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Back to the Basics: Training and Education

(September 2008) posted on Thu Sep 11, 2008

Timing may be perfect to return to the classroom.

click an image below to view slideshow

By Gregory Sharpless

IPA: The Association of Graphic Solutions Providers ( offers webinars as well as conferences for pre-media professionals in the creative, corporate, print publishing, packaging, and in-plant sectors. Webinars (live as well as recorded) are offered in categories ranging from Graphics Workflow, Graphics Applications (software-specific), and Color Management to Business Improvement, Solution Selling, and Sustainability. The association’s three conferences include: the IPA Technical Conference (June 8-10, Chicago); the Business Development Conference (January 28-30, Scottsdale, Arizona); and its CEO forum.

National Environmental Health & Safety Conference: The annual NESH conference ( addresses the latest trends and updates on sustainability. Topics at the 2008 edition of the event included: "Learn to Comply with Regulations & Avoid Fines and Penalties," "Find Out How to Become a Sustainable Printer," "Update Your Hazmat Materials Transportation Certification," and "Discuss How HR Can Support Your EHS Initiatives." The 2009 event will be held March 16-18 in Indianapolis.

The Signage and Graphics Summit: The only event that brings together top-tier executives from high-volume digital-printing, sign, and screen-printing companies, the SGS event (www.signage allows attendees to discuss common challenges, learn best practices, and explore new avenues for growth as these industries converge. The 2009 event, held January 26-28 at the Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego, will have a special emphasis on sustainability and lean-manufacturing issues. Specific sessions will include: "Sustainability for Competitive Advantage," "Lean Manufacturing in a Lean Economy," "Profiles in Sustainability," "Using Lean Ideas to Get Jobs to Production Faster," "Establishing a Leadership Culture," and others, plus the event’s popular "SGS Buyers’ Panel." The event is owned by ST Media Group, parent company to The Big Picture magazine.

WrapQuest: Hosted by the Professional Decal Application Association (PDAA,, WrapQuest ‘08 will be co-located with the SGIA Expo in the lobby of the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia, October 15-18. The event will include vehicle-wrap demonstrations by PDAA Master Certified installers; after each demo, participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and try out various manufacturers’ films on different vehicles. Also new to WrapQuest ‘08 is the world’s first WrapQuest Speed Championship, which will consist of daily short exhibitions among PDAA contestants.

Xplor Document University: XDU, from document-technology association Xplor International (, offers more than 30 pre-recorded classes via its XDU Online division, and adds classes each month. The 2008 Xplor Document University Conference and Exhibition was co-located with the On Demand Conference in Boston and offered 20 courses on document printing and related topics.

Other training opportunities
There are a few other training opportunities out there as well. What follows are a handful of events and groups that don’t neatly fit into the earlier categories.

CorelDraw Unleashed Boot Camp: A three-day training session in Cave Creek, Arizona, the CorelDraw Boot Camp ( is designed to help users get the most out of CorelDraw and Corel PhotoPaint.

Graphic Communications Institute at Cal Poly: GrCi ( is an outreach effort of Cal Poly’s Graphic Communication department, providing industry professionals with access to the university’s resources via workshops, custom training programs, consulting, and research initiatives. Workshops for the printing and imaging industries are held on the Cal Poly campus in San Luis Obispo, California. Workshops in 2008-2009 include: "Sustaining the Printshop in a Greening World," "Lean Printing: Pathway to Success," "FSC Certification," "Flexo Bootcamp," and others.

Institute for Graphics and Imaging: Located in the Harry V. Quadracci Printing Education and Technology Center on the campus of the Waukesha County Technical College in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, IGI ( is dedicated to the development of workshops and training programs for printing companies, publishers, and related industries.

Prepress Training Solution: This online training and testing company ( offers subscription-based courses on prepress and graphics. Training is available 24/7 and takes place in a Web-based software simulator (Flash Player is required). Current courses include: "Color Management Theory," "Troubleshooting Digital Files," "ICC Profiling," "Soft Proofing," and a various application/software-specific courses (FlightCheck, Adobe Bridge, Dynagram, Creo Preps, etc).

Gregory Sharpless is editor/associate publisher of The Big Picture.