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Processing A Job Through Offset Copy Preparation

( Originally Published 1963 )


Because the operations are so diversified for this operation, a description of the tasks required for a specific job may present a more specific evaluation of this task. The title of a pamphlet which will be described in detail is an illustrated brochure entitled "Everglades National Park, Florida."


The product is printed in black ink on a light green writing paper. The final size of the folded product is equal to 32 pages, 4 X 9 1/4 inches, which is achieved in two folding stages.

Initial Folding Stage.—This first stage product is 16 pages saddle stitched to a page size, 8 x 9 1/4 inches. Each of these 16 pages consists of two columns, separately numbered to permit continuous reading from page 1 to page 32 as the 8 x 9 1/4-inch saddle pamphlet leaves are turned. A complete pamphlet of 16 pages is folded, saddle stitched, and trimmed to 8 x 9¼ inches.

Second Folding Stage.—The complete folded and trimmed pamphlet indicated above is then folded once again in half on the 9%-inch dimension to produce a product 4 X 9 1/4 inches. This in essence produces a 32-page self-fold pamphlet.

The appearance of the outside of this final product is a pictorial title page continuous around the 4-inch fold with the title lettering appearing twice—once at the top of each 4-inch page. This two-page illustration consists of unnumbered sequence pages 1 and 32, with pages 2 through 31 in proper order between these two when unfolded at the saddle size of 8 x 9¼ inches.


The following items were submitted by the agency to produce the described pamphlet:

(1) A framed pen-and-ink artwork drawing, 18 x 18 inches, containing artistic transitional life studies of fowl and fish, which represent the wide range of wildlife present in the Everglades. This illustration formed the outside self-cover illustration with the title copy (2).

(2) A hand-lettered pen-and-ink title drawing, 6 1/2 x 1 1/4 inches, "Everglades National Park, Florida," to print in reverse twice across the top of the picture above (I) .

(3) A photostat layout showing the positioning of the illustration (1) across the 8-inch leaf and the hand-lettered title (2) twice across the top so that it would appear across each 4-inch self-fold page.

(4) A series of 11 photographs of varying sizes to be reduced to one-column, two-column, or bleed illustrations on various pages. The location of these illustrations and the position of the illustrations as to margins, alinement, or bleed desired was indicated in a combination copy-dummy, item (7). These illustrations indicated landscape, seascape, cloud conditions, animal and plant life, as well as facilities for visitors and campers' accommodations.

(5) In addition to the above photographs, four watercolor and pen drawings on illustration board were submitted also to be reduced to single column, double column, or bleed illustrations. These illustrations were of landscape, animal life, and boating facilities in the Everglades.

(6) A pen-and-ink map of the Everglades area of Florida, 14 1/2 x 12 1/2 inches to reduce to 7 1/4 x 6 1/4 inches, and print on a double page with suitable legend and descriptive text matter below the map.

(7) A previously printed pamphlet was used to indicate desired changes in the new printing, including revisions of text matter on 21 of the 32 single-column pages of type. Changes of text matter desired were typed on white paper and cut to fit over deleted wording or attached to a particular page and marked for insertion where desired.

Illustrations which were to be reused in the exact size were marked "pickup." Those which were to be new were crossed out and a new number of the illustration indicated in its place. This pamphlet served a threefold purpose: (1) as manuscript copy for desired text revisions, (2) as an illustration guide to show position, size, marginal allowance, and bleed points of illustrations, and (3) as a dummy for arrangement of pages and for folding requirements.


Study of Material Supplied and Plan for Correct Processing.—A large portion of the text matter and 15 of the illustrations previously used were indicated as "pickup." The first task was to obtain the negatives used to print the previous issue from the Negative File Unit. There was a total of 33 separate portions of type matter on 21 pages which required removal of some type matter and replacement of new text and rearrangement of existing text. After inspection of the pickup negatives and consideration of the numerous changes, a decision was made to make up the entire job from positives mounted on clear acetate sheets. This was done because the many changes in text negatives would have involved many very small pieces of film negatives to be stripped together with tape. The resulting negatives would be very fragile and to maintain true contact with the many halftone illustrations desired in the platemaking step would be very difficult. In addition to this, it would be very difficult to cut the negatives for all of the spacing changes required because of the many different locations of text changes.

Obtaining Required Materials for Correct Processing.—Once the preferred method of processing was determined, the following items were necessary to complete the remakeup of the text: (I) reproduction proofs of new text matter, (2) film positives of text matter which did not require changing, (3) new illustration negatives for those illustrations which were to be changed or replaced, and (4) film positives of new type matter after reproduction proofs were received.

These items were obtained in the following manner. Numbered items correspond to those above.

(1) The previously printed copy which was used as manuscript was marked for type style, line measure, and lines which were to be set in type. In some cases entire paragraphs were marked to reset although only a portion of the paragraph was revised. In most cases this was necessary because of runover lines, but this also was done to facilitate simplification of assembly of text in making up the new pages of positives. After the copy was carefully prepared, it was forwarded to the Composing Division for reproduction proofs. While this work was being done, other tasks also could be in process simultaneously.

(2) The pickup illustration negatives were separated from the pickup text negatives for later use. The text negatives were forwarded to the Negative Section to obtain positives of the usable matter to complete makeup.

(3) The illustration copy which was not required because of the pickup material was set aside. Those illustrations which had to be rephotographed because of new matter or changes were sized in percentage according to the new copy and forwarded also to the Negative Section to have negatives produced for combining with new text.

(4) Upon receipt of the reproduction proofs or revised text matter, these also were forwarded to the Negative Section for positives of this new text matter.

It is to be noted that positives were requested for text matter and negatives were requested for illustration matter. There are two reasons for this action: (I) It is always advisable not to reproduce illustration matter more than is absolutely necessary because each generation of reproduction results in some degree of loss of fidelity and definition of the original, and (2) the negatives can be combined into a single-unit platemaking negative by use of autopositive procedures in the photographic step. The use of positives for the type matter permits very easy makeup with the use of ruled grid layouts and the use of pressure-sensitive adhesive which does not require the use of tape to join the pieces. This type of makeup also does not interfere with good contact procedures in the autopositive processing in the Negative Section.

Makeup.—Upon receipt of the positives requested, everything was in readiness for the copy preparer to make up the text matter for the new pamphlet.

A suitable ruled grid sheet was selected for use as a guide to insure positioning of text lines in parallel position and also to aline both sides of the type columns and center headings on the column width as required.

The positives were given a pressure-sensitive coating of adhesive in a coating machine and placed on parchment paper or similar material so that they would not adhere to each other. A suitable size sheet of clear plastic was placed over the selected grid and the text elements positioned in accordance with the prepared copy. Each step was carefully checked with the copy to be sure that all lines of the text matter were present. As pieces of material were affixed to the base, they were burnished to the base by placing a piece of paper over them and rubbing with a folding bone or other smooth tool. This firmly adhered the pieces to the base sheet and provided a smooth clear joint which passed light more readily for contact work in the Negative Section. Space allowance for illustrations was carefully provided and the position of the illustration indicated. This was determined from the negatives which were picked up and those that were made from illustration copy. Upon completion of this makeup, the copy preparer assembled made-up text, negatives of illustrations, department copy and dummy, and issued an order on the Negative Section to produce complete page negatives for the job by the autopositive method. This completed the copy-preparation task of this particular job.

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