Pre-media vs Pre-press

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Righto, so the weekend is over, the sky is cloudy and the temperature is dropping here in the UK! So to start the week off, I can report that we had a mass of hits on the blog over the weekend and whilst noticing that our Pre-media on Wikipedia page had several hits I headed over to Wikipedia to see if anyone had contributed to the page…. To my amazement someone had! But they’d gone in and redirected the page to prepress…. PREPRESS!! Come on, that is so far from Pre-media now with companies all over the world redefining their service offerings to be more Pre-media based rather than prepress based. I mean let’s just break down the words for a start….

PRE a prefix occurring originally in loanwords from Latin, where it meant “before”

So PRESS would indicate the destination to be a printing press of sorts, or really any device that makes paper dirty.

And MEDIA would indicate any media channel available which could include print.

Media (communication), tools used to store and deliver information or data

As one of our Twitter followers put it, “Perhaps a bit too simplified but: Premedia is a bigger concept than Prepress since it concerns any output or media – not just print.” (thanks jgradvall)

Anyway, if my google alerts are anything to go by, more and more companies & individuals are taking an interest in Pre-media and converting themselves to provide a more diverse service-based offering. Just this weekend I received 5 alerts from companies all over the globe with ‘Pre-media’ in there somewhere…. Maybe any or all of those companies could join the discussions to open up and define what Pre-media means to the masses.

Author: Gary George

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

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9 Responses to “Pre-media vs Pre-press”

  1. Tweets that mention Pre-media vs Pre-press « Tunicca Pre-Media Blog -- Topsy.com Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Markzware, Tunicca Ltd. Tunicca Ltd said: RT @tweetmeme Pre-media vs Pre-press « Tunicca Pre-Media Blog http://bit.ly/4vGiVu […]

  2. Rick Says:

    I started noticing the word Pre-Media popping up about 10 years ago; to my reckoning it came about when my Customers (publishers and catalogers at the time) started asking for PDF files to accompany printed material so they could place on CD’s to accompany hard copy, then later to post to websites; this was all well before blazing fast internet/CPU speeds, and interactive web designer software. There were all sorts of issues: resolution, transparencies, etc. (you’ll remember); Ten years ago, the web designers were in school watching “Saved by the Bell”; I thought people using the term Pre-Media then were ahead of the curve trying to force a “techie” tag to their organization that wasn’t warranted or valid. Well, the future is now, and it makes all the sense in the world; not everyone “needs” to be Pre-Media, unless they feel it gives them an edge, but we all need to recognize that files have multi-channel capabilities, and most at some point in the future, will NEVER be separated. I’d say PreMedia is now a perfect term to use – 10 years ago, it was a bit pretentious… but that’s me? Don’t forget digital printing; more selective; wide format – different, varied substrate – that is not going away. and it will get “paper dirty”; furthermore, there is a lot of iron out there still being paid off, so don’t sell the ink on paper thing short just yet… raise your hand when you buy your Kindle!

    • tele2002 Says:

      Hi Rick, yes all those years back when we were still on dial-up and DVD was only really being test marketed in the US, but pre-media became to some forward thinkers the succession of multi-media, but for the majority of content consumers their was really only a few channels, TV and Print being the prodominant ones. Around the end of the 90’s was when Flash started to become something useful for the web and more people started to get into self publishing, yet content streams for brand owners or the marketeers at the brand owners still hadn’t cottoned on to multi channel marketing, I mean why would they have, their mass market watched TV or read published material.
      Today though as more brands combine their internal departments, look for cost savings and need to reach the new age of internet and mobile junkies the pre-press & print companies have transition themselves to be able to service their clients in the way their clients need, the ability and need to reuse assets and content across multiple channels has never been greater with the investment in content and digital asset management systems on a steep increase.
      I’m sure over the next 6 months I will see my google alerts on pre-media double if not triple as more companies rebrand themselves.

  3. mdibello Says:

    In the print world, pre-media was a term used to separate the pre-media function with pre-press. To this day customers still send files for print that are not in the correct format (PMS colors or CMYK) and the supporting documents and fonts were rarely collected correctly. Thus Pre-Media would troubleshoot the supplied files and work with the customer to obtain what we needed to go to pre-press. This continues to this day for many reasons but one that has always irritated me is the fact companies are so hungry for work that they accept these files and make the best of what they are provided instead of educating the customers on the correct format’s and resolution needed to provide them with the quality they demand and deserve.

    • tele2002 Says:

      Hi Mary, thanks for your input, you have actually bought up 2 points here, the divide between pre-press & pre-media department, in the UK the majority of fixes you have described would be processed through the pre-press department rather than sending them out to another department, in fact a lot of printers are in the midst of diversifying their service offerings to include pre-media. The the main point you have here is the level of education that is required to produce printable work, it seems that anyone can design using the applications available to them and what’s more they don’t need to be very proficient in them to earn an honest living, but to produce files that can be used in the output channel required does seem to be missed in the employment requirements of many companies. Just the other week I was asked to confirm to a printer the issues with Quark made PDF’s that would not rip through their Prinergy system, the designer argued that Quark makes PDF’s and thus it is a problem with the Rip this printer was using…. Regardless what the printer told the designer they would not accept, nor would they research the issue until they were provided a link to information about a well know industry fact. (something Quark has addressed in their latest version I must add)
      The question is how do we enforce a minimum set of requirements of education on an industry that has little care for where their work goes or how it is produced (sorry bit of a broad brush stroke there!)

      Ideas on a postcard please….

  4. mdibello Says:

    I agree, the premedia of the past has been incorporated into prepress here as well. Who can afford to have 2 departments doing similar functions!
    As for Education. We have several different sources. Those creating within Microsoft apps, those using adobe apps but need more direction to create the appropriate files and then there are the Web Designers who think 72 dpi works for everything. There are several others but these are the most common.
    For those creating in microsoft apps, we either recreate the files or create pdf’s and what you provide is what you get. (frustrating)
    For those creating in Adobe apps, the only thing I have found that has worked is to build a relationship with the customer so that they contact you at the beginning of their project. Meet with the design team and project manager to better understand their vision of the end product and explain to them what will be needed to accomplish their vision. This has opened communication and built stronger business relationships. But it is not a quick fix.
    For the Web Designer, well, they seem to be the most difficult students when it comes to the Print World. Most are self taught and very resistant.

  5. Murray Oles Says:

    Premedia is a term coined for the investment community in the mid 90’s. The internet was becoming the new investment rage, and prepress companies and printers wanted to distance them selves from the legacy connotations of “press”.

    I can remember the board room discussions over the IPO wording of the BigFlower Press offering. Yes, it refers to something larger than prepress, but mostly it is a word that was created to attract the investor.

    From my perspective it is a word that refers to the workflow that takes place upstream from the publishing act and after the concept is formulated.

  6. Martin Weberg Says:

    Then, we have preprint. Preparing documents for digital printing.

  7. SH Says:

    We’ve all heard it: “prepress is dead”.
    I’m lucky to have started in prepress and worked my way into web design and “premedia”.

    The press still exists and, I believe, will for some time. However, the shift is well on-its-way. We need to be green and everything needs to be instantaneous.

    We’ve already found the answer to that, but as humans we still need to transition.
    My point is that it’s all media…Now. Our present was the hypothetical future.
    Media is media. A way to inform, advertise, communicate no matter what the method.

    It’s the method(s) we’re talking about. And yes, we still need the “before”, the “pre”, for those not familiar with or interested in the process of preparing documents for the rest of the world.

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