TC 130 was initiated on 7 June 1968 following a request to ISO from the Swedish Institute for Standards. The reason for this was that it had been found that several national standards in, for example, the UK, France, Germany and Sweden had slightly different recommendations or aim values for basically the same type of product. It was suggested that it would benefit trade and print production if those criteria were synchronized internationally.
Formally, the justification for creating a technical committee for print and publishing was expressed in the following (part of the original text):
The graphic arts industry, or more appropriate — the visual communications industry — has a great impact on the economy in the countries participating in the ISO. . . . The importance of standards for products, methods of testing and terminology in the graphic arts industry is especially evident in countries which are developing domestic production of books and other products for visual communication.
While written in 1968, this remains very valid today.
ISO responded positively and the formation meeting was held on 2–4 June 1971 in Paris, France with AFNOR (Association Française de Normalisation) as the secretariat. Participating countries were Australia, Brazil, Czechoslovakia, Finland, France, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the USSR. Notably neither Germany, Japan nor the USA was participating at this point, but joined later and have all from then on been key contributors to the TC 130 standards. China joined in 2008.
The initial focus was on terminology, paper sizes, correction marks, and typographical measurements. This was soon followed by a considerable flurry of activity around the issue of the interaction of ink with a number of chemicals and food products, including wine. Unfortunately, records from that era are sketchy and the name of the person who was acting as chair for TC 130 in the first years is not known. However, we do know that a second plenary was held in 1975 in Paris, France and a third Plenary in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1980.
It looks as though TC 130 was more or less dormant for a couple of years after 1980, but in 1984 the USA joined TC 130 and insisted that new work on standards needed to be done, particularly in the areas of digital imaging. As we know, by then personal computers had been introduced into graphic arts production, often referred to as the “Desktop publishing (DTP) revolution”, and international standards were desperately needed covering the transfer of digital files, especially scanned and digitized images.
Much of the information above has been provided by David McDowell, an early member of the US delegation when they joined TC 130 in 1984, representing Kodak and NPES (formerly the US National Printing Equipment Association). David McDowell was the chairman of the US delegation in TC 130 for many years, as well as convenor for several workgroups. He eventually retired from TC 130 in 2014, but still is generously at hand to help if needed.
Among the standards developed at this time were colour calibration targets. Since there is a big overlap with photography in such matters, TC 130 very early collaborated closely with TC 42, the ISO committee for photography.
Germany was by now heavily engaged in the work of TC 130, and at the 1989 meeting in Berlin four working groups (WGs) were created. For the first time it is possible to trace the name of the chair of TC 130, Dr Hans Werner Fock, SRZ, Germany, who served 1989–1991, by which time DIN (Deutsches Institut für Normung) had taken over as the secretariat. He was followed by Dr Friedrich K. “Fred” Dolezalek, Fogra, Germany (1991–2006). After that Dr Uwe Bertholdt, Fogra, Germany served as chairman 2006–2014.
In the early nineties the ICC (International Color Consortium)-standard for colour profiles was introduced, and somewhat later this was made into an ISO standard. Meanwhile, the PDF format from Adobe had become a de facto standard for the transfer of digital artwork and was eventually also made into an ISO standard after Adobe had put the specification into the public domain. Subsequently, TC 171, the technical committee for document management applications has taken responsibility for the development of the specification.
The four workgroups initiated in 1989 have since been expanded and also include joint workgroups (JWG). A complete list of those can be found under the tab “Structure”, as well as more details of who is the current chairman of each WG (called Convenor in ISO-speak when it refers to a workgroup), as well as who is the secretary of the workgroup. Among the workgroups that have been added of late are WG11 Environmental impact of graphic technology, WG12 Postpress and WG13 Conformity assessment.
In addition, temporary JWGs under the lead of TC 130 or other TCs (such as for example JWG12 between TC 130 WG 11 and TC 6 "Paper, board and pulps"), Task Forces and cross-TC liaisons for projects to develop specific standard are set up and dissolved after successful publication or revision of the standards.
With a rather different emphasis, the international proofreading standard, incorporating both Chinese and Japanese as well as Roman languages, was produced by WG1 Terminology after several years’ work, much of it under the leadership of the convenor Barbara Horn from the UK. Currently the standard is being revised to include Korean.
In 2014 Dr Jialing Pu, SAC, China, started serving as chairman. China now provides the secretariat for TC 130. Dr Pu ended his second term in 2020, and Mr Pengfei Zhao took over as Chairman in January 2021, the year TC 130 celebrates 50 years of service to the graphic arts industry.
It is difficult and a little risky to single out individuals who have contributed to the work in TC 130, since this is very likely to be unfair to all the people who are not mentioned and who have also contributed to the work on the standards.
However, besides David McDowell, Fritz Dolezalek and Uwe Bertholdt, who have already been mentioned, some other people should be recognised for their charismatic and meritorious work as convenors or co-convenors.
From the UK, Tony Johnson (formerly Pira, Crosfield, London College of Printing) should be credited especially for his work on colour management. Tony served as Technical Secretary for the ICC as well as engaging in TC 130 and TC 42.
From Japan Hitoshi Urabe, Fujifilm should be mentioned, both for his work on several imaging standards as well as for contributing positively to the working culture in TC 130. Urabe-san was assistant convenor in WG2 Prepress data exchange and still acts as liaison officer to TC 42. He retired from TC 130 in 2014, after having attended, in all, 28 meetings of TC 130 over the years.
Dr Andreas Kraushaar, Fogra, Germany, has served tirelessly as convenor for WG 3 Process control and related metrology since 2006 and been instrumental in initiating and updating several of the most popular (and most used) ISO standards for print production.
Finally, Ms Laurel Brunner, Digital Dots Ltd, England, who is convenor of WG 11 Environmental impact of graphic technology, should be credited for initiating the issue of sustainability within TC 130 and very quickly getting several standards published on this topic.
Technical experts and convenors provide the knowledge, experience and content for the standards, but those standards would not be published without the skilled and dedicated support of persons providing administrative support. So three of the most engaged secretaries for many years should be mentioned here: Mary Abbott (NPES, ANSI, USA), Debbie Orf (NPES/APTech, USA and Yuanchao Cui, SAC, China.
TC 130 normally has two work meetings each year, where all the delegates meet, one work group meeting early in the year, and a second meeting at the end of the year, which includes the Plenary meeting (the plenary meeting is similar to an AGM, Annual General Meeting, in other organisations). Under the tab “Structure” there is a list of where all the working meetings have taken place for TC 130 over the years. The venue for each meeting is subject to receiving an invitation from the host country, although, for practical reasons, the countries in which the secretariat is based tend to host more of the work group meetings.
We end with some more stray photos from work meetings for TC 130 and TC 42 – those two technical committees have a long standing and close cooperation.