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FLEXO Magazine : August 2009
Lyon, France, to define its master PDF packaging template to meet PDF Plus specifications. The packaging industry has very precise PDF requirements and the GWG Packaging Specifications are the result of collaboration between leading packaging specialist organizations around the world. The result is a set of best practice guidelines for packaging that ensure reliable and consistent PDF file exchange between all the parties involved in the often complicated workflow from design through output. All features are embedded and, once defined, provide settings and rules that ensure consistent fonts, color space and image resolution, etc. Square has worked closely with the GWG to develop and test the packaging specifications; so was ideally placed to support L’Oreal on this project. The L’OreaL PrOfiLe The GWG Packaging Specifications are based on the PDF/X-1a format but allow some exceptions important to packaging applications, such as live transparency and multiple layers. The L’Oreal profile includes two modifications: low resolution images are possible and external references have been allowed to replace them with high resolution files when required. L’Oreal also presets which layers of the packaging file can be viewed, e.g. a cut version of the final box layout for the marketing department; a no-image view and a fulllayer view. “It is very useful to be able to view the embossing layer in position on the layout,” said Philippe. “Non-printed layers such as this are then simply discarded before printing.” The PiLOT PrOjecT L’Oreal’s new PDF Plus specifications were piloted on a specific project: the launch of the new Garnier HerbaShine hair color range, and the benefits were significant on many levels throughout the production supply chain. The HerbaShine range features 19 hair shades and was produced in 15 languages, resulting in 285 different boxes. “The launch of a new haircare product takes a huge amount of work to prepare the packaging, and in this case we were working with a challenging six-month deadline,” said Philippe. “We developed a dedicated PDF Plus template with tight specifications and provided all the countries and agencies with the same file with low-res graphics, to which all they had to do was add translated text.” Embedded instruc- tions within the file tell the agency what freedom they have to localize and what areas are locked (see Figure 1). Finally, at the print site, the PDF files were automatically integrated with highres images, redundant layers (e.g. embossing) were removed, and the job was trapped and imposed, ready for printing. easier changes Packaging design is never straightfor- ward, and the HerbaShine box changed several times in terms of dimensions, content formula and logos. “By using PDF Plus we were able to make these changes once, centrally and quickly, without affecting the schedule,” said Philippe. “The final files were ready on time (and) ready for the launch date.” L’Oreal’s marketing department was quickly convinced that the new procedure brought important benefits. The project was completed on time and quality levels were consistent across all ranges, in all languages produced. “We are now looking at integrating high-res image elements within packaging files earlier on in the process, and investigating the benefits of applying the new specifications to our label production needs,” commented Philippe. www. f l e x o g r a p h y. o r g significanT gains, in DeTaiL Ultimately, a complex workflow was streamlined, duplication was avoided, errors minimized and time to market was reduced. “Plus, because we split prepress away from printers, we now have the freedom to change printers quickly if we need to, or appoint a new printer quickly in a new region. It means we can work more easily with a greater number of suppliers which gives our buying department, which was very involved in this project, more choice and flexibility,” said Philippe. “Square and the Ghent Workgroup provided us with the PDF file specification expertise, advice and guidance we needed, and the results have had an impact across many aspects of the business, not just in production.” Square CEO Roland Donzelle noted, “GWG Packaging Specifications benefit everyone in the supply chain. As prepress suppliers it gives us a safe standard to work with, while L’Oreal can depend on a secure and streamlined workflow that brings quality products to market swiftly and efficiently.” The Ghent Workgroup Packaging Specifications are downloadable for free from www.gwg.org. n Augus t 20 0 9 F LEXO 1 9