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Where’s the young printing talent?

So much has been made about the transition over to new media and the way we now and in the future, will communicate with our customers, prospects, consumers and the like. The graphic arts industry has adapted quickly to the changing tides – and back in the early 90’s embraced how the Internet, digital print and digital document formats, would and have changed the market. But that has left us with a pretty major hole in talent.

The industry isn’t doing enough to bring in and nurture young talent that understands the principles of print. Be it commercial, label or package there are not enough 20-somethings to go around with understanding of how the process really works and how to produce for it.

See print isn’t dead; it’s changed – but certainly not dead. We contact with print every day and in some regards – more of it. While commercial and publication circulations have fallen off, the consumer goods companies have increased their freshness on shelf at a significantly higher pace in the last 5 years. Redesigns and new news to the shopper, has circulated packaging faster than ever before. All this has led to a shift in print volumes from one category to another – but print is still very much alive.

We can’t blame the universities really – RIT, Clemson, UW Stout and many others, all have respectable programs. Over the years they have shifted some of their print education resources to take advantage of the trends in “New Media” and capture those students that would have passed or left the traditional programs. The unfortunate thing is that many of them also have top-notch packaging programs that have continued to prosper and in fact grow significantly over the same time period. With packaging programs on the rise and a strong printing education base – why haven’t the schools taken advantage and shifted the focus of print education from commercial / pub to packaging print?

There is a world of opportunity here and some great technical needs to really engage students in packaging print and engineering and produce the savvy talent that we have needed for so long. As an industry we should consider or future and help focus our educators on producing the talent resources we need now and in the coming years.

  • by Phil
  • posted at 12:11 pm
  • August 5, 2011

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