Yurchak Printing – Where the Magic Takes Place
I’ve written this article because oftentimes not enough credit is given to the printers that produce and distribute the knowledge inherent in the many printed products serving the information and learning needs of society and its institutions. I’ve decided to correct this oversight as part of a series of articles that I have recently written about graphic communication and online education in light of COVID-19. Additional articles are in the planning stages.
The Online Teaching/Learning Crisis
Facing the crisis of having to move to online teaching and learning, schools at all levels have had to learn to adapt to keep students engaged in the learning process. This meant having quick access to teaching materials that could immediately be used to motivate students to embrace online learning. Items such as syllabi, course packs, supplemental reading materials, educational videos, and interactive media had to quickly be produced and distributed to schools on all levels.
Teachers did not train to be IT specialists, and students have never been prepared to have the discipline or take learning seriously sitting at home or at some other non-academic site. Perhaps most important for the K -12 levels, parents are not trained to be teachers. Technology had to quickly adapt to do what used to take place in the classroom. This accelerated the growth of interactive sites such as Zoom, webinars, online conferences and workshops, online meetings, and even interactive books, the focus of this article.
In 2018, prior to the “new world” we live in, with fully or even partial school closure, John Parsons, former Editorial Director of The Seybold Report, and I rewrote my 2007 textbook entitled Introduction to Graphic Communication. However, wanting to have this 2nd edition be unique and reflecting the publishing technology of today and of the future, we decided to make the 2nd edition interactive using Augmented Print to provide the benefits of learning, not only through reading, but through videos and audio presentations, and interaction between and among readers as well. We adopted Ricoh’s Clickable Paper app to achieve this. Now in its second printing, this is more than a traditional book. Clickable Paper allowed us to convert a fully printed book (ink on paper) to one that was not only meant for reading, but for video demonstrations and “guest lecturer” presentations as well, using mobile devices. The concept of the book is that people learn in different ways: some prefer reading, some prefer viewing videos, and some prefer listening to instruction. This book, driven by Ricoh’s Clickable Paper app, provides each of these three learning opportunities (see: www.igcbook.com).
No sooner than the book was announced, interested was expressed by schools at all levels (primary and secondary education, community colleges, and four-year colleges and universities, and technical schools), but particularly by high schools, colleges, and universities that taught graphic communication. However, when COVID-19 hit, interest in the book skyrocketed and became part of the answer to teaching and demonstrating the technologies of graphic communication online while also providing the advantages of reading a real book. John Parsons, who is also the principal of IntuIdeas, took on the role of publisher. This left having to come up with a printer that can produce the book on-demand, in the quantities required, at the expected quality level, and provide all fulfillment and delivery requirements.
Enter Yurchak Printing
In the first printing of the book, we explored two book printers as possibly taking on this project. However, one went out of business and the other just could not provide all of the required fulfillment needs. We needed the “entire package” when Ricoh introduced us to Yurchak Printing, Inc. in Landisville, Pennsylvania.
Yurchak Printing was founded in 1998 by John Yurchak Jr., John W. Yurchak, and Jason Yurchak. John Yurchak Jr. had previously owned a book printing company since 1971 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and Yurchak Printing was formed to continue specializing in book manufacturing. The company’s philosophy has always been to provide for the current and future printing needs for commerce and education. According to Randy Boyer, Vice president of Business Development, “our solutions are catered to meet the needs of clients large and small, and to partner with clients by supplying high quality products that satisfy their customer’s needs.”
Boyer pointed out that Yurchak considers being technologically current as a means of survival. He pointed out that the industry “landscape” has changed dramatically in the last ten years, and has accelerated given the current COVID-19 pandemic. Boyer said, “Our manufacturing partners are valuable in the sense that they are always introducing and educating us about where their R&D is focused. We strive for continuous improvement through ongoing automation [to meet today’s special needs].”
Being equipped with one of the latest Ricoh inkjet presses, a Ricoh Pro VC60000, Yurchak had the printing technology needed to produce the Clickable Paper book, but was also able to provide all fulfillment needs including electronic order-taking, on-demand printing of any quantity, addressing, packaging, and shipping directly to the client. Yurchak has the complete workflow—prepress, press, post press, and fulfillment. Most importantly, the Yurchak workflow and processes were able to deliver the required quality consistency, as each of the pages having Clickable Paper imaging had to be scanned and read accurately using any mobile device, i.e., smartphone or tablet. Yurchak delivered on all counts.
Yurchak’s approach to on-demand printing provided another, significant benefit. Some schools and training programs do not require the entire, twelve-chapter book and have requested their own, custom versions. These can include any number of chapters, identical to those in the full book, with a simple, customized cover. Because Yurchak is equipped to produce extremely short press runs, these custom versions are affordable without sacrificing quality. Users of these “mini-books” still have full access to the same related videos and other material.
According to Boyer, Introduction to Graphic Communication “is a treasure trove of knowledge, both historic and futuristic. Yurchak Printing is best positioned to produce and distribute this book because of our partnership with Ricoh’s hardware and software solutions. High speed, high quality inkjet is where the future lies in book printing and other segments of the graphic arts.”
At Yurchak Printing, production workflow is a combination of inventory control and print-on-demand. Orders are received through an online portal and processed within 24 hours. Once fulfilled, data is reported back to clients to enhance the customer experience. Boyer said that “on-demand and interactive printing are absolutely ‘defining’ technologies and will further print’s relevance for the future.”
Today, Introduction to Graphic Communication has been adopted by schools having leading graphic communication programs in the United States and Canada, as well as by a consortium of four schools in China where the book is being translated. Presently, the schools include: Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Arizona State University, Bowling Green University, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo (for Fall 2020), Calvert County Public Schools (Prince Frederick, Maryland), Cuyahoga Valley Career Center, Keefe Regional Technical School (Framingham, Massachusetts,) Lewis-Clark State College (Lewiston, Idaho), Metamora Township High School (Metamora, Illinois), New York City College of Technology (City Tech), Ryerson University, (Toronto, CANADA), South Central College (North Mankato, Minnesota), Springfield Technical Community College (Springfield, Massachusetts), University of Houston, and Western Michigan University. The China Consortium includes: Beijing Institute of Graphic Communication, Shanghai Publishing and Printing College, Shenzhen Polytechnic, and the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology.
A Second Book
Yurchak Printing has also been retained to print a second book driven by Ricoh’s Clickable paper app. Entitled, The Sound of Bamboo, published by Tai Hei Shakuhachi, the book focuses on Ricoh’s Clickable Paper for the music industry using the traditional Japanese shakuhachi flute as an example for learning and teaching about music (for details contact: email@example.com).
Dr. Harvey R. Levenson is Professor Emeritus and former Department Head of Graphic Communication at Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif. His research and teaching specialties are communication, intellectual property, media, printing, and technology. He is often called upon as an Expert Witness in these areas. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org