The NORM in Workflows
2. Repurposing-friendly. We all know publishers are repurposing material on the Web. With ROOM workflows, the intermediate format is a raster or, even worse, a bitmap format. Essentially, the entire page becomes a Photoshop image. Due to the size of these files, the only alternative to repurposing these files is to down-sample them. When this happens, text and vector objects get the dreaded 'jaggies'. With NORM workflows, fonts remain fonts, and vector objects remain vector objects. This lends itself much better to repurposing.
3. PDF friendly. I'm not talking about accepting PDF files here; rather, about workflows producing print-ready PDF files. ROOM workflows produce PDF files that are essentially raster or bitmap files in a PDF wrapper. These PDFs take longer to RIP, and can result in artifacts—unwanted pixels—if they're output at a resolution other than what they were designed for. For these reasons and others, organizations such as the DDAP (Digital Distribution of Advertising for Publications) selected vector PDF (specifically PDF/X-1a:2001) files as their recommended delivery format of choice. The PDF files that NORM workflows create are of this vector category.
4. A more flexible format. When a last-minute change occurs, ROOM workflows always require the RIPping of a complete, new single page. NORM workflows allow changes to be made to the intermediate file itself, resulting in quicker last minute changes (both printers and publishers know every second counts when a job is on press). Another situation is fixing file problems. Submitting pages as PDF files is common. However, if there are problems with the files (i.e., missing bleed), you won't have the application files to fix it. With a NORM workflow, the files remain completely editable, so you have the tools to fix the files. Our Esko-Graphics FastLane workflow has a high-end editing application, whereas other NORM workflow solutions typically use plug-ins to Adobe Acrobat. This high-end editing application can also be used to easily create varnish or bump plates.