I wanted to print out a door sign for the MechaWorks meeting room at E3. Simple, right? I opened up iWork Pages, dropped the MechaWorks logo (in TIFF format) in, and the MechaWorks icon (in EPS format), sized them to where I wanted, and hit print.
The result? Pages got the logo right, but the icon came out in black and white. Or, rather, half black and white, half gray. Even on iWork ’09.
Now, many of you non-perfectionists might have just converted the EPS to a TIFF, and called it good enough. I, however, am not a non-perfectionist. You see, dropping a high-resolution TIFF into a Pages document causes it to be overly-anti-aliased. This creates subtle, yet visible blurred edges… and other graphical anomalies.
At this point, the simple answer would be to fire up Adobe CS3, and build the darn printout in there. Unfortunately, I find Adobe’s monopoly unacceptable, and refuse to use CS3. Had EPS not been utterly proprietary, Pages wouldn’t be tripping up over printing it. So, I had to think about this one.
Next, I tried saving the file as a PDF. I figured that saving the Pages document as a PDF would eliminate any printing errors from Pages. Unfortunately, Mac OS X and Pages share the same PDF-EPS bridge, so the same result came out of my printer.
I finally opened the PDF that I had made inside of Adobe Reader. Success! Well, sorta. The page printed out, but the MechaWorks icon was way too bright. The colors didn’t match. After a couple of attempts, I found the problem. In print settings, I disabled ColorSync, and told it to use Application Managed Colors (that’s HP’s term for it, your printer driver will vary in its terminology). Finally, it printed out properly.
Oh, and don’t bother with a PC. Even in Adobe Reader, Windows botched the PDF’s printing in a similar (yet somewhat different way) than Pages and Preview.
Long story short, EPS remains a painfully proprietary format, but if you have a modern logo or icon for your company… you’re probably stuck with working around its limitations.