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Design students learn about the print world

Tuesday, 21 June 2016
By Print 21 Online Article

James Cryer at St George TAFE College in Sydney

Graphic design students at St George TAFE College in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire gained some valuable insight into the inner workings of the printing industry in a class presented last week by industry gadfly James Cryer.

Cryer’s opening remarks included what he called the “alphabet soup” of the industry, as he proceeded to rattle off a string of initials: the PIAA, LIA, JPE, LATMA, FESPA, the NPAs, drupa – “all of which collectively spell out the shape and size of who we are.”

He noted later that, “as somewhat of an indictment on our powers of self-promotion, the students were not familiar with any of these bodies but they are now!”

Cryer described the variety of roles within print – not only in design but extending through to operators, customer service, production and sales plus technical sales, colour-management specialists and other roles. He said the new printing industry offered “wonderful opportunities for women, as it offers that unique blend of visual creativity combined with a strong customer-focus. And because most printing companies are relatively small, the boss probably even knows your name – not something enjoyed in all industries!”

He suggested that the industry had become so over-specialised that there was now a greater need for people who understood the entire print supply-chain – from origination, through pre-press to the various printing processes as well as bindery and finishing options. He also explained how embellishing can add dramatically to the finished result.

Cryer highlighted “the great chasm” that exists between various sectors within the broad graphic-arts industry, and the lack of interaction between designers and printers.

He proposed that printing companies should volunteer to open their doors to designers who wish to broaden their knowledge, and invite them to spend a day or more on work experience, “getting a feel for what a printing company does, how different processes are used, and to experience the challenge and excitement of producing beautifully printed and finished works.”

The JDA Recruitment director suggested the PIAA could play a coordinating role by encouraging more interaction between printing companies and the design sector. He also urged paper companies to engage more with design students – “the more they know about paper types and specifications, the more it will help the industry.”

Cryer said he believed the talk was well received and expressed hope that it would be a first shot in a campaign to bring about closer relations between various groups within the printing industry.


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