The state of Prepress now and 30 years ago

It really shouldn’t surprise me but here I am at the eve of my retirement year, not looking to do a farewell tour or anything but…how come there is no longer anybody that gives a crap about prepress anymore? Printing used to be an art form. Something to be proud of. I guess in the world we live in today, nobody has time to appreciate what goes into the whole idea of ink and paper, and what a big factor prepress plays into a really good looking printed piece.
Kind of sad.
And now trying to find someone to take over my position - it’s not taught anymore. Digital has replaced offset printing that looking for that person - ANY person - with an interest in Illustrator, Photoshop, trap and choke, plates and so on - crickets.
Just a Saturday night with only myself to bounce things off of. No experience required.


Hiya Rick! Good to see you :slight_smile:

I think you will hear a few mentioning on here … they can’t retire fast enough. Seems the whole industry is going to hell in a handbasket :frowning:

Hey RKK! Been so long since I’ve really been here I don’t know what you go by anymore.

My boss is of no help. He knows I can’t give my years of experience to someone else but the guy he wanted me to train last had no graphic experience whatsoever. But he liked computers. I was expected to teach him illustrator. I am not a teacher. I did my time in trade school. I know there’s frustrated prepress people everywhere. I’m too proud to walk out without some sort of backup but it’s just not out there.

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Still the same old RKK or Kittie lol … It’s been with me too many years to change it :wink:

I can only imagine your frustration :frowning:

Here’s to finding a good candidate … soon!

Hey! I know the feeling!

You get prepress monkeys these days, or Mac Monkeys was the term years ago. People who know what settings to look out for on a prepress check - but have no idea why it was set that way or how to change it - or if it’s right or wrong for that task.

I started in prepress as an apprentice over 20 years ago, and when I started there was 3 designers, 1 typesetter, 1 proofreader, 2 prepress technicians (I was 3rd), 2 camera/film/plating techs, and 1 person assigned to impositions.

I was learning each of their roles at the time. There was 10 of them, and I had to learn all of their jobs.

By the time I finished - 4 years later - the camera was defunct, the proofreader had a stroke proofreading one day and had to retire, the typesetter had to quit as his pension fund went missing and he had to go solo to try make as much money as he could, one designer left for a big studio, and the other designer actually died (50 years of age) in her chair designing one day - one camera tech was let go - as the camera was defunct. The other guy was offered redundancy. They bought a platesetter and got rid of the camera and all the other platemaking equipment.

By the end of 4 years there was me and and 1 other guy - the prepress tech - in charge of everything. We had gone from about 10 to 2 - in four years!

Not only was I running the print, doing impositions, managing projects, but nobody really knew what to do. In fact, I have memories of having to jump in the forklift and get paper down from racks, run it over to the guillotine and trim it to size for the project.

So many things happened in those 4 years. I eventually left - when I told the owner I was leaving he couldn’t believe it, he actually gasped and fell off his chair. He was genuinely shocked.

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I’m looking for someone now too. Not just to replace me in a few years but to replace the two competent people who have left in the last two years. The problem is, the owner thinks it is a “neck-down” job to make signs and do print work and doesn’t want to pay what it’s gonna take to get someone who knows the software well enough to be taught, has real hand-eye skills and has enough personal autonomy to be sent out to do local installs. That ain’t no minimum wage job. Oh, and it’s NOT a design job.

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