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Professional Associations and Resources

A sourcelist of organizations for print providers.

Big Picture

How do you stay current and garner new information about the market and trends? One good option is to join a trade association. These associations bring together companies with similar interests and challenges.

Most of these organizations offer publications, website resources, and trade shows/conferences aimed directly at their membership. Depending on the mission and makeup of these organizations, they: help members solve problems through seminars and workshops; offer networking, group-buying discounts, and market research; help set or evaluate industry standards and bestow awards; and generally aid in bringing new products/ technologies to the forefront (or at least make members more aware of these technologies).

One trend that shouldn't surprise: Notice how several organizations' names have changed in recent years to encompass a broader, more general member base"?the former International Prepress Association has become the Association of Graphic Solutions Providers, for example, while the Screenprinting & Graphic Imaging Association has become the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association. This mirrors the graphic-arts marketplace as a whole, putting the emphasis on providers of digital solutions rather than specific position or technology niches.

What follows is a sampling of trade associations and resource organizations that should prove of interest to most print providers. Note that we've also included several organizations whose memberships are typically limited to manufacturers or suppliers. Although print providers may not be able to join these groups, they often provide a wealth of information on the industry, business tips, and more on their websites. A sourcelist of organizations for print providers.

American National Standards Institute (ANSI )


ANSI is a private, nonprofit organization that administers and coordinates US voluntary standardization and conformity assessment systems by establishing consensus among qualified groups.

The Association for Suppliers of Printing, Publishing and Converting Technologies (NPES) (originally National Printing Equipment Association)


NPES is a trade association whose members manufacture and distribute equipment, systems, software, and supplies used in printing, publishing, and converting. The association provides a variety of research and educational programs, has a government affair representative, works on developing safety and technical standards, and more. The NPES headquarters houses the Graphic Arts Show Company (owned by NPES, NAPL, and PIA), Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation, and the Graphics Communication Council.

Association of Graphic Solutions Providers (IPA) (formerly International Prepress Association)


IPA is a trade association consisting of graphic communications and graphic-arts supplier companies. It aims to unite and educate leading providers of integrated graphic solutions. IPA member companies provide services ranging from concept and design to prepress and asset management, from traditional printing and fulfillment to digital printing and electronic output. Offers research studies, publications, and IPA University.

Association of Professional Color Imagers (APCI)


A division of PMA, the APCI develops and promotes the professional color laboratory industry, through marketing research and business resources. Members include portrait/wedding labs, general service labs, and commercial labs.

ASTM International (formerly American Society for Testing and Materials)


Provides a global forum for the development of voluntary consensus technical standards for materials, products, systems, and services. Standards developed at ASTM are the work of over 30,000 ASTM members from more than 100 countries.

Cooperation for the Integration of Processes in Prepress, Press and Postpress (CIP4)


Members participate in focused working groups to define future versions of JDF (Job Definition Format) and to study user requirements. Members include vendors, consultants, and endusers in the print-communications and graphic-arts industry.

Digital Printing & Imaging Association (DPI)


A trade association representing firms producing digital graphics, primarily in the US, but also in countries throughout the world. Members include digital printers to screen printers to photo labs and textile printers to reprographic shops. Holds a yearly trade show and conference with SGIA; offers articles and information on the latest technologies, government affairs, and business management; features purchasing discounts; and offers a toll-free DPI hotline.

Digital Imaging Marketing Association (DIMA)


A division of Photo Marketing Association, DIMA conducts national and regional conferences that include sessions on the production and sale of large-format graphics. DIMA tracks the market through research studies, shares success stories, and helps members stay up-to-date on the technology front. Digital Quick Start Seminars initiate digital beginners into the basics of creating digital images, running a digital imaging business, and the future of digital imaging.

Giclee Printers Association


Formed in 2001, this organization attempts to define industry standards and educate consumers to quality control and longevity issues surrounding digital inkjet printing of fine art. This group certifies fine-art printmakers as TruDecor and Tru- Giclee quality.

Graphic Arts Technical Foundation (GATF)


Serves the graphic communications community as a resource for technical information and offers training, research, consulting, publications, and more. GATF facilities include state-of-theart prepress, pressrooms, testing laboratories, libraries, and classrooms.

Printing Industries of America (PIA)"?Worldwide graphic-arts trade association, with 13,000 member companies. Consolidated with GATF in 1999.

Graphic Arts Marketing Information Service (GAMIS)"?A special interest group of the Printing Industries of America (PIA), GAMIS is a market-research association for the graphic-arts industry with members from diverse segments of the printing industry. GAMIS produces three to five proprietary market research/information studies per year.

Industrial Fabrics Association International


A trade association whose more than 2,000 member companies represent the international specialty fabric marketplace. Members' products span the entire spectrum of the specialty fabrics industry, from fiber and fabric suppliers to manufacturers of end products, equipment, and hardware.

International Color Consortium (ICC)


Creates and encourages the standardization and evolution of an open, vendor-neutral, cross-platform color-management system architecture and components.

International Digital Enterprise Alliance (IDEAlliance)


IDEAlliance is a nonprofit organization that advances crossindustry solutions for publishing and content-related processes by developing standards and identifying best practices. Has fostered the development and adoption of standards such as GRACoL, ICE, PRISM, SGML, and XML. Offers conferences, webinars, committees, and more.

International Publishing Management Association (IPMA)


IPMA is a professional association dedicated exclusively to the needs of in-house corporate publishing, printing, distribution, and design professionals. IPMA provides in-plant managers with education, certification, networking, and other programs and resources.

International Reprographic Association (IrgA)


Founded to help companies serving the large-format document reproduction needs of architectural, engineering, and manufacturing firms. Many of these companies have evolved to offer large-format graphics, so its annual conference, trade show, and educational programming include pertinent wide-format information. Offers mounting and laminating training seminars throughout the year.

International Sign Association (ISA)


Founded in 1944 as the National Electric Sign Association (NESA), ISA members represent manufacturers, users, and suppliers of on-premise signs and sign products. Annual conference and trade show features sessions, equipment, and materials primarily related to large-format graphics.



Established as a resource for advertisers, designers, and their clients to research and learn more about the lenticular process.

National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL)


Chartered in 1933, NAPL is a trade association for commercial printers and related members of the graphic-arts industry. Develops conferences, periodicals, consulting, and economic data and analysis for members.

National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP)


Formed in 1998, NAPP is a trade association for Adobe Photoshop education, training, and news. It is led by Photoshop experts, authors, consultants, trainers, and educators.

Networked Graphics Production (NGP)


NGP is an industry-wide initiative for automating the entire print production process by creating an efficient, collaborative environment "?from idea to delivery. This integration is a result of industry-leading companies working together to define, develop, test, and implement plug-and-play systems that are built using open standards, such as JDF.

Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA)


Trade association for companies selling out-of-home advertising.

Photo Marketing Association (PMA)


Unites diverse professionals in the imaging industry; representing more than 18,000 members in 100+ countries. PMA membership is open to any firm doing a substantial portion of its business in photo-imaging retailing, processing (digital and silver halide), or service work.

Point of Purchase Advertising Institute (POPAI)


With more than 1000 members in 18 countries, this trade association of the P-O-P industry promotes and advances P-O-P advertising through research, education, trade forums, and legislative efforts.

PrintImage International (formerly National Association of Quick Printers)


A trade association for the quick and small commercial print industry; members also include graphic-arts companies, educational organizations, and supplier firms. Offers conferences, research, programs, products, seminars, and discounts from suppliers and consultants; as well as Print Owners Boot Camp and PrintImage Owners Conference.

Print On Demand Initiative (PODi)


PODi is an industry consortium that promotes interoperability through standards in digital printing technology, especially PPML.

Professional Digital Imaging Association (PDIA) www.greatoutput.com

PDIA is an independent, member-directed organization that provides practical information and education about preparing, proofing, printing, protecting, finishing, displaying, and selling digital images. Members include professional/amateur photographers, graphic designers, and digital-graphics producers.

Professional Photographers Association (PPA)


This association for professional photographers, with more than 14,000 members in 64 countries, provides education, professional recognition, conferences, advocacy, competitions, and business discounts. Also credentials imaging professionals and educators.

Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA) (formerly Screenprinting & Graphic Imaging Association)


International association of screen printing, digital printing, embroidery and pad printers, and suppliers. Provides publications, industry surveys, management resources, government safety issues, and information about the market. Hosts the annual SGIA Convention & Exposition for companies servicing the digital and screen-printing markets.

Society of Environmental Graphic Design (SEGD)


Association of designers of environmental and architectural graphics who often incorporate 3D, large-format graphics into their work. Members also include fabricators, artisans, suppliers, students, educators, and allied professionals. Provides resources for design specialists in the field of environmental graphic design, architecture, and landscape, interior, and industrial design. SEGD members are leading designers of directional and attraction sign systems, destination graphics, identity programs, exhibits, and themed environments.

Specifications for Web Offset Publications (SWOP)


Plays an active role in the acceptance, usage, and certification of various proofing systems.

Trade Show Exhibitors Association (TSEA)


TSEA is aimed at marketing and management professionals who use exhibits to promote and sell their products, as well as to those who supply them with products and services. Provides education, advocacy, promotion, communication, service, and member-only discounts.



Xplor is a professional association for those involved the design, production, and distribution of variable-data documents, ranging from high volumes of statements, bills, insurance policies, and personalized direct mail to very customized marketing materials.

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