I was raised on Macs (well, actually, I was raised on X-Acto knives, but let’s fast-forward a bit). But I learned Windows in self-defense many years ago. At first, it was a bit foreign (we’re talking Windows 3), but not painful. After all, it’s not as if Microsoft hasn’t, ah, emulated the Mac interface.
Why did I do this? So that I could handle customers’ PC files when they came into the printing plant. We had quickly learned that it wasn’t smart to try to move the files to the Mac: fonts didn’t translate, text reflowed, and things generally fell apart. It made more sense to keep the jobs in their native habitat.
In those long-ago days, PC designers were in the very small minority; that’s no longer the case. When I survey an audience these days, roughly 40% are PC users: the Mac monopoly on graphic arts is over. The predominant graphics programs — Adobe’s Creative Suite and QuarkXPress — are available on both platforms, PCs are often less expensive than Macs, and it’s easier to convince a corporate IT crew to let you get a PC than to bring a Mac into a Windows-only business environment.
In light of this, there’s no excuse for a printer to risk taking a file cross-platform because they either don’t own a PC, don’t have a prepress operator who knows how to use a PC, or because they think it doesn’t matter. None of those circumstances is excusable in the current marketplace.
Yet that’s what a printer recently did to a customer’s PC InDesign file. Not only did they open and resave the customer’s file on a Mac, they substituted Mac fonts for the PC fonts (not even the same fonts, for cryin’ out loud!), then returned the file to the customer. My customer can’t use the Mac PostScript fonts. Shoot, I couldn’t even use them on my Mac: they were corrupted, all weighing in at zero KB.
By the way, this is the same file that was “poisoned” by the XMPie plug-in in my earlier post. Poor file has really been through the wringer.
My advice to the customer is to have a stern conversation with the printer about file mistreatment, and to ask them if they have the capability to correctly handle PC files. If they don’t, then the customer will be forced to purchase OpenType versions of their preferred fonts. Then, at least their files will be safer regardless of sloppy and thoughtless file handling at the printer. Sheesh.