Arden Software


Arden Software integrates the Adobe PDF Library into Impact to ensure reliable data interchange

Company Profile

Since 1988 Arden Software, the author of the Impact range of CAD/CAM applications has maintained a position at the forefront of suppliers to the packaging industry by combining two simple principles – listening to its customers, and developing practical solutions that truly meet the changing demands of the world’s packaging manufacturers, die makers, and display specialists.

The Packaging Workflow

The packaging workflow is complex, involving three parties: the customer, the graphic designer, and the converter. As the packaging design takes shape there is frequent data interchange among these parties, as shown in Figure 1:

1. The graphic designer works with the customer to develop a packaging concept which is consistent with the customer’s branding and marketing campaign.
2. The converter supplies the structural template to the graphic designer, who builds the final package design.
3. The graphic designer delivers the final design to the converter, who creates the master packaging template.
4. The master packaging template is sent to the customer for final approval.
5. Once the template is approved, the customer works with the converter to fulfill the order, packaging, palletizing and delivering the final product.



Impact is CAD for packaging design, pre-press, display and die making professionals who want power, innovation and reliability in a single software package. The 6000-plus users include some of the world’s leading integrated and sheet plants, carton converters, display manufacturers, die makers, commercial printers, digital print finishers and design agencies.

To facilitate data interchange between converter, graphic designer and customer, Impact leverages the capabilities and ubiquity of PDF as the interchange format. The converter uses Impact to export the structural template as a PDF to deliver to the graphic designer. The graphic designer can easily import these PDFs into their design environment, create the design and return the completed design to the converter. The converter imports the final PDF back into Impact for production. Similar PDF workflows can occur between converter and customer during the approval cycle.

For graphic designers, this means they can use their standard design tools (e.g., InDesign) to interact with the Impact-generated data, and they are not required to use or learn the Impact application. For the customer, this means reviews of final packaging can be easily done using desktop applications (e.g., Acrobat) they are most familiar with. Impact’s robust support for PDF ensures that these cycles occur without any loss of data.

“Support for PDF is now first-class: we have eliminated any problems (due to Ghostscript), and the Adobe libraries have enabled us to build better integration…”

Additional functionality, additional complexity

In recent years, graphic designers began developing packaging concepts which relied more heavily on vector-based images. This introduced additional complexity into the packaging workflow, placing additional interoperability demands on the packaging application. For Arden, this meant better support for these complex graphic types, and more precise control over vector images within Impact.

Initially Arden used Ghostscript to import PDFs, but soon encountered problems, especially in the area of transparency support, and other more advanced graphics features typically used in graphics design environments. They recognized the need for something better and more compatible with a wider variety of external applications, and a solution that would work for all PDFs, not just a subset of them.

The Solution: The Adobe PDF Library

Arden’s research led them to the Adobe PDF Library, available from Datalogics. Initial conversations were followed up by productive face-to-face meetings with Datalogics executives. “Our customers work in highly-demanding technical environments, often under tight deadlines. They cannot afford downtime or delays – if there are any problems, they need to be resolved immediately. This places demands on us as application providers; and in turn we look for the same kind of responsiveness and support from our technology providers,” said Chris Rogers, General Manager of Arden Software. “That DL would visit us, and be able to have a highly-technical discussion, understand our concerns, and offer helpful advice was a real testament to their expertise. We’re very happy having them as a provider.”


“We are very pleased with the Adobe solution,” says Chris Rogers. “Support for PDF is now first- class: we have eliminated any problems (due to Ghostscript), and the Adobe libraries have enabled us to build better integration to the designers’ tools, improving the workflow overall.”