The 2017 archive

These comments and polls appeared on the home page of during 2017. A separate page covers the 2017 prepress news.


Prepress Pete is tweeting

Friday flashback: Stop the presses! There is war! No… wait! Start the presses! –


Prepress Pete is tweeting

Friday flashback: the guy in the back is calling to ask if the machine can also be used to print stuff – Xerox 914 plain paper copier

Prepress Pete is tweeting

Friday flashback: Two birthdays in a row, 1987 really was a fruitful year –

QuarkXpress 1.0 splash screen

Not bad for an industry that some consider ‘dead’

Every day 520 million newspapers are read worldwide.

Prepress Pete is tweeting

Friday flashback: I’m moving to San Seriffe to marry the daughter of Pierre Myriad –

San Seriffe

Font poems

I’ve started adding examples of typefaces to pages. First up are the pages on 1966, 1977Arial and Caslon.

Prepress Pete is tweeting

Friday flashback: One day my boss had me trained on a Repromaster 2200 to learn ‘the old ways’ –

Agfa-Gevaert Repromaster repro camera


Prepress Pete is tweeting

Friday flashback: In those days, men were men and presses were made of German metal –

Heidelberger Zylinder 54x72 cm offset press

Prepress Pete is tweeting

Friday flashback: David Pelham creates the iconic book cover for ‘A Clockwork Orange’ –

David Pelham book cover

The phototypesetting era

I’ve lately gotten interested in phototypesetting – the typesetting systems from the 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s. Expect some more updates of the history of prepress pages about that era.

Compugraphic Compuwriter II

Illustrator and QuarkXpress turn 30

Earlier this month Adobe Illustrator turned 30. Boing Boing posted links to three videos about the history of Illustrator. It is funny that most of the comments on the article are from people who still have fond memories of FreeHand, its main competitor for so many years.

QuarkXpress 1.0 splash screen

QuarkXpress also celebrates its 30th birthday. The above 1.0 splash screen is briefly visible on the anniversary page and I’ve also added it to the 1987 prepress history page.

Prepress Pete is tweeting

Friday flashback: Thou shalt commit adultery! –

Wicked Bible

Prepress Pete is tweeting

Friday flashback: when it comes to I do not mind stereotypes –

paper stereotype

Font versus typeface

The type snob is an informative article about typography. It focuses on web design but a lot of the recommendations apply to print design as well.

font versus typeface


Prepress Pete is tweeting

Friday flashback: The Macintosh IIfx, the best computer I ever worked with. Period. –

Apple Macintosh IIfx

The poll: photo calendars

Each year my employer creates a beautiful calendar, using a variety of inks, substrates and printing techniques. That limited edition is popular with customers but I wonder how many people still value printed calendars at home. That is why the new poll to the right asks if you still use one at home.

The previous poll asked visitors which version of Acrobat they use.

Prepress Pete is tweeting

Friday flashback: Louis Braille publishes his alphabet for the blind in 1829 –



Plantin-Moretus revisited

Last week I spent an afternoon taking pictures in the Plantin-Moretus museum.
Press room at Plantin-Moretus

Get your cards here

It is kind of fascinating that US citizens can ask their president to sent them a greeting card because of an upcoming birthday, wedding, retirement or other special event. You just have to fill in a form on the White House website. Since that site is currently being reworked, the page is temporarily offline. What you cannot ask, though, is the Christmas card that US presidents since Calvin Coolidge in 1927 send to their staff and supporters. Below is the 2013 card of president Obama.

President Obama Christmas card 2013

February 2017

Graphic Design and Print Production Fundamentals

Who can resist a freebie? While working on a page about imposition I accidentally stumbled upon a free book about graphic design and print production. You can download the ebook version or read it online. It seems like a decent introduction but I haven’t read much yet, so you will have to find out yourself.

book on graphic design print production fundamentals

Prepress Pete is tweeting

Friday flashback: crude spot colors in funny penny prints –

A 19th century penny print of Jan De Wasscher

Prepress Pete is tweeting

Friday flashback: using Comic Sans in Photoshop 3.0 for the labels of my ZIP disks –
Comic Sans

PDF, what is it FOR?

Computerphile is one of my favorite YouTube channels, especially when printing and prepress related topics are covered. The video below has some nice PDF-related anecdotes in it but also discusses why the file format was developed in the first place.

Prepress Pete is tweeting

Friday flashback: Adobe kills FreeHand & the Scots get a fancy banknote –
Scotland 50 pound note

PDF 2.0

This summer the PDF 2.0 specifications will be released. For a standard that has been in the works for eight years, the list of new features that are relevant for prepress operators is fairly limited. A short overview can be found on the PDF versions page.

Keep in mind that specifications are just a starting point. It will take software vendors at least another year before applications , RIPs and workflows properly support the standard. Once the tools exist, users will have to go through a learning curve to make use of the new functions.

There are a few resources on the web that provide more information on PDF 2.0. I like the series of articles done by Martin Bailey on the Global Graphics blog. pdfLib published a highly technical 4-page overview. A few of the specs get discussed in this What-They-Think interview with Mark Lewiecki, Senior Product Manager at Adobe.

Discussing PDF 2.0 with Adobe

Emoji and print

You may find them ridiculous but since emoji characters are part of the Unicode standard, fonts increasingly support these icons. I was curious how many of the thousands of icons somehow relate to the printing industry. There is obviously a printer icon but also a nice range of print products. Stationery, newspapers, books, currency or maps: they are all there. Below you see the Apple version.

print products icons

I also looked for icons that depict the trade. At first, I could not find any but then it hit me: they are hidden in plain sight! The committee that decides on these emojis did take our business serious and they provided emojis for both file delivery and prepress!

prepress icon

January 2017

Old prints

I like old prints, such as photochroms, so it was a pleasant surprise to stumble across the card below. The ‘Actien Gesellschaft für Anilin-Fabrikation’ will celebrate its 150’th birthday next year. In case the name doesn’t ring a bell: you might know the company by its abbreviated name, Agfa.

Agfa photochrome print

Best wishes for the new year

Keep those presses busy! While they are at it, take your time to have a look at what happened in 2016.

Diorama from the Boston public library

<2016 – 2018>

22 August 2017

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