Just To Let You Know

I mentioned bluelines earlier.

Bluelines are full-color photographic proofs of the magazine's pages. We use them to make sure everything is just as everything should be before that last wild miracle happens, and the book comes back to us all bound and beautiful and you know you love it, you know you need it, don't even think of denying it. We check cutlines and bylines, photo credits and page numbers, headers and footers...

And, of course, we check ad placement. We can't, for instance, allow an ad for Outlaw Audio's very cool-looking new receiver [Man, I want that thing!] to appear among the pages of its review.

Because, yo, that would be crazy. The trolls would cry bloody bullshit about us selling out to the man. And F that noise.

Every now and then, though, something upsetting slips into our pages. Like, today, when I was going through the bluelines and I noticed that a Music Direct ad featuring a certain product happened to be placed directly alongside the review of that product. [Holy motherfricking no no no no no!!!]

How does something like this happen?

Well, while we did know that a Music Direct ad would be appearing on those particular pages, those of us over here in editorial (all four of us) had no idea of what material would be included in that ad — we often don't get to see the ads until they're actually in place. This is a problem, obviously. And we're working on correcting it.

For now, it's just enough that we caught it in time to make the change. Elizabeth, after uttering a few naughty words, was happy to go back and redo the entire layout.

"Yes, thank you, JA, for allowing me to do all this extra work," she said. Happily.

Jim Tavegia's picture

Stephen,The planets were alligned and you have save the rath of certain forum members. This would have been so bad JA might have been forced to leave the country, even after JA studied the American Constitution so hard and caused so many to pop blood vessels in their foreheads. Man, that was close.

Jeff Wong's picture

It's interesting to me that bluelines are now full colour. When I was first starting out as an illustrator over 20 years ago, these proofs were literally blue (on a yellowish or cream paper.) I always wondered how art directors could be certain their photos were going to look right based on these blue pages (apart from looking at the 4C Chromalin proof overlays which were separate.) I have fond memories of popping into the HIGH TIMES offices on bluelines days and hanging out all day in the art department.

John Atkinson's picture

They were still blue on cream until a couple of years ago, Jeff," when we went ""direct-to-plate"" ie", the printer takes the high-rez pdfs we send to prepress (where they are combined with the high-rez ad images) and uses them to prepare the printing plates without any intervening steps. The blue-line proofs we are sent are not color-correct, as they are printed on a normal color printer from the final files for each page. But they do show each page's content in its entirety, which up to then we have not seen.

John Atkinson's picture

Posted the above before I had my morning coffee. To clarify, we send prepress Quark files, along with all the fonts and images etc. Prepress adds the ads," then sends an overall file for each page to the printer. Our ""blueline"" proofs are printed from those files", which are, I believe, a hi-res pdf.

Jeff Wong's picture

John - Thanks for the update on the process. I'd heard PDFs were being used in the printing process lately, but, it didn't inspire confidence when the final printed version of the softcover of my friend's graphic novel failed to contain the revisions he intended the book to have that were in the PDF he was sent to approve before going to press.

Wes Phillips's picture

Oh boy, Jeff, now you've gone and done it! If JA starts typing on bloody stumps, it'll be because you went and confirmed his worst nightmares about what could happen: The worst, just like he always thought.

Jeff Wong's picture

I'm a firm believer that if there's room to screw up in a printing job, it'll get screwed up, and this is directly proportional to how important it is to you. It's best to do as much you can and leave as few variables in the hands of others. What happened in my friend's situation seems virtually inexplicable, but, there you have it. Did you send John that bloody stump animated GIF I found?