High Volume Production
SetFast high volume production systems are in daily use across the globe, producing advertisements, directories, catalogues, statements — even entire local newspapers — at breakneck speed.
SetFast software helps designers, printers and publishing houses accommodate high-end variable data processing and layout requirements, completely configurable to suit the needs of the business and publications concerned.
In continuous development since 1997, SetFast software performs all the tasks of a professional human typesetter or ‘mac operator’, but much more quickly and with complete accuracy. By eliminating the repetition and hard graft we can free up creative teams to get back to being creative.
What does ‘high volume’ mean?
‘High volume’ in this context means any material where a consistent set of design rules is applied to most or all of the pages. This can include:
- listings guides
- customer billing documents: statements, invoices
- local newspapers
- business cards
- advertisements for cars, jobs and properties
- standard leaflets
- instruction manuals
- translated material for publication in several languages
- annual reports
Data-driven publishing (‘single source’)
Much of the data that appears in modern publications is stored and updated in database systems. For example, the information that goes in to a product catalogue is likely to be held in a database, so that it is visible and searchable on a website. The same product database is likely be joined to other internal systems for purchasing stock and processing sales orders.
It makes sense to keep all this product data in one central place: it makes life easier when the data needs updating. So why not use the same information, from the same database, to produce the printed product catalogue?
How We Do It
Because everyone’s requirements are different, our software team generally writes each typesetting system as a bespoke piece of work. We write each system in two parts:
- routines to get the data (either extracting it from your systems, or importing it from files such as Word, Excel, XML or CSV)
- routines to assemble the data in to pages and generate print-ready files following your design rules (PDFs or Adobe InDesign files, usually)
In some cases clients will prefer to have the system built as a finished piece of software which they can use on demand. (We keep the ‘front end’ of the software simple and intuitive to use.) In other cases we produce the software and operate it ourselves as a service to the client, gathering the data and ‘turning the handle’ ourselves, checking the result and delivering back the PDFs and InDesign files when the job is done.
Completing the job
In some cases, documents produced by SetFast software will benefit from a small amount of manual intervention – everything benefits from the ‘designer’s eye’ – after the automated process has finished. SetFast software generates standard, well-constructed InDesign or QuarkXPress files, freely editable with no ‘plug-ins’ or special software required. Our automated production services are backed by personal contact with professional typesetters who can make the minor amendments often necessary to move the job along to publication.