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Preparing the Next Gen of Graphic Arts Re-Educating the Industry by Harvey Robert Levenson, Ph. D., Cal Poly

Posted Friday, June 27, 2014 by Jules VanSant.

PPI has a strong partnership with CalPoly through an educational endowment created by Brian Dammeier. This endowment allows us to bring education to our members and the region while providing the faculty and students at the university a liaison to greater information and opportunities within the companies residing in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Alaska & Hawaii. Printlandia the Series is one of those programs.

harvey-levenson Preparing the NextGen of Graphic Arts Re-educating the Industry
By Harvey Robert Levenson, Ph. D., Cal Poly

Harvey Robert Levenson, Ph. D., is Professor Emeritus and Director of the Graphic Communication Institute at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Reprinted with approval from the author, published originally in Output Links in June 2014

My intention was not to write an article about Cal Poly. However, I cannot help but present a case study of success in preparing the future human resources of the graphic arts and for re- educating those already actively part of the printing, publishing and related graphic communication profession.With a focus on hands-on practical education and training, Cal Poly has deployed a methodology that has bred an outpouring of accolades from the graphic arts industry that resulted in a substantially industry-funded institute for the purpose of developing and delivering education and training services to the profession.

grci_door Founded in 1946. Cal Poly’s Graphic Communication department today maintains an enrollment of 300 unusually bright and focused students drawn from the top 10 percent to 15 percent of their high school and community college graduating classes. Approximately two- thirds of the qualified applicants to Cal Poly’s Graphic Communication program are turned away and many of those who are accepted have attained high school grade point averages of over 4.0 (honor students) and some have achieved combined SAT scores of over 1400 (1600 is maximum).

In operation for over 55 years, the department has over 3,000 alumni, many of whom have reached high levels of responsibility and authority in the graphic arts profession. Most have been educated in the Graphic Communication department’s 33,000 feet of laboratories that have been kept modern through yearly outpourings of equipment and financial gifts from industry.

As one of the largest and known programs of its kind in the nation, the department boasts 100 percent placement for students wanting to enter the industry upon graduation. Indeed, most receive multiple offers by the largest and most prestigious companies in the industry that recruit on the Cal Poly Campus. Part of this success comes from an internationally known faculty of professors, scholars, researchers, authors, and consultants. However, most of the success comes from Cal Poly’s long-standing philosophy of “learn-by-doing.”

EducationImportant When I first arrived on the scene at Cal Poly in 1983, I was skeptical about this philosophy and thought that it was just a cute and catchy cliché that the university used to attract students with technical interests who were not particularly academically oriented. I learned quickly that this was a far cry from the truth. In fact, Cal Poly attracts, and has for years, some of the most academically oriented, critical thinking, and creative student bodies that I have ever encountered. In fact, in 2001, it was a Cal Poly Graphic Communication student who won the coveted Outstanding Student of the Year award for Academic Excellence. This is the highest student award give out each year by the university.

At Cal Poly, classroom lectures represent the under girding of the students’ education. However, it is the laboratory that is their home and where the real learning takes place. It is in the laboratory where experimentation, testing, and trial and error takes place, and it is where the students are able to apply their creative thinking in coming up with new ways to solve old problems. What is unique about these laboratories is that they resemble industry departments equipped with some of the most modern and sophisticated equipment available. This approach has been so successful on the undergraduate level that we now employ the same “learn-by-doing” philosophy in the growing number of training programs that we are called upon to conduct for industry. The new Graphic Communication Institute at Cal Poly will epitomize this philosophy and is being further developed into a premier resource for industry to participate in research, testing, and product evaluations, as well as training, seminars, workshops, and conferences.

Philosophical Premises Underlying Successful Education and Training In the Graphic Arts
Central to Cal Poly’s Graphic Communication department philosophy are a number of premises that apply equally to education and training in the graphic arts industry of the twenty-first century. They are:

—Education does not take place in a block of time. Whatever it takes at GrC-Heidelberg-sheet-fed-presswebthe university; four, five, six years or even more could represent the boundaries within which a block of education takes place. The time involved depends heavily on the individual being educated, the education or skills being developed, and the complexity of the subject matter under investigation. The four-year metaphor for a Bachelor’s degree, for example, has fallen and continuing education of individuals already in industry is just that, “continuous.” If a career is to remain viable, vital, and productive, ongoing training and re-training has to be defined and expected for nearly every position in the graphic arts on the management and production levels.

—The university is the last bastion of idealism. It is the laboratory and its ability to create situations simulating industry that provides students with a window on their professional future. That future includes the expectation that they will propose and simulate ways to improve the industry by drawing on their university experiences. It is through tests, and trial and error, that students develop a practical understanding of what works and what does not work in achieving desired outcomes. A university providing the opportunity for students to experience ideal conditions, or conditions that are as close to ideal as possible, graduates people who bring some of that idealism to industry when they graduate and, hence,improve industry. They bring new ways to solve old problems and with each generation entering field, industry benefits from continuing improvement. The Graphic Communication Institute at Cal Poly and the laboratories included are designed to provide those already in industry with opportunities to experience some of the same idealism in a practical setting that is part of our regular academic program.

—Education is more than a bachelor’s degree that prepares one for an occupation. Reading, writing, speaking, and overall communication skills are as important as technical skills in the graphic arts industry of the twenty-first century. Education and training in the graphic arts must address these issues on all levels. “Human” skills are increasingly what drive companies to success. More specifically, marketing, sales, customer service, and related training are as important, or even more important, than training to operate a piece of equipment. Equipment increasingly requires less human intervention and is run by microprocessors and other electronic devices. Hence, the training needs in industry are moving more to preparing people to develop those business skills needed to generate business and to keep equipment running.

—Education is a service that must address the needs of undergraduates and industry professionals. At Cal Poly we have structured our Graphic Communication program to address the needs of our regular students and also industry professionals who rely on us for continuing education and training. Our labs are equipped with the type of technology used by industry, thus providing opportunities to simulate real business and production conditions. From prepress to press to post press, the same equipment is used by our regular students and by industry professionals alike.

—A viable educational program, such as a successful business, must have a well thought-out and flexible strategic plan. At Cal Poly our Graphic Communication department has a strategic plan addressing forecasts for curriculum reform, laboratory development, faculty and staff development, and related topics. We attempt to project six years ahead and such thinking is the basis for educating our students and training industry professionals on what they will need to know in the future. The six years comes from the opportunity to reform curriculum every two years and then assuming that at least some students well graduate in four years, though many take longer. What do we really prepare students with and what do we really train industry professionals for? From the philosophical premises previously noted come two categories of training needed to develop skill sets for employees of the graphic arts in the 21st century. They are mental or cognitive skills and physical skills.

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Does the Printing Industry Association have a Position on the Carbon Neutral initiative?

Posted Wednesday, June 11, 2014 by Jules VanSant.

Does the Printing Industry Association have a Position on the Carbon Neutral initiative?
Posted on June 11, 2014 by ppiadmin


A member emailed me the other day with the following question:

Does the printing trade association(s) have a position on the Carbon Neutral initiative? It appears some printers are claiming “Carbon Neutral” and we were just wondering the validity of that claim since some sources call it a “Carbon Neutral scheme”.

The following reply is courtesy of Gary Jones, Assistant Vice President, EHS Affairs at Printing Industries of America (PIA) — PPI Association’s National Advocacy Partner


In response to the question, we don’t have a formal position on companies going “Carbon Neutral”. In looking at the question, it is more directed at validating claims of carbon neutrality and how this occurs. There are two approaches, the first would be a self-declared statements by companies. The second is an independent certification where an objective third party performs an audit of a company’s operation to confirm the claim. Of course first party claims have very little creditability and third party certifications have the most amount of creditability. Regardless of the approach, any declaration involving a green claim must meet the general requirements set out under the FTC’s Green Guides. Here is a link to the revised guidelines – CLICK HERE.

The FTC did not directly address carbon offsets for end users, but did specifically put those who market them on notice that marketers of them need to have competent and reliable scientific evidence to support their carbon offset claims, including using appropriate accounting methods to ensure they are properly quantifying emission reductions and not selling those reductions more than once.3GF-and-State-of-Green-Tour-007

In addition, the green guides addressed specific claims such as certifications, free of claims, compostability, nontoxic claims, etc. Also, they strengthened their position on general claims by clearly stating that all claims have to be qualified and that unqualified general environmental benefit claims are not acceptable because ‘‘it is highly unlikely that marketers can substantiate all reasonable interpretations of these claims.’’ A great example of this would be a claim made by a printing company that they used “recycled paper” to produce a specific job. This type of claim is no longer acceptable as the company would now have to say that the paper had “x% post- consumer and Y% of pre-consumer” recycled fiber content.

So if we apply these same principles to a Carbon Neutral claim, the very first question that needs to be asked is what is the scope of the claim? Is the claim for a specific product or is it for the entire operation? In either case, the company making the claim needs to clearly define the elements that are being addressed in the claim. For example, if it is for a job are they taking into account the carbon in the manufacturing of the product (file preparation, prepress, press, post press, warehousing, transportation) and the input materials including ink, substrate, coating, adhesive, other finishing materials? If it is for the facility, are they taking into account the Scope I (direct emissions), Scope II (indirect emissions such as that from purchased electricity), and Scope III (both direct and indirect such as employee commuting, business transportation, purchased goods and services, capital goods, etc.)?

carbon_paybackThe other part of the claim is how is the company substantiating how they are offsetting the emissions? What is the basis for how they are making the claim? For example, are they planting trees or investing in a windmill? Planting trees is a bit shaky in my opinion as there is no guarantee the trees will survive and grow to some level of maturity to account for all of the carbon they will absorb during their life. Windmills are much more predictable and the amount of carbon reduced easily quantified. There are other legitimate projects than windmills, but they are a great example of a good project.I am aware of some companies that have set up on-line calculators for printing operations and they put in some information about the job and they get some type of answer from it. I have spoken to several of them to find out what data they are using for their calculations and I keep getting relatively vague answers. Much of the data seems to come from Europe and they don’t want to reveal their sources. There are some creditable organizations that do provide this service, but the ones that I am leery about are the ones that provide a calculation and sell you offsets. Source:

The bottom line is that any company wanting to make any green claim needs to make sure that they are very clear in the scope and nature of the claim, be able to provide supporting documentation for the claim, and be completely transparent about the claim. Even if they receive a third-party certification, they need to be able to demonstrate that the third party is a legitimate certification body. FTA’s Green Guides do address criteria for certification bodies and they issued them because of number of questionable third party organizations in the marketplace. Therefore, if a company is going to use one of these bodies, they need to do their homework and due diligence to ensure the organization is legitimate.

frog49Companies that do not take the time or exert the effort to ensure their green claims are at a legitimate risk an enforcement action by the FTC. The FTC has taken action over the past year or so and has fined companies for making unsubstantiated green claims. In addition, they risk losing creditability in the marketplace and there are plenty of NGOs who are more than willing to pounce on companies that are not being legitimate in their marketing efforts.

Gary can be contacted at: |

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Court: Company Didn’t Induce Patent Infringement

Posted Monday, June 2, 2014 by Jules VanSant.

troll*PPI NOTE: As an industry that has continually been targeted by patent trolls, we stay on top of the news and developments on court cases involving this threat to many of our firms around the US.

If you receive any communications from a law firm suggesting you engage in patent infringement activity PLEASE contact us! There is a national list serve and other work being done on behalf of our industry through PIA which COULD save you time, and more importantly, money.

Contact Jules VanSant: or call 503-221-3944.*

SOURCE: The Seattle Times

A unanimous Supreme Court ruled Monday (June 2) that a company is not liable for inducing patent infringement if someone other than the company carries out some of the steps leading to infringement.

WASHINGTON —A unanimous Supreme Court ruled Monday that a company is not liable for inducing patent infringement if someone other than the company carries out some of the steps leading to infringement.

The justices unanimously ruled Monday that Internet content delivery company Limelight Networks Inc. did not infringe on the patented system for managing images and video owned by rival Akamai Technologies Inc.

Akamai claimed Limelight used some of its patented methods for speeding content delivery, and then illegally encouraged its customers to carry out the remaining steps. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit agreed, but the Supreme Court reversed.

Justice Samuel Alito said all the steps for patent infringement must be performed by a single party. Since there was no direct infringement, Alito said there could be no inducement.

The case drew interest from tech giants including Google and Oracle, which have been sued frequently by so-called “patent trolls,” companies that buy patents and force businesses to pay license fees or face costly litigation. They had urged the high court to overturn the Federal Circuit in order to limit the growing number of patent infringement lawsuits.

In another patent case Monday, the high court also unanimously reversed a Federal Circuit decision in a patent dispute over heart rate monitors. Medical device company Biosig Instruments sued exercise equipment maker Nautilus Inc. for allegedly infringing its monitor’s design.

Writing for the court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the appeals court had used the wrong standard in determining that Biosig’s patent was not too vague to pass muster. The Supreme Court remanded the case and instructed the appeal court to use a more exacting standard.

The cases are Limelight Technologies, Inc. v. Akamai Technologies, Inc., 12-786; and Nautilus, Inc. v. Biosig Instruments, Inc., 13-369.

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Which File Type Best Supports the Customer’s Project?

Posted Thursday, May 1, 2014 by Jules VanSant.

Pixel eyesChristine Alexander, who blogs for the Metro-politan blog, has put together a useful description of the various file types commonly used in print production. You can use this helpful list to help your customer send YOU the right type of file the first time.

Providing the right file types to your service providers, whether that be print or web, is incredibly important when trying to get a quality message out to your audience. The means of production should dictate what types of files you are sending your service provider. Below I’ve provided a brief explanation of what types you should be sending to get your project moving.


  • PDF (Portable Document Format) is a file format developed by Adobe Systems that! can be universally downloaded and viewed by any computer that has the Adobe Acrobat. The PDF is an open source format that preserves and embeds fonts, images, layouts of any source document.

  • EPS (Encapsulated PostScript file) is a [vector][4] file format most commonly used with logos. It can be re-sized without losing image quality. The EPS is used to transfer PostScript-language artwork between applications.

  • TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) is widely supported [raster image][5] format and works in almost any program. It produces a higher quality image than a JPG or PNG, but is not a vector format like EPS. It is widely used among publishing industries and photographers.

  • PSD (Photoshop document) is a native Adobe Photoshop file format that is a raster file made up of tiny dots. Meaning, when you enlarge or reduce the size significantly, you will lose quality.

  • WORKING FILES (I.E. InDesign, Quark) – Some print providers prefer to have the working files on-hand when processing your projects for print. This allows them to make minor changes that might impact the quality of the final piece, such as spine sizes and definite fold adjustments. Additionally, if you happen to have a minor fix that needs corrected, instead of sending over an entirely new file, the printer is able to make those changes for you and replace just that single page in the Raster Image Processor (RIP). Often times, when a completely new file is sent over, the printer is forced to start from scratch, adding more time and money to your bill.


  • JPEG(Joint Photographic Experts Group) is a raster file best suited for web-based designs because their compressed sizes load quickly. JPG images lose some quality but are great to use for emails, banner designs or anything web-based.

  • PNG (Portable Network Graphics) is a web-based file that does not lose quality when compressed. PNG files were created to improve on the quality of GIF files and are best used for the web.

  • BMP (Bitmap) is a file format that is commonly standard for DOS and Windows-compatible computers. BMPs support RGB, Indexed Color, Grayscale and Bitmap color modes.

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Updating Your Employee Handbook – My Notes from Barran Liebman Breakfast 041614

Posted Wednesday, April 23, 2014 by Jules VanSant.

NOTES and links via our Twitter Feed: ‪@PPIassociation
(so read it BOTTOM TO TOP)

Want a set of the slides? PPI MEMBER? Just email and I’ll send you a copy!

A HUGE Thank you to Andrew Schpak, Traci Ray and the entire staff of Barran Liebman for hosting this informative event from their offices! Spectacular view as well as important, enlightening information :)


Remember you have 15 minutes of phone consultation FREE as a PPI Member… use it!

Confidentially policy may be better as a separate document instead of in the handbook ‪#barranliebman#ppimember365

Be smart – include workweek, pay periods, clocking in/out requirements, falsification language in handbook ‪#barranliebman#ppimember365

Be clear on vacation /sick leave policies with as many conditions on use it/ lose it/payouts ‪#ppimember365#barranliebman

Employees can be told they have a duty to report workplace safety issues and/or violence ‪#barranliebman#ppimember365

Include “non exhaustive list” in standard of conduct to keep open potential disciplinary action when warrants. ‪#ppimember365#barranliebman

Alcohol & drug policies should be clearly stated yet employer needs to understand how to navigate based on laws ‪#ppimember365#barranliebman

Items to consider when writing handbook search policies ‪#barranliebman AndrewSchpak_BarranLiebman_0414‪#ppimember365 ‪

Super important: NO expectation of privacy policy can protect employer, reserve right to search & monitor ‪#barranliebman ‪#ppimember365

Do you address domestic violence leave or rest breaks for expressing milk in your employee handbook? ‪#barranliebman ‪#ppimember365

FMLA, disability & other protected leave issues addressed in handbook, posters & forms. Make sure supervisors in the know. ‪#ppimember365

Does your employee handbook have a good whistle blower / complaint clause? Time to review? ‪#barranliebman #ppimember365#HR

Create the framework to create a strong relevant handbook with this outline ‪#BarranLiebman ‪#ppimember365

Starting breakfast & learning about employee handbook updates with Andrew Schpak @ Barran Liebman ‪ ‪#ppimember365

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