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PDF workflow for package printing

What is PDF, and is a PDF workflow practical for package printing?

PDF stands for Portable Document Format. It was developed by Adobe to standardize the communications of graphic designs through the production process.

The answer to the second part of the question--like many questions of this type --is Yes and No. The use of PDF workflows depends significantly on those using and implementing them.

Commercial printing arenas have used PDF workflows very successfully for the past few years. Success is due in part to the commonality of CMYK printing and regular printing formats. In packaging, however, there is a heavy use of non-CMYK process printing and special colors on many irregular printing formats (e.g., folding cartons, flexible pouches, and special die-cut labels). While much has been done to facilitate these packaging issues, a packaging PDF workflow is full of "workarounds".

This is not to say that a full PDF workflow cannot be implemented in packaging (many companies have done it); it simply means that a high level of management is required to make it effective. Look for PDF workflows to become more robust and common in the packaging graphic process within the next few years.

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