DALIM SOFTWARE has been a driving force in the evolution of London-based Rival Colour from repro house to modern media company.
In the early 1990s Rival Colour was a repro house with Crosfield scanners and page composition workstations, producing work for book and magazine publishers. Yet for all the capabilities of their high-end equipment, when a designer wanted to put curved corners with drop-shadows on images, their systems couldn’t do it.
The search for a solution led to Rival Colour adopting DALIM SOFTWARE’s LITHO layout system. This became the first of a series of DALIM SOFTWARE products that the company has taken over the years, followed by the MISTRAL production management and job tracking software and the DIALOGUE softproofing system. Rival Colour managing director Nick Clode comments that “The relationship with DALIM SOFTWARE was so close that sometimes they would build things specifically for us, such as a ‘publisher’s view’ of electronic flatplans that met the designers’ needs as well as those of production staff.”
Over this period, Rival Colour has evolved from repro house to media company, offering digital and litho printing, prepress and webto-print services. What hasn’t changed since the early days is that all images handled by the company are retouched by eye and profiled for best quality reproduction, whether that’s in a fine art coffee-table book on glossy art paper or a weekly freesheet on 65gsm uncoated stock.
DALIM SOFTWARE’s TWIST workflow plays a key role in production. Account manager Tim Anderson describes it as ‘unbelievable’ – “TWIST automates everything. We have set up 90 workflow paths, including stripping out of text, resizing and imposing jobs, and adding production info,” he says. “It allows different versions of PDF pages to be made available for designers, publishers and production staff, always based on the latest live information so they can see exactly where a page or image is in the approval process.”
From image to print to ePub
In addition to profiling and managing images for its clients, Rival Colour offers image hosting via Xinet server software, which allows clients to work with the latest versions of their hi-res images. The company also prints in-house on Presstek DI and Ricoh digital presses. In addition to printing booklets, flyers and brochures Rival Colour print lots of blads (form of pre-publication sales material for upcoming books) for book publishers and have produced more than 200 for one customer.
Continuing its relationship with DALIM SOFTWARE, Rival Colour also had the first UK installation of ES 4. Several of the company’s book publishing clients and Time Out magazine are already using the ES interface to view progress and approve content.
Rival Colour has sufficient confidence in new business opportunity that ES 4 enables to buy the software then plan how to sell its capabilities: “We bought ES without work to go on it but think we’ll be able to sell its capabilities, especially in ePubs, to clients,” says Clode. In preparation for this, Clode and his team have already uploaded as examples published books that demonstrate the capabilities of ES.
“We see ePubs as a big opportunity,” explains Clode. “We have already produced 300 electronic versions of books for one company,” he adds. Supported formats include Amazon ‘look inside’ sample pages, Kindle e-readers, HTML, iOS and Android. “ES takes in print-ready PDFs and can output these various formats with rich content such as video added. This has been tested in-house, and now we will be going out to demonstrate it to our customers.”
Developing mobile apps is another possibility. Rival Colour produces the Glastonbury Festival programme magazine, which has a print run of 168,000 plus a digital version. The latter has ‘flipbook’ content that re-orientates itself for landscape or portrait viewing on tablets or phones. “ES can generate emails with HTML links, which is effectively an app, and we could expand on this with a daily update during the event,” Clode suggests.
There is also a plan to link the Xinet image server to ES. By adding HTML links to each page, Rival Colour’s clients will be able to add, extract or enrich their publications with additional content.
Rival Colour is looking to build a word-of-mouth reputation for this kind of work. “We need to educate customers that a DIY approach is not the best way to approach these opportunities,” says Clode. “They should take advantage of our expertise from traditional publishing through to new media.”