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.

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.

My customer asked me: What do I buy the print professional on my gift list?

It’s that time of year again when snow delicately blankets the world, the smell of freshly baked cookies wafts from the oven and tiny hooves pitter-patter on rooftops.

You’ve made a list, you’ve checked it twice, but you still can’t find that perfect gift for the print guru in your life. Well, you’ve come to the right place! Below are seven perfect gifts for the designer, colour expert, paper-enthusiast and press person on your list.

My customer asked me

“What kinds of clever packaging exist today (part 3 of 3)?”

In this third and final look at unique packaging ideas, the power of packaging is exemplified. The examples below perform double duty by containing the item for sale, as well as going the extra mile to catch the consumer off guard. All of the products mentioned (from speakers to sneakers) are everyday items that have been brought to life and are uniquely positioned on store shelves because of their packaging. Let’s take a look at the downright quirky and “unexpected” examples below.

My customer asked me

“What kinds of clever packaging exist today (part 2 of 3)?”

In this second installment of outside-of-the-box packaging ideas, eco-sensitive and cohesively designed packages are the topics of discussion. It’s exciting to see a paradigm shift; whereby consumers are driving demand not only for what’s on store shelves, but also how those products are packaged. Whether consumers demand that a package becomes more eye-catching, physically smaller or less harmful to the planet, our voices are being heard… and listened to. This is an exciting time!

My customer asked me: “What kinds of clever packaging exist today?”

Those who know me know I love outside-of-the-box ideas. From design concepts, to interesting uses for everyday products, to fun, quirky (and sometimes useless) merchandise. I love it all! I also enjoy finding clever and interestingly packaged products. Smart businesses and intelligent marketers are always trying to set themselves apart from their competition, which not only means differentiating the products and services they provide, but also ways in which these products are packaged.