Ghent, Belgium, July 24, 2007 - The Ghent Workgroup (GWG) has become one of the world's most respected graphic arts best practice organizations, the group says on the occasion of its fifth anniversary. Chairperson David Zwang attributes the international association's viability and solid credibility to the work of the group's 45 members, all recognized as technological leaders and experts, and contributing their time and efforts on a completely voluntary basis.
"The GWG deserves congratulations for its exemplary work. The GWG represents the best of our industry, in bringing together talented people, from all over the globe, who genuinely care about the success and progress of the graphic arts marketplace," says David Kew of Business Cards Tomorrow (BCT). Kew is implementing a total digital workflow at BCT's 80+ locations throughout the U.S. and Canada, utilizing the GWG Output Test Suite.
All GWG specifications, best practice guidelines, and educational materials are free of charge.
GWG specifications, test suites, and best practices are today considered the ultimate barometer of efficient and reliable production and exchange of digital documents for use throughout worldwide publishing workflows. In fact, standard-setting and best practice organizations such as the IPA, IDEAlliance, FESPA, VISKOM, and many others are themselves members of the GWG. By participating in GWG activities, the GWG and these organizations can be further assured of optimum integration and worldwide acceptance with agreed-upon best practices.
Says Zwang, "The main reason for the success of the GWG is that the development of each of the specifications and best practices all continue to be consensus-driven and address the key problems being felt in the field. This is possible because the working members in each of the focused subcommittees include many of the top industry experts from around the globe."
GWG Addressing The Range of Graphic Arts Applications and Segments
While the GWG initially created PDF preflight profiles, the work of the group has grown to include many other areas of interest. To date, the GWG has released PDF profiles (currently at version 3) to address a wide range of print production processes. These include preflight specifications and best practices for magazine and newspaper production, print advertising, commercial printing, silkscreen, wide-format printing, office document printing, and packaging.
One of the more recent areas of work has been the development of electronic job ticketing specifications. The first job ticket released by the GWG was for ad submission. Working in conjunction with CIP4 and AdsML, an XMP ad ticket was released and is currently being used with great success by many large agencies and publishers in Europe.
In a continued effort, a job ticket for proof submission (both monitor-based and paper) is now ready for release. More job tickets will be developed to address other specific needs.
Vendors who want to create implementations to support their own solutions can easily do so. They then have the option of having their implementations of these specifications certified by the GWG.
What Fueled the Fire
The GWG was established in 2002 by a group of graphic arts user associations, from various Benelux countries, who decided that it would be in their combined interest to develop a single, consensus-driven set of PDF preflight profiles, instead of each having individual country- or association-centric versions. They recognized that the realities of Globalization were affecting all of their members and needed to be addressed in production processes.
A Distinguished Membership
Since then the group has grown from a handful of regional user associations to include over 40 member groups, including many international user associations and premier vendors of graphic arts solutions and tools - and it is still growing. Educational institutions and, most recently, publishing companies, have also begun joining the ranks of GWG members. The newest include Hearst, Quebecor World, Sanoma Magazines, and BVDM, The German Printing and Media Industries Federation.
Working with Standards
Working closely with the international standards community, the GWG develops practical solutions to build on - and enhance - the work done by these standards groups. Once these solutions are developed, tested, and agreed upon, the membership of users and vendors work together to bring these solutions to the entire global user community.
Tools for a Range of Workflows
During the process of developing these specifications, the GWG found that many of the prepress systems and tools in the marketplace either were not compliant or were not up to date with the GWG specifications or the current versions of layout and design software. As a result, the GWG Output Suite was developed.
The Output Suite is a set of individual files that can be used to test the design and print production workflow processes from layout packages through proofing and platemaking. These tests have been used successfully by many vendors to test software and utilities and to identify the correct settings to be used. More importantly, they have been used by "end users" to quickly identify problems in their workflow processes before they find out that one job won't process correctly.
Making Professionals Smarter and Processes Better
While most of the work product offered by the GWG is available in the form of easily installable settings files, it was felt that there was a need for additional educational materials for those who wanted to dig deeper into what really goes on behind their processes. The message and the education are spreading in the form of white papers and live events offered at member venues. Additionally, GWG work product is more frequently being included in relevant software releases.
"It is often said that 'the best things in life are free.' We at the GWG strongly believe in this statement, and it is an integral part of our DNA. We look forward to serving the industry for many more years to come," says Zwang.
For more information on the GWG, visit: www.gwg.org.
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