The Ghent Workgroup (GWG) has released a new print preparation specification to address the small-format digital print sector, offering standardised guidelines for PDF file creation and quality control. The specification has already been adopted by pre-flight software vendors to boost its acceptance in digital print workflows.

Released  under the umbrella of the GWG’s 2015 specifications and sharing their principles, the new specification describes the rules that PDF files for digital print should follow and is said to be significantly different from those for segments such as offset printing or packaging.

Rules focusing on overprint, for example, are relaxed because digital presses handle these issues natively, while image resolution requirement are also reduced, reflecting the nature of work that is often printed digitally. Other requirements remain paramount, however, including PDF/X-4 compliance and file integrity validation, plus overprinting of white objects and colour issues connected wth transparency blending operations.

‘In a recent Ghent Workgroup survey, digital print was identified as a key area missing good guidelines for the usage of PDF,’ said Elli Cloots, vice-chair at the Ghent Workgroup and senior product marketing manager at EFI. ‘Having this new specification helps significantly to improve standardisation, and thus the possibility for automation, in this growing segment.’

The specification and application settings based on it are freely available from the GWG website.