technical aspects of design you may not have considered. If you're an old pro, it might remind you of some of the production steps we (I include myself here) sometimes forget.

Dornbos, Jim. Ideabook.com (2001). Design>Publishing>Prepress>Printing


Bindings for Printed Manuals

For practical purposes, a printed document needs to stay flat on a desk. This limits the binding that you can use. The basic options are explained here.

TechScribe (2007). Articles>Documentation>Finishing>Printing


Book Layout, PDF Creation, Preparing Documents for Press

This is a 10 hour, 5 week course taught one-on-one or in a small group (2-5 people) that is an introduction to the Adobe InDesign application. In the course we will cover the fundamentals of designing rich documents, including books, pamphlets, and posters.

Newman, Rob. University of California San Diego (2004). Academic>Courses>Document Design>Printing


Booklet Publishing

Write a book this afternoon. Sound preposterous? To the contrary--you can create an information-packed, 16-page booklet using a single sheet of paper in little more time than it takes to type the text. Use it to market your product or service, to tell the story of your organization or to offer tips and how-to information to prospects and clients. Print five or ten copies directly from your laser printer or take your master artwork to a commercial printer and have it reproduced by the thousands. No matter how you cut, fold and staple it, this book is proof-positive that big things do come in small packages.

Green, Chuck. Ideabook.com (1999). Design>Document Design>Prepress>Printing


Computer to Plate Resources

A collection of dozens of links to computer-to-plate digital prepress resources online.

IPA. Resources>Directories>Prepress>Printing


The Digital Democratization

The latest digital copier-printers provide enhanced digital printing functionality, enabling users to do more than ever.

Miley, Michael. PennWell (2004). Design>Publishing>Prepress>Printing


Digital Printing - Making the Right Moves

The number of printing companies that can call themselves digital printers jumps to many thousands in the United States alone. If you've got a Digital Press, or a Direct Imaging Press, or utilize Computer to Plate technology to 'feed' your conventional presses, you're a Digital Printer!

Chiricuzio, Mike. On Demand Journal (2004). Design>Publishing>Prepress>Printing


Digital Printing for Software Manuals

Digital printing technology ('print on demand') is excellent for producing printed software documentation.

TechScribe (2010). Articles>Documentation>Prepress>Printing


Digital Workflow: Managing the Process Electronically   (peer-reviewed)

Between the invention of the printing press and that of the computer, developments in printing and publishing technology occurred in small increments over long periods of time. In those intervening centuries, the process of preparing manuscripts for publication remained fairly static. In the last half-century, however, the pace of change in printing and publishing technology has become dynamic. Now changes in technology come about in a matter of years, sometimes even months. And with those changes, the steps in the process of publication may now be controlled, tracked, and subsumed into one continuous electronic system often called digital workflow.

Beebe, Linda and Barbara Meyers. Journal of Electronic Publishing (2000). Design>Knowledge Management>Prepress>Printing


From Pen to Print: The New Visual Landscape of Professional Communication    (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Visual design has played an important role in the historical development of professional communication. The technology of laser printing has reestablished the importance of visual language in functional communication, transforming contemporary document design and redefining its relation to the traditions of handwritten, typewritten, and printed text. During this period of transition, three factors will shape the new visual language: (a) the development of a visual rhetoric that represents design as an integral part of the message rather than merely as external "dress," (b) the rediscovery of aesthetics as a legitimate factor in text design, and (c) the use of empirical research--particularly context-specific research--to guide the document design process.

Kostelnick, Charles. Journal of Business and Technical Communication (1994). Articles>Document Design>Visual Rhetoric>Printing


High-Resolution Image Printing

You probably already know how to use media-specific CSS to provide a suitable layout for the printed page. But how great would it be to be able to go further and provide a better print alternative through the use of specific high-resolution images specifically for print? Awesome? Here’s how.

Howard, Ross. List Apart, A (2005). Design>Web Design>CSS>Printing


How Does Commerical Offset Printing Differ from Desktop Printing?

The three primary differences in offset printing and desktop printing (such as inkjet and laser) are the colors of ink and the way the ink is placed on the paper as well as the type of machinery used to accomplish the task.

Howard Bear, Jacci. About.com (2007). Articles>Document Design>Prepress>Printing


How Offset Printing Works

Printing is a fascinating process involving huge high-speed machines, 2,000-pound rolls of paper, computers, metal plates, rubber blankets and sharp knives.

Mine, Mark. How Stuff Works (2002). Articles>Publishing>Prepress>Printing


Improving Link Display for Print

It seemed my zeal for linkage had come into conflict with my desire to improve print usability.

Gustafson, Aaron. List Apart, A (2005). Design>Document Design>CSS>Printing


JDF: The Evolving Standard

The JDF standard is expected to revolutionize the printing industry. It's come a long way, but there still is work to be done.

Bury, Scott. PennWell (2004). Design>Publishing>Standards>Printing


Large Format Printing Resources

A collection of dozens of links to online resources for large-format printing, including signatures.

IPA. Resources>Directories>Prepress>Printing


Letterpress in the Digital Age

Stern and Faye combine fine letterpress printing and an eclectic sense of fun to produce traditional printing that could only be done today.

Berry, John D. Creative Pro. Design>Typography>Prepress>Printing


On Demand Journal

A daily on-line resource for digital document management.

On Demand Journal (2004). Journals>Publishing>Prepress>Printing


Polyester Plates Earn a Second Look

Yes, the 'poor man's CTP' still suffers from some early shortcomings, but four-color work on four-up equipment is becoming a short-run mainstay.

Toth, Debora. Graphic Arts Monthly (2004). Design>Publishing>Prepress>Printing


Practical Applications of Print Design to Promote Visual Understanding   (PDF)

Print design is a task facing many technical communicators. Practical understanding of the principles of design is necessary for quality print design products, but even this may not be adequate for producing print documents that users can quickly understand. Pairing the principles of print design with knowledge of visual communication theory will aid technical communicators as they develop print materials that are not only well designed, but easy for audiences to understand. This paper will explain both the principles of print design and basic applications of visual communication theory to provide a knowledge base on which successful print documents can be built.

Codone, Susan K. STC Proceedings (2005). Design>Document Design>Prepress>Printing


Print to Preview

Going from the browser to the printer has always been a bit of a guessing game. In this article, Pete McVicar shows us a method for providing users with a reliable print preview.

McVicar, Pete. List Apart, A (2006). Design>Web Design>CSS>Printing


Printer Versus Press: How and Where to Print Your Projects

How, you ask yourself, would someone who is unfamiliar with printing navigate their way through the mine field of contemporary offset printing?

Green, Chuck. Ideabook.com (2005). Articles>Publishing>Prepress>Printing


Printers' Tips to Desktop Publishers

This collection is a compilation of tips from many sources. As a sales rep for a commercial printer (Altman Printing Company), I have personally experienced most of these situations. If I had had something like this to give to each of my clients in the beginning, it sure would have made everyone's life a little easier!! Some of the tips below should be added to the back of your DTP Bible! If you don't follow some basic rules -- sooner or later you will realize: just because it comes up on your screen real pretty, and it prints to your laser printer just fine --- doesn't always mean that it is going to output correctly from a high-resolution imagesetter or print the same way!!

Foster, Julian A., Jr. Teleplex. Design>Publishing>Document Design>Printing


Printing a Book with CSS: Boom!

You like microformats? We'll give you some freakin' microformats. CSS luminaries Hakon Wium Lie and Bert Bos introduce the boom! microformat and show you how to make book the easy way.

Bos, Bert and Hakon Wium Lie. List Apart, A (2005). Design>Web Design>CSS>Printing



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