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.

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.

My customer asked me: “How can I use Google web applications?”

Head Honcho: “I need you to find the most up-to-date and current trends in our industry. When I mean current, I mean up-to-the-minute trends that will provide us with serious opportunities. You need to understand that this is important stuff here.”

You: “How would you like me to do this?”

Head Honcho: “Use any measure you need to – talk to people, search industry magazines, whatever. However you need to do it is fine – just make sure it gets done.”

You: “Okay, I’ll see what I can come up with…”

My customer asked me: “What’s new and interesting in children’s book production?”

We all remember our favourite books as kids. Whether you were a Hardy Boys aficionado, Winnie the Pooh devotee or Dr. Seuss enthusiast, we all have much loved books from our childhood that still hold true to us today. In taking a recent stroll through my local Indigo store, it became evident that children’s books have become much more elaborate, high-tech and innovative than I remember.

My customer asked me… “What is poo paper?”

Ahhh, yes. The original recycled paper! Poo Paper manufacturing is a fantastic use of natural resources to create a practical product that’s made from… poo! Organizations from all over the world, such as The Great Elephant Poo Poo Paper Company and Creative Paper Wales, make paper from the fibrous materials left in elephant, sheep, horse, cow, panda, reindeer, rhino and even wombat poo. Due to the digestive systems of these animals, up to 60 per cent of the food consumed (including grasses, leaves, bamboo and fruits) exits the animal undigested, leaving fibres that make great paper.

My customer asked me…

“If you started over, would you choose printing again?”

The printing industry is often characterized as a “dying industry” that has to contend with forever-progressing digital technology imposing on its marketplace. Large-format printed signs are being replaced by larger-than-life video screens. Printed newspapers don’t provide information fast enough for our news-hungry society that can get up-to-the-second information via cellular phones. Dynamic web ads are replacing printed flyers and brochures because of their inexpensive and interactive nature. All around us we see examples of the digital world merging into the printed world. In many instances, it’s more like a hostile takeover.

In light of this view, there is an interesting question to be asked: “If you could start over, would you still choose a printing-related field?” A LinkedIn discussion question, posed by industry professional Marc Mapes, sparked a number of interesting responses that gave way to this article. The question he posed was this: