DIGITAL digest

Efforts Undertaken to Stimulate Digital Printing Business

CHICAGO—Digital printing equipment might as well carry a warning label—”Customer education required!”—given how often that need is cited as the reason for the slower than expected development of the market segment. Several new programs recently have been introduced by industry groups and companies to try to fill the void.

“Designing4Digital” is a new customer education program launched at Graph Expo last month by the Digital Printing Council (DPC) of Printing Industries of America (PIA). This multimedia “outreach toolkit” reportedly is designed to help printers educate their customers about the benefits and techniques of digital printing, thereby stimulating new business. It is said to help print users understand the concepts and terminology of digital printing, and teaches them how to correctly create files that produce imaginative printed products.

The DPC partnered with Frank Romano, who is the Roger K. Fawcett Distinguished Professor of Graphic Arts at the Rochester Institute of Technology, to develop the program’s content. It has been packaged into an interactive CD-ROM, a second reference CD-ROM and a book.

The interactive CD-ROM consists of 10 lesson modules that explore the fundamentals of digital printing, including databases, design issues, design approaches, linking data to design, digital workflows and more. Examples of variable-data printed projects also are provided. Each lesson takes approximately 20 minutes to complete.

The reference CD-ROM and book contain additional supporting materials related to digital printing. Included is a PowerPoint presentation that can be used by printers to host seminars for their customers.

DPC claims that the program is vendor neutral, so printers can tailor information to highlight their capabilities and workflow. However, four of the leading industry vendors—Electronic for Imaging (EFI), Heidelberg, Hewlett-Packard and Xerox—did contribute to the toolkit’s development and reviewed the content, as well as helped fund the project.

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