Opportunities for Learning
The marketplace offers a variety of training and education sources for your operation.
The old Chinese proverb relates, “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. But teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
That certainly applies to digital printing and other graphic-arts knowledge as well. Jared Smith, our own “Graphics on the Go” columnist, points to just this in his column this issue (see page xx), in relating how he hired a color-management consultant for his shop, then immediately had to bring that consultant back in because he had only bought ICC profiles rather than the training to do the profiling themselves. Once his shop learned how to execute the profiling in-house, he had much more control over his operation—not to mention a more profitable workflow.
The market as a whole offers a plethora of education and training opportunities – from manufacturers, suppliers and associations to tradeshows, conference groups and colleges. Typically, it comes down to the specific subject matter/topic you want trained in, and then locale; with many educational resources now available as webinars or in downloadable format, even locale can become less of a factor in choosing your best training. Additional factors to consider include pricing, the amount of time the training will take (does it take you or your staff away from day-to-day responsibilities?), and the quality of the training.
We’ve assembled the following list of education and training resources for your perusal, more than 40 in all. Note that this is a broad sampling of resources from around the marketplace and not intended to be comprehensive. Also note that we’ve not included here the training that is often included with the purchase of a printer; in our last surveys of manufacturers of printers (July and August issues), 60 percent of printer models had training standard, while an additional 28 percent listed training as optional.
Manufacturers and suppliers as educators
Seeking training on a specific software, equipment, or technology? Then attending a training session or taking a course from that product’s manufacturer or supplier might be the way to go. What follows are more than 20 companies that have programs dedicated to training clients on specific products or providing educational resources for both the business and technical sides of a shop’s operations (in alpha order).
The Color Management Group (colormanagement.com) offers “Color Without Chaos,” a one-day, inhouse seminar that demonstrates how color management can be used effectively. The group also offers on-site G7 training, one-on-one online technical support and personalized training via WebEx.
Cyrious Software (cyrious.com) hosts CyrCon, an annual conference for users of Cyrious products. The event includes product-specific training, user-led roundtable discussions, expert-user speakers, and sessions on new product features and enhancements; attendees can also offer feedback on current products and suggest future products. The next conference is scheduled for April 26-27, 2011, and will be held in Las Vegas, concurrent with ISA Expo.
The company also offers StartUp daily webinars (for users just beginning to implement Cyrious products into their businesses) as well as a daily webinar series to answer general questions submitted by users. Cyrious also offers a library of more than 200 brief training videos.
The EFI Connect conference brings EFI (efi.com) users together to test-drive products, discuss industry trends, attend keynote addresses, and network with peers. More than 120 breakout sessions were offered this past April at the annual conference held in Las Vegas, which also featured a first-ever live auction. And the conference featured exhibits from EFI and other industry suppliers. The 2011 event will take place April 26-29, again in Las Vegas.
EFI also offers its Color Academy Training Course on EFI Colorproof XF. Taught onsite or at a US training location, the two-day course covers installation of the product as well as configuration, settings, licensing, spot-on color, linearization, and more. And the company’s EFI-fogra.cert training and certification helps ensure that specialist dealers and consultants can set up standardized systems using EFI Colorproof XF to produce fogra•cert compliant proofs.
In addition, EFI recently launched four new initiatives aimed at making its Fiery customers more profitable, including Fiery Global University. The Fiery Global University program is a consolidation of eLearning courses, webinars, and technical classroom training that make it easy for partners and customers to develop expertise on Fiery solutions to improve overall productivity and profitability. The courses are interactive, highly visual, and self-paced, and are available as a single course, a bundle of courses, or as an annual subscription.
EskoWorld 2011, the global EskoArtwork (esko.com) user event, will be held April 17-20, 2011, in Phoenix. The organization of the event and preparation of relevant content is a collaborative effort between EskoArtwork and the EskoArtwork User Group International (EUGI); the event comprises training sessions, roundtable discussions, seminars, and hands-on labs.
In addition, The EskoArtwork Academy offers a variety of training opps on its products in a variety of modes: classroom, onsite, and remote (webinars and videos). Training for Esko software products takes places at any of three venues around the country, including facilities in Massachusetts, Ohio, and Pennsylvania; training is also available for Kongsberg tables (and iCut training is forthcoming).
At HP’s Web-based Learning Center (hp.com/go/learningcenter), visitors can access various online classes that center around the graphics arts. Some of the class titles include: “Large-Format Printing,” “Print Marketing Materials In-house on a Wide-Format Printer,” “Printing and Marketing Large-Format Projects,” “Photoshop 101,” and many others. There are also classes on business basics, digital photography, Microsoft Office and Adobe software, and more.
The company also offers its HP Graphic Arts Capture program, a collection of tools and training initiatives to help print providers gain a competitive edge. It includes customizable marketing templates, an open-house guide, sample print files, and more.
Ideal (ideal.com) offers webinars on large-format scanning. Its Educational Webinars are open to all users and cover large-format topics such as “introduction to” presentations, overviews of various technology, and general tips and tricks. The company also offers online software demonstrations and dealer training webinars.
Kodak MarketMover Professional Services (graphics.kodak.com) offers a series of webinars designed to help print providers “thrive and realize return on investment,” including: “Making the Transition to Marketing Services Provider,” “Social Media Marketing,” “Increasing Response and Conversion with Marketing Sciences,” “Automated Marketing for Printers,” “Leading Ways to Launch New Services,” and others.
LexJet (lexjet.com) is now offering its LexJet Advantage program, which comprises training and education for qualified companies, including: product training, sales training, marketing education and consultation, financial education, operations training, and IT education. The training is available onsite or by phone to LexJet customers.
Lowen Corporation’s (lowencertified.com) Lowen Certified training and certification program is aimed at vehicle wraps and related digital graphics. At the company’s 19,000-square-foot Training and Certification Center in Hutchinson, Kansas, installers can pursue any of five designations: Vehicle Wrap Installation Professional, Fleet Graphics Installation Professional, Rough Wall Installation Professional, On Premise Graphics Installer, and Lowen Certified Expert Installer. The certification status is portable, meaning that the certification stays with the individual, not the company.
MacTac’s Application Nation (theapplicationnation.com) is an online resource and virtual community for graphics installers working with vehicle wraps, cut vinyl, and wall and building graphics. Members can visit the website to ask questions of industry experts, read about installation tips, peruse the resource library, and download ICC profiles.
MacTac also offers Application Nation training sessions across the country. The hands-on events typically cover techniques on vehicle and vinyl preparation, printing, measuring, squeegeeing, repositioning, finishing, removal, and more. The company has partnered with Nazdar SourceOne on a series of four training sessions designed to educate customers and installers on digital media and proper installation techniques.
Mutoh has teamed up with Avery and installer Justin Pate for its School of Wrap workshops (mutohcarwraps.com) that take place around the country. Two workshop versions are available: Advanced (one-day) and Basic/Intermediate (two-day). All workshop attendees receive a cutter knife, an Avery squeegee, a wrap DVD, and one free month of unlimited access to Carwraps video training platform.
The company also has a Carwraps Business Builder program and, in conjunction with Carwraps (carwraps.net), offers an online video car-wrap training series. Featuring Pate and Carwraps president Todd LaBrie, the videos cover the design, production, and installation aspects of vehicle graphics. Access to the videos is available in monthly or daily memberships; membership also includes access to Carwrap’s design database with vector-based vehicle-wrap designs.
Nazdar Consulting Services (nazdarconsulting.com) offers a number of training and consulting programs and initiatives, including Chromatix Color Control training, G7 Certification, Lean Sigma classes, hazardous-material education, and image-quality training. Chromatix Color Control aims to help businesses reduce labor costs, add capacity in peak production periods, and produce high-quality, repeatable color with every print. Lean Sigma focuses on reducing waste and variation in the manufacturing process. In addition, the company has partnered with MacTac’s Application Nation for a series of four training sessions designed to educate customers and installers on digital media and proper installation techniques.
Neschen Americas’ (neschenamericas.com) recently opened Training and Education Center is designed to train students on the entire Seal and Neschen brand portfolio, from product selection to final delivery. The center is located near the company's Elkridge, Maryland, headquarters and includes a workroom, conference room, and expandable classroom; it’s equipped with laminators, laminates, media, and wide-format printers. Course options for print service providers include: InDisplay In Depth, where students learn about the integration of Neschen inkjet media, Expolinc hardware, and Seal laminating films in creating comprehensive display products; Application Training in Finishing; Textile Printing and Material Selection; and Environmentally Responsible Media Solutions, which covers the "Converd presented by Neschen" media portfolio. There are also course options for sales training and an in-depth review of all Neschen products for authorized Neschen product resellers.
Nik Software (niksoftware.com) offers daily webinars (three times a day, five days a week), each offering insights and tips on all of the company’s image-enhancing plug-ins. Also available are a variety of educational webinars on specific photographic styles, plus online demo “Lessons” in PDF or video format on specific Nik product techniques.
Roland Academy (rolanddga.com), formerly Roland University, offers end-user and dealer workshops for each of its product lines, featuring hands-on instruction by industry experts. This year, those programs include the Born to Wrap Workshop and the Digital Printing Boot Camp Workshop.
The Born to Wrap Workshop, in conjunction with Digital EFX Wraps’s Matt Richart and Dallas Fowler, is a two-day workshop that covers a vehicle graphics job from design to installation. Attendees will learn tips on file setup and design, color matching and workflow, printing, cutting and laminating, job estimation, sales, and advertising; and preparation, application, and removal techniques.
The Digital Printing Boot Camp Workshop is a three-day, hands-on workshop teaching “10 core applications of every digital print shop.” Each student will create all 10 applications during the class. Students will learn how to troubleshoot, meet customer expectations, reduce/control inventory, optimize printing and finishing processes, schedule workflow, and more.
3M (3m.com) offers its Advanced Installation Training for vehicle wraps: three-day, in-depth hands-on training, discussion, and demonstrations. Held several times a year in St. Paul, Minnesota, these training opps are done by 3M Preferred Graphics Installers from 3M Technical Service. Other 3M training opportunities include two- to five-day vehicle-graphics training in conjunction with Lowen Corporation (Kansas); and three-day seminars on various graphics applications with an emphasis on vehicle graphics, in San Antonio, Texas hosted by Lodde Business Systems.
3M also offers two separate certification programs: 3M Certified Graphics Installation Company and 3M Certified Graphics Installer. And its 3M Graphics Video Library (3m.com) includes a number of instructional videos for graphics providers. The online videos cover topics including vehicle wraps for severe contours, how to profit from vehicle wraps, wall-graphic applications, and race-car wrap applications, to name just a few.
Tuned Color (tunedcolor.com), with offices in Pennsylvania and California, provides training and seminars on large-format print workflow, color management, design software, and employee training.
X-Rite (xrite.com) offers several training options. Its classroom training workshops, all held in Grand Rapids, Michigan, provides a range of classes on various topics including: Color Management for Wide Format; Color Formulation Workshop; Integrated Color Management; Introduction to Color Management; and others.
Onsite training is also available for all aspects of workflow, including input devices, monitor calibration, file preparation and handling, application setup, RIPs, printers, and color management. G7 Master Qualification is also available through onsite training.
X-Rite also offers various hosted online seminars (including Color Science for Beginners) and offers various seminar tours, including “The Fundamentals of Color and Appearance.” And its Pantone division (pantone.com) offers Pantone TV, for tips on how creatives can get the most out of their creative designs.
Beyond the tradeshow floor
Yes, the show floor is an important component of any tradeshow, but you can make the most of your tradeshow experience by going beyond the show floor to learn about new techniques and technologies that will benefit your shop. Many show offer seminars and workshops led by industry experts and these educational offers are a great way to learn more about the equipment and software currently utilized in your shop. They’re also a good opportunity to explore practices and techniques that you might have considered implementing, but have not yet had the time or resources to further pursue. Some of the industry opportunities include:
Graph Expo (gasc.org) will take place October 3-6 in Chicago’s McCormick Place. GASC has partnered with the Graphic Communication Institute of California Polytechnic State University (grci.calpoly.edu) to produce the conference program, featuring nearly 50 seminars spanning 20 subject areas. The in-depth, executive-level sessions and hands-on workshops address the needs of 11 distinct sectors within the print marketplace, including print providers working in wide format. See our August issue, page 22, for a complete preview of this event.
Graphics of the Americas (graphicsoftheamericas.com) will take place February 24-26, 2011, in Orlando. The conference schedule has yet to be announced, but the 2010 event offered more than 70 seminar sessions across 12 educational tracks, including: Large Format, Digital Printing, Production, Prepress, Management, Sales & Marketing, and others. A dozen additional sessions were offered in Spanish.
The ISA International Sign Expo (signexpo.org) again offered its ISA Discovery Seminar Series in the 2010 edition of its event. The seminar series offered interactive forums; hands-on workshops; and seminars that cover digital imaging, legislative regulations, technical industry application, and management, sales, and marketing strategies. The 2011 ISA Expo will be held in Las Vegas, April 28-30.
ISA also offers an International Sign Academy program via the association’s website (signs.org). The Sign Academy offers webinars and onsite seminars on topics including installation and service, production and fabrication, design, sales and marketing, and project management.
Attendees at PDN’s PhotoPlus Expo (photoplusexpo.com) can choose from a variety of seminars and hands-on workshops covering the digital-imaging industry. PMA 2010 will be held October 28-30 at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City.
In addition to a show floor with hundreds of exhibitors from the digital imaging industry, PMA 2011 (pmai.org) will offer dozens of educational sessions. Additionally, the conference will be bookended by conferences held by associations related to digital imaging, including the Digital Imaging Marketing Association (DIMA). PMA 2011 will be held in Las Vegas, September 8-10.
SGIA (sgia.org) has renewed its commitment to providing high-quality training for specialty graphics professionals, and for this year’s SGIA Expo, held October 12-15 in Las Vegas, the association has organized more than 20 educational sessions in five customized tracks, allowing a wealth of options for participants to customize their training experience to meet their specific needs and those of their business. Seminars run the gamut of topic areas, including graphics and sign, garment decoration, industrial application, graphics installation, and business management. In addition, SGIA will introduce ts first-ever Pre-Expo Business Development Conference on Tuesday, October 12, the day before the Expo floor opens. See a complete preview on page xx of this issue.
The conference and association option
For a specific and focused training and education experience, consider education-only conferences from a mix of associations and other groups across the industry.
The Association of Graphic Solutions Providers (IPA, ipa.org), now a part of IDEAlliance, offers webinars and conferences for pre-media professionals in the creative, corporate, print publishing, packaging, and in-plant sectors. In 2010, the association held a Technical Conference and a Leadership Conference.
Dscoop (dscoop.org), the Digital Solutions Cooperative, is a user-driven community of HP Graphic Arts press owners and their sales, marketing and production teams. The organization holds a yearly conference that brings together Indigo and other HP users from around the world. The 2010 event fcatured more than 90 sessions in business and sales, operations, label and packaging, and partner-solutions sessions, as well as large-format seminars for commercial printers focused on increasing service offerings and profit margins. Next year’s Dscoop conference will be held February 17-19, 2011, in Orlando, Florida.
In addition, the organization offers its Dscoop Summer School, online video business-building sessions comprising titles such as “What Is Your Customer Facing Strategy” “Emerging Market Opportunities,” and “Lean in Printing.” It also offers various webinars throughout the year.
IDEAlliance (idealliance.org) offers various webinars and conferences throughout the year. Its G7 Expert/Professional Training Classes for digital inkjet and screen print are offered in Chicago; San Diego; Rochester, New York; and Niles, Illinois for the remainder of 2010. Recertification for G7 is also available via webinar.
The Information Management Institute (imiconf.com) sponsors a number of conferences throughout the year, both in the US and Europe. Its three-day Inkjet Technology Showcase will take place September 8-10 this year in Baltimore and will showcase a range of experts discussing how the latest applications and markets are offering exciting new opportunities for inkjet technology, plus supplier presentations and a Developers Fair and a series of optional Inkjet Tech Talks.
Its 2011 US conference titles include: Inkjet Academy: Theory of Inkjet Technology, Annual Thermal Printing Conference, Annual Inkjet Printing Conference, and others. All held in January and February, locales to be announced.
The National Environmental Health & Safety Conference (nehsconference.org) brings together graphics industry professionals to discuss sustainability and safety issues confronting print providers. The 2010 conference, “Printing for a Sustainable Future” included in-depth discussions on sustainability strategies and why the “green” movement is important; specific session included, “Environmental Marketing: What Can You Say?” “Sustainable Paper: What You Need to Know,” “Setting Sustainability Goals and Objectives,” and others. The event also featured nearly a dozen industry exhibitors.
The National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL, napl.org) holds it 2010 Owners Conference in October in Chicago. Aimed at owners and general managers of small digital, commercial, and quick-print operations, the event features 2-1/2 days of educational sessions. Sessions include: “Communicating Your Green Initiatives,” “Marketing for Dummies,” “Pricing Integrated Services,” “Social Media 101/102/103” (three separate tracks), “In Your Customers’ Shoes,” and others.
The Association for Suppliers of Printing, Publishing, and Converting Technologies (NPES, npes.org) will holds its annual conference in Phoenix, November 18-20. Featuring a theme of “Print Reinvented 2011: The Future of Media Communications,” the event will address what the future holds for print and other graphics companies.
Hosted by the Printing Industries of America (PIA, printing.org), the Color Management Conference 2010 features advice from industry experts, anm array of technology to review and try, and various practitioners and experts on hand to help attendees better understand the intricacies of color management. Presented in partnership with the Digital Printing Council and the Foundation of Flexographic Technical Association, the event takes place December 5-7 in Phoenix.
PIA also has released the second edition of its “Printscape: A Crash Course in Graphic Communications” print and graphic-communications industry overview. Covering everything from industry history to current practices, the DVD-based training program and companion workbook are designed for employees who need a general overview of the print and graphics-communication industry. The program covers the industry and print markets, career paths, the complete printing process, health and safety in printing plants, and training and professional development.
The Signage and Graphics Summit (signageandgraphics.com) brings together top-tier executives from high-volume digital printing, sign, and screenprinting companies for discussions on best practices, new technologies, and business strategies. The 2011 event will be held at the Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa, Florida, January 26-28. Leading up to the event, the Summit has sponsored a series of webinars, including: “Finding Your Company’s Hidden Cash” (available for free download on bigpicture.net), “Growth Strategies in a Down Economy,” and “Positioning Your Business for the Recovery.” The event is owned by ST Media Group, parent company to The Big Picture magazine.
Xplor’s Document University (xduonline.org) is a year-round program from Xplor International (xplor.org) and offers instructional classes, webinars, online conferences, social-networking opportunities, podcasts, virtual vendor and user technology forums, plus an industry certification program.
And more educational resources
Beyond training from manufacturers, trade show seminars, and association conferences, still more training and education opportunities abound. The following are a small sampling of these offerings:
The Sonoco Institute within Clemson University’s Department of Graphics Communications (graphics.clemson.edu) offers seminars titled “Brand Color Management,” “Paperboard Packaging,” “Digital Proofing and Prototyping,” “Printed Electronics 101,” and others. In addition, it offers more than a half-dozen workshops and several webinars focusing on package printing.
The College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illnois (cod.edu/gat) offers certificates and degrees in Print Production and Digital Prepress Production; all classes are held on site. The Print Production option allows students to gain a thorough understanding of the production workflow for digital files from layout to the final printed piece. The Digital Prepress Production option includes page composition, electronic illustration, image enhancement, color correction, and website preparation.
At the three-day CorelDraw Unleashed Boot Camp (unleash.com) workshop, “campers” learn the ins and outs of CorelDraw and Corel PhotoPaint. Attendees receive a Boot Camp DVD-ROM with clip art, fonts, and software. Held in Cave Creek, Arizona, the camp takes place October 7-9 and December 9-11.
The University Printing and Imaging Management Department at Ferris State University (graphicarts.ferris.edu) in Big Rapids, Michigan, offers an associate’s degree in Printing & Imaging Technology as well as bachelor degrees in Printing Management and New Media Printing and Publishing.
The Graphic Communication Institute at California Polytechnic State University (grci.calpoly.edu) offers educational programs held throughout the year that cover prepress and print training; graphic arts research; and ink, toner, and substrate testing. Training in project management, quality control, marketing, sales, pricing and estimating is also offered. Workshops are held on the Cal Poly campus and utilize the school’s state-of-the-art training lab and prepress imaging and press room facilities. The Institute is partnering with Graph Expo in 2010 to help produce that event’s educational program.
The Institute for Graphics and Imaging (igi.org) hosts a number of conferences, seminars, and custom training programs designed for those in the printing and publishing industries. Recent workshops have included “Applied Adobe Flash Development,” “How to Successfully Introduce Video to Your Website,” and “Redesign Strategies and Techniques.” The organization is based in the Harry V. Quadracci Printing Education and Technology Center on the campus of the Waukesha County Technical College in Pewaukee, Wisconsin.
Pittsburg State University’s (pittstate.edu/git) Department of Graphics and Imaging Technologies in Pittsburg, Kansas, offers bachelor’s degrees in Applied Science and Technology (digital and print media) as well as Science in Technology (Graphic Communications Management and Commercial Graphics); it also offers a Master of Science degree with an emphasis on Print Management.
Prepress Training Solutions (prepresstraining.com) offers several courses on software geared toward the graphics industry, including Adobe Acrobat, Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator, QuarkXPress, and Enfocus PitStop Professional. Courses are available via an annual, monthly, or single-course subscription.
The School of Print Media at the Rochester Institute of Technology (cias.rit.edu) in Rochester, New York, offers an online Master of Science degree in Print Media. Course material is presented in various forms, including webinars, multimedia, video, audio, and one-on-one interaction with faculty via e-mail, chat, and teleconferences.
The Signage Foundation’s (thesignagefoundation.org) National Signage Research and Education Conference will take place October 13-14 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Held in collaboration with the University of Cincinnati’s College of Business and College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning, the event is aimed at sign manufacturers and end users as well as educators, planners, and regulators. The conference will offer two days of topical presentations, studio projects, and breakout sessions; this year’s theme is “Signage as Science, Technology, Art and Regulation.”
Across the Pond
If you don’t mind traveling for your educational opportunities, or perhaps you’d like to add some learning into your vacation time, consider the Centre for Fine Print Research at the University of the West of England in Bristol (uwe.ac.uk).
The Centre offers a score of Continuing Professional Development courses aimed at managers, artists, designers, craftspeople, and others. Current courses include: “Digital Print and Laser Cutting,” “Collotype,” “Laser Cutting and Book Structures,” “Photogravure,” and others; additional courses have included “Photographic Panorama Demonstration,” “Fine Art Production and Demonstration,” “Inkjet Printing on Different Substrates,” and “Committed to Print: Wide Format Master Class.”
Plus, says Paul Laidler, research associate for the Centre, “We can tailor a specific course to your company or individual professional needs (normally at least five people as a minimum make a cost effective group). Tailored courses include subjects not usually offered such as; color management, 3D rapid prototyping, and identification of print processes for museums and conservators.”
In addition, says Laidler, “If any readers of The Big Picture wanted to sign up for course we would be more than happy to accommodate them - as our short courses are open to anyone who is interested or in the country at the time.”