Premedia has become a commonly used phrase in print shops and other creative offices around the world. However, it is not always immediately clear what this relatively new term means.
For printers in particular, the term is often confused with the more common (and traditional) prepress. Though the two are not interchangeable, they are related in that prepress is a specific type of premedia process.
What is Premedia?
Premedia is anything that happens to a piece of artwork to take it from its original state when completed by the creator to a form that is ready for public consumption. This can range from color correcting a photograph to placing audio effects on a song file to preparing a PDF for printing.
One of the causes of confusion about premedia is that its definition is so broad – but this is purposeful to include a large variety of media.
Premedia in Relation to Prepress
When a client presents their artwork to be printed, anything done by the printing company between receiving the art and actual going to press is the prepress process. Because prepress is a specific type of premedia, prepress activities are also a premedia process.
However, since premedia is inherently designed to include multiple media, it is not only restricted to prepress (or the print industry). A photography company taking a raw photo from a photographer and enhancing the image and then developing and printing it is also taking part in a premedia process. If the company only enhances the image for digital use, it is still a premedia process even though there is no physical material produced. In this case, the completed and enhanced digital file is the final product of the premedia process.
For more on prepress, see our extensive prepress article over at bestbookprinting.com, our book printing division.
History of Premedia
The term was initially created as a way to describe the processing of the newly emerging digital and web communications in much the same way that prepress has been used for so long to describe the print production process. Before premedia, there was no word for the digital production process.
The definition has been left intentionally broad to encompass not only existing media and delivery output channels, but also any that emerge in the years to come.