The art of technology

The “print market” is a large industry which includes the traditional magazine, book publishing and commercial printing establishments. The past decade has created spin off businesses large and small which are growing at a fast pace. These businesses include wide-format printers, inkjet and digital toner based technologies. Also included in this mix is signage, instore displays, direct marketing promotional printing, branding, packaging, labels and wrappers.
Variable data printing is also used for mass mailings and targets consumers based on their hobbies, trade or profession.

Locally, Amsterdam Printing was originally founded by the Singer family in 1898. It is now part of the Taylor Companies which is a one of the largest privately held companies in the United States. Taylor is headquartered in Mankato, Minnesota with multiple subsidiaries located in the United States. Taylor also is also located in countries such as Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the United Kingdom, Sweden, France, Bulgaria, India, China and the Philippines.

StickerMule/Print Bear /Noteworthy and Quad Graphics have been a staple in the region for over 35 years and offers relatively stable employment opportunities and long -term career paths. These local companies combined, employ over 1500 employees. These print businesses employ pre-press graphic designers, sales, marketing, accounting purchasing, human resources and production staff.

The newcomers to the industry are large franchise establishments such as United Parcel Service stores, Kinkos /FedEX and Staples that offer customers in house print, copy and short run color services. Furthermore, there are an additional 77 printing businesses in the Capital District. Related paper manufactures such as Finch Pryun and Mohawk Paper offer additional opportunities for FM graduates.

According to Joann Whitcher, contributing writer for Printing News, states that ink jet printing has great future potential.

“For inkjet print providers, the new era provides a unique opportunity:  

∫ Seventy percent of consumers younger than 35 who receive a direct mail will take more than 2 minutes to look at it

∫ The expected value of the personalized gift market by 2021 is expected to be $31 billion — up 55 percent from 2016 (Technavio + Exploring Personalization, Sparks & Honey, Sept. 2018)

∫ Twenty-five percent of consumers are open to sharing their data in return for a personalized experience (HP)

∫ Fifty percent of Millennials and GenZ express a desire for personalized products (HP)”

These businesses seek out new employees who understand graphic technologies. Most are willing to provide additional on-the-job training to new employees to learn production, prepress, sales, advertising and graphic design production skills.

Today’s software based technologies are centered in learning Apple and Windows based computers systems. Adobe software is used for photo manipulation, webpage design, graphic design, animation, digital illustration, packaging design and branding campaigns.

Graphic designers today have to learn many skills to multitask various demands in the graphic design field. The Media Arts And Digital Technology program at FMCC provides an Associate of Applied Science degree to prepares students for career paths to these businesses. The program recently acquired two pieces of equipment which represent some of the new technologies such as f wide-format printing and digital cutting. The program recently acquired an Epson 30600 60-inch wide printer is a solvent ink based print system capable of printing on a wide variety of substrates including vinyl labels. In addition, the Zund digital cutting machine was added to the program to complement label production. The Zund can cut, wood, light metal, vinyl, corrugated board, glass and fabric. This equipment provides a unique opportunity for students to design labels from concepts to final print and cut stages.

This article was written by Joseph A. Marcuccio, professor media arts and digital technologies at Fulton-Montgomery Community College.

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