with contributions from Kim Wise, Jeff Farinosi, Tracy Cundiff, Jason Noto, Laura Skolozynski
Every year, thousands of travel agents anxiously await our Apple Vacations Catalogs. We print a catalogue for Mexico, The Caribbean, Hawaii and Europe each fall. Our new editions are Hot off the presses! So we asked the amazing design staff that puts them together, just what the process is to get these beautiful catalogs done each year.
Every year, our Elk Grove Office design team works with the entire office to create these Apple Vacations brochures. Our “Catalog Season” runs throughout the spring and summer months so that we have them ready for our annual Tradeshows and presentations. We start the process even earlier with new design concepts and ideas, keeping our Catalogs soaring high above the rest.
Now that we are at the end of our “Season”, it is onto the most important part of the process: printing! Our printing partner prints millions of copies annually for our offices, travel agents, and consumers. Many people don’t know there are endless steps that take us from our computer-generated catalog pages to the final output and delivery of the books.
We get to say things like … “A little more cyan in the sky of this Puerto Vallarta picture please. Add a little yellow to warm up the sands of Maui. Can you bring down the black on the left half of this page…there’s a little too much contrast.” Those are examples of the direction we tell the trained Color Technicians while we are there to make sure all of our hard work goes and looks as planned.
I’ll back-track a little to fill you in on the steps it takes to get there. First, after a hundred-plus colleagues approve our pages (insert laugh here), we then create high-resolution PDF files to send via the web to Quad’s imaging guy, Luke. He then works his magic to deliver the page layouts to be engraved on metal plates. Many chemical and technical processes later, the metal plates are then delivered to the printing presses to collaborate with huge drums of ink (CMYK: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) and four-foot high rolls/webs of paper. Our customer service representative, Annette, coordinates press times and dates to make the timing as convenient as she can for our time spent there (Quad works non-stop 24-7).
What impresses me the most are the sizes of the gigantic printing presses, with its grand designs and intricate mechanical features. Pulleys, rollers, belts, air-guns, and robots make it all work, directed digitally and manually by the Press Supervisors and their Press Technicians. Loud beeps, alarms and smells of chemicals fill the air while we all prevent a loss of our senses with goggles and ear plugs.
“Color Quality Control” usually takes about 4 days of working around the clock. The designers that guided our books to perfection this year are Kim Wise, Tracy Cundiff and Jeff Farinosi. We split up portions of whose “color quality controlling” what and it all works out in the end. Sometimes there will be overlapping when presses malfunction or the paper tears or the computer system glitches. When that happens, everything gets pushed back in time until they can correct the problem. Then the game is back on. After we finish approving all the pages, we’re ready to see our “binding dummies” (which are just the rough mock-ups of our catalogs). We check to make sure the pages are in correct order and then we’re finally sent home!
It’s a great experience to work with Quad Graphics and they treat us well every second we’re there. We are on-call with them all hours of the day and night, resulting in odd sleeping patterns, but it all works out. It’s not often clients go in to the plant to color check their work, but for us, it’s very important that our Destinations, Hotels and Resorts look immaculate in order to sell to our vacationers and make their “dreams” come true!