PMS stands for Pantone Matching System, sometimes referred to as Spot Color or just Pantone. I bring this up because I find myself explaining to clients why their job is not separating into the appropriate spot colors.
You could call us hoarders. You could say we’re being too careful.
But we think keeping an archive of past print files—more than 12 years’ worth—is just a smart way to work.
Our management information system (MIS), PrintSmith, stores tickets for print jobs dating back to the early 2000’s—some 40,000 jobs in all! Many of these tickets we’ll never open again. But if a customer ever needs them, they’re ready and waiting.
Why archive all of our past work?
- It spares our clients trouble. Customers don’t have to worry if they upgrade their own hardware or software, experience a computer crash, or lose track of email attachments. Job specs are housed in PrintSmith, while image files are stored in redundant hard drives both on- and offsite.
- It gives us all details—even the nitty-gritty ones—when we need them. We’ve made it a habit to gather as much information as possible at the start of a job—everything from a paper’s grain direction to detailed color profiles to who signed off when a finished job was delivered. Recording relevant details up front saves us time and headache in the long run.
But just saving everything randomly isn’t good enough. We run a tightly controlled database, with items sorted by job number and date. Careful version control means nothing gets lost in the shuffle.
- It means all of our customers’ brand materials stay consistent—no matter when they leave the press. If we’ve printed business cards for a client and they want envelopes and letterhead to match, we’ve likely already got the image files we need. Or if a company needs inspiration, we can pull ideas from their back catalog. It’s easy to order reprints—or create something new.
So is holding on to 40,000 past job tickets a little crazy? Maybe. But we won’t be scrapping them anytime soon. The way we see it, it’s just another way of having our clients’ backs.