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.

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:

My customer asked me…

“How did Porter Airlines get its own water brand?” Promotional items are one great way to gain exposure for your brand. You’ve probably seen items like shirts, key chains, pens, water bottles…wait water bottles? Now there’s an interesting choice. Why of all the things would a company choose a water bottle as a promotional item? … Read more →

My customer asked me…

“What are the latest trends in coatings?” When you walk into your local book store, what’s the first thing you see that will often influence your decision to pick up a book or not? The cover, of course! It often captures the theme of the book and provides an initial impression to the reader. With … Read more →

My customer asked me…

“What’s the deal with photo books?” Digital printing provides an alternative to offset lithography for those looking to produce a limited number of books. Furthermore, digital printing also allows for variable printing, whereby a unique image is printed with every pass. This print on demand (POD) technology has introduced a tidal wave of potential for … Read more →

My customer asked me

My customer asked me: “Can I print using electronic ink like the Esquire cover?” The first time I saw E-Ink in action was on Oct. 1 at Ryerson University’s Press Inauguration at the School of Graphic Communications Management. As Chair, Abhay Sharma, held the October issue of Esquire magazine up high above his head. I … Read more →