Diana Varma is an Instructor at the School of Graphic Communications Management at Ryerson University and the Owner of ON-SITE First Aid & CPR Training Group, a health & safety company that provides training to the Graphic Arts Industry.

Financing 101

So you have a great business idea and you’re ready to move forward with it, but how do you secure the necessary capital to build your dream? There are a number of options available, which will be discussed in brief and additional insights will be left up to the financial pros in the “Resources” section.

Research and development 101

A strong research and development (R&D) focus allows individuals, businesses, industries and the world to rise up against mediocrity and achieve greatness. Technological advancements happen because of R&D efforts, and without the numerous innovators throughout history who believed that the printing press could be improved, we may still be printing on converted wine presses.

Product profile: automation

Automation is the process of using technology to make repetitive tasks easier and to reduce human intervention to a minimum. Increased technological advancements enable enhanced levels of productivity in our everyday lives, from automated home appliances to alarm clocks that wake us up when we want, to cars that automatically regulate the internal temperature of the vehicle. We all experience automation daily in our personal lives, and we can also experience automation in our printing lives, too. From front-end processes, to the pressroom floor, to bindery and post-bindery, the automated options for our industry are growing at a steady pace.

Product Profile: Inks

Most ink technologies have remained largely unmodified in the recent decades. Not much has changed in the many years of applying ink on paper or film or plastic. What’s new and different, however, is conductive ink technology. By taking existing printing equipment and coupling it with the desire to solve a unique problem, conductive ink is changing the traditional role of printing and expanding its applications. Conductive ink is, therefore, an example of an ink technology that has broadened the scope of printing, paving the way for the future of what it means to “print.”

Graphic Design 101

There is a fine line between good design and great design. There is also a fine line between the design work you choose to complete yourself and the design work you hire a professional to conceptualize and create for you. Below you will find numerous resources to produce a design yourself, as well as the resources available to hire the right designer.

Education and training 101

As our economy is more dependent than ever upon intellectual capital (versus physical buildings or machines), the role of continuous education and training is all the more relevant and necessary to succeed in today’s business world.

Product Profile: This month’s topic: MIS systems

Welcome to the (sometimes complex and intimidating) world of Management Information Systems (MIS) for the graphic arts industry! With so many options to choose from (and so much techo-babble to wade through), it can be difficult to narrow down the features and benefits of each system’s offerings. Today’s examination of four MIS providers includes HIFLEX, Avanti, EFI and Prism. This is meant to be a brief overview of each company’s product and their capabilities. The focus is on the products’ unique position in the marketplace, and not a comprehensive examination of each system. Although I can provide a concise explanation of each solution, I cannot do any company justice in one article. Therefore, there is a web address beside each explanation where you can find a great deal more information about all of the solutions available.

Marketing 101

Marketing is about understanding and satisfying customer needs within a target market. Marketing is not just a one-time event (such as an in-store promotional campaign) but is a continuous process of researching, promoting, selling and distributing the product or service in a unique way to compete in a marketplace.

Product profile: Eco-friendly products

We have all heard of third-party environmental certifications (like FSC, SFI and AFF), which are very important in maintaining ecological accountability in the printing industry, but what if we could all do more?

The following will document two Canadian printing companies who are forging ahead to the next generation of what it means to be environmentally sustainable. Hemlock Printers Ltd. and Metro Label Group Inc. have both committed to their eco-mandates and used outside-of-the-box strategies to lighten their environmental impact, including making decisions to use eco-friendly products.

Product Profile: Large-format Digital

As businesses become progressively more advertising-reliant (including signage for every imaginable product and service on the market) and companies drive to customize this advertising to an increasingly focused audience, large-format digital printers will be at the forefront of production for short-run needs. Digital flatbed and roll-to-roll systems allow printing houses to provide efficient schedules and produce as few as one copy to satisfy increasing customer expectations. Increasing use of vibrant colours and detailed graphics demand high-quality equipment that will please even the toughest client’s critical eye. Below are seven large-format digital devices that will print everything from signage, to vehicle wraps, to fabrics.

Management 101

Welcome to the first of Graphic Arts Magazine’s 101 series (the “non-print-related” column for the print professional)! The intent of this article is to provide you with some basic groundwork into proactive management techniques and offer you links to books and electronic resources to learn more for yourself.

“Management” is often defined as the process of dealing with or controlling things or people. As with any activity involving human interaction, there are variables involved that can make or break a successful manager. It is important to remember that employees seldom quit companies. Rather, employees quit their managers in the form of leaving the company.