Bright prepress operators

Customers make stupid mistakes. Management totally screws up… but prepress folk also have occasional ‘weak moments’. Here are some of those less memorable events. If you have an interesting anecdote or joke about silly designers, clueless sales reps, ignorant managers or brain-dead printers, add it using the Comments function.

We have a guy where I work that is… legendary. We have three presses. We refer to one of them as “Conventional” and two of them as “UV” – “UV” being the lights that cure the inks. This CSR picks up a Pantone swatch book and explains to our ink guy that the U and C on the swatches refer to which press the inks match to.


I typeset a multilingual brochure for my employer in 6 languages, using Autologic equipment. After every language was proofread, we got a new set of Arabic fonts. I was asked to change the font for the name of our establishment, globally, using the new font – off it went to press. It so happened that the new Modern Arabic fonts were missing a Hard G (the traditional Arabic (which I don’t speak) doesn’t have a hard G) and Alif was substituted, rendering the meaning of my company’s name to “ugly press”. My employer accused me of doing this intentionally.


In 1995 our ad agency installed Macs throughout. I was passing the Creative Director’s office where I heard him shouting ‘OPEN FILE, OPEN FILE DAMNIT!’. He was holding the mouse like a microphone and shouting into it.


Remember the Mac II? It had room for two disk drives. One night, the cleaning lady accidently pushed on the plate covering the second unused drive bay. The cover plate fell on the motherboard inside the computer. A couple of weeks later, an operator decided to format some diskettes and accidently inserts the disk in the empty hole. The disk simply fell on the motherboard as well. The operator waited for a while and then decided to insert another disk and another one and another one…. Finally he decided to call us. He claimed his Mac had ‘eaten’ an entire box of disks!


Why do people start working in prepress?
“I got into prepress because I heard of the strippers.”
“I got into prepress because I had heard that they could always use dingbats and dummies.”
“I got into prepress because I had heard that they could always use dingbats and dummies AND creeps in the gutter…”


Here is the ultimate FAQ for sales reps.

Why are your SWOP standards proofs so much cheaper than others?
Our paper is made of recycled Chinese newspapers and apple cores and we don’t use any ink.

How does your SWOP standard proofs compare to Integris proofs?
They don’t compare. We’re that much better. Creo originally came to us and asked how come our proofs are so awesome they smell like fresh apple pie. They begged us for our secrets and even tried to steal them. We printed a proof for them so awesome they never bothered us again. It was Fermat’s Last Theorem, btw.

Why should I proof with you instead of my commercial printer?
Because our printers are gold plated and have 20″ rims. They can also print all colors of the visible spectrum as well as the entire electromagnetic spectrum. Our printers can even print sound and smells. Commercial printers can barely print anything by comparison.

How quickly can I expect my proofs back?
Once you hit submit and your payment clears, look under your seat. It is already there. Our printers can generate Morris-Thorne wormholes and send your print-outs to you at superluminal speeds. Also, an email is sent once the print-outs are shipped with a FedEx tracking number. However, the packages usually ship faster than the email.


We used to get pressroom new hires coming up asking for dots. We’d ask “hilite or shadow?” and so on back and forth until we’d finally hand them a sealed can with plate punch waste in it. We’d say “Don’t open it in the light!”


Looking for more fun stories? Check out this thread or head over to Printplanet where Gordon Pritchard regularly posts his hilarious RE:Print cartoons.

Preflight Poker

28 November 2015

2 responses to “Bright prepress operators”

  1. Allan Bardon says:

    re·touch·er (rē tuc̸h′; for n., also rē′tuc̸h′). transitive verb

    To have already been to prison once already for;

    A re-offender

  2. subhash r. pingle says:

    i want job in prepree as ctp operator.

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