If you’re like most printers, you’ve got a thousand and one irons in the fire and scant little time to deal with minor interruptions, let alone learn a new language. That’s what it felt like to me when I opened Photoshop for the first time. Luckily for many of us in the industry, we’ve already learned to speak Photoshop and the other Adobe dialects. However, the increasing trend toward web-to-print has some print shop owners worried that they might be repeating the experience.
No one likes costly learning curves
Few can argue the new life that both web-to-print solutions and digital printing have worked together to breathe back into the industry. This trend remains strong and the early adaptors are probably pretty happy right now. Despite increasing automation and demand from clients to have a more hands-on approach with their products, the challenges of implementing a web-to-print solution or updating a current system have made some printers reluctant to take the leap.
One such challenge is the steep learning curve that comes with learning new software and tooling it to fit seamlessly into your current workflow. It takes time to become well versed in a new program, and costly errors could be a possibility early on. Even after learning a new user interface and all the other quirks that no one tells you about, there’s no guarantee that these skills will carry over to other programs in the future. But what if the opposite were true? What if you already have the skills necessary for a new web-to-print solution? If you or the designers on your team speak Photoshop, then gearing up for the future of print just got a lot easier.
Accessible web-to-print with Photoshop support
There is a new class of web-to-print editor on the market that is rooted in HTML5 and can be easily installed into any existing website. They come packaged with all the tools that one might expect, and something else that is raising eyebrows: the ability to import predesigned Photoshop templates. That’s right; you can say goodbye to your incompatibility nightmares.
You’re probably wondering about the catch right about now. Apart from getting familiar with some simple guidelines to ensure that compatibility runs smoothly, there is really no downside if you’re familiar with Photoshop. Implementation is as easy as embedding the HTML into any website or any platform. Then you’re ready to work with mutli-layer PSD files that contain images, text, shapes, and smart layers. Both Point and Paragraph Text layers are supported and can contain multiple font and paragraph settings.
These HTML5 web editors offer another exciting feature in the form of unique markers that can be added to layers in a PSD file. These markers can define certain permissions for each layer that the web-to-print software then executes when a template is uploaded. For example, if you’re printing business cards, the logo is a design element that you probably do not want to be changed or moved between runs, so you can simply add a marker to prevent this. Once the design is in the web-to-print editor, these markers can also disallow customers from editing certain elements.
Needless to say, these are unique features that very few vendors are offering at the moment. Of course, Adobe InDesign Server is capable of reading the Photoshop format in this way, but the high cost may be limiting to smaller players. Customer’s Canvas is a toolkit offered by Aurigma that can also work with Photoshop templates, and may be a more affordable yet still powerful option for smaller printers that crave the same freedom as the big corporations.
A universal language saves time and money
Photoshop integration does a great job in helping us duck that pesky and often costly learning curve by requiring very little training to access a web-to-print solution. There’s no longer any need to waste time redesigning a PSD template with the web-to-print interface, and markers can also save time and money by managing permissions and increasing precision in a fast-pace workflow. Adobe Photoshop is a tool that we’ve been familiar with for decades, so why not build the future of web-to-print around something we already know and love?