Graphic Arts Students Prepared for a Mixed-Media World
In our continuing series of blog posts featuring recipients of monetary awards from the Print and Graphic Scholarship Foundation (PGSF), today we profile Josh Boland, a senior with a bright future who will soon be graduating from Clemson University.
Josh spoke with us about his focus in the graphic arts industry, interesting projects he has completed at Clemson, and his thoughts on the future of the printing industry.
1. What area of the graphic arts do you consider your primary focus (Design, Print production, Digital media, etc.)?
I’ve always enjoyed design and being creative. Having a piece look good and communicate effectively can be challenging, but the challenge itself is sometimes what makes design so engaging and enjoyable for me. I also have discovered a personal passion for web design and development and I hope to apply some of my design skills in that arena in the future.
Overall, I think I would lean more toward the digital media as an area of interest, but the Clemson Graphic Communications program has also given me a strong technical printing background. Maybe I’ll end up doing cross-media and working with both.
2. Have you started job searching? If so, what has been your experience thus far?
Yes, as of right now I am a few weeks away from graduation and have been talking to a few different companies over the past month. The experience is strange in a way, thinking about the fact that I’ll be in a totally new environment very soon. It’s certainly exciting and I’m anticipating knowing where I’ll be working. Fortunately, it’s not stressing me out (yet).
3. What will be your top considerations when looking for a job in the graphic arts field? (In other words, what characteristics are you looking for in potential employer?)
As far as an employer goes, I’m looking for a company who is moving forward and embracing the changes that are affecting the graphic arts industry. Printers can’t be just printers anymore, they need to be offering multiple services (which might include wide format, design, web development, multi-channel marketing…etc.) in order to stay ahead of the game. I have a personal interest in the web and digital media; and I’d like to find a place where I can continue to learn more in those areas.
Also, I’d look for an employer that is organized and knows how to keep track of jobs and resources as they come into and go from the workplace. A well-structured business with an efficient and effective workflow system in place I’d consider to be a much better workplace than one that is disorganized with few processes in place.
4. What are one or two interesting graphic arts projects you’ve completed at school?
Over the past two years I’ve served as the president of Clemson’s TAGA (Technical Association of the Graphic Arts) chapter. Each year, the team works together to produce a journal of technical research from the university. From the initial concept all the way to the finished piece, we are responsible for every step. This year’s journal was a lot of fun to put together, we got to play around with several different coatings including a dry-erase coating that allowed parts of the journal to act like a whiteboard surface. We also did some letterpress work on the cover and some expanded gamut pieces for the inside of the journal. There was a lot of planning, printing and manual labor that went into the journal, and I certainly can’t claim it as my book, it’s our (the Clemson TAGA team’s) book. I’m glad I was a part of it!
5. Have you attended any professional events or conferences? What could organizations that host professional events and conferences do to attract more student participation?
Most organizations already offer a discount to students, which is very helpful given the prices of textbooks. One thing I’ve enjoyed about the TAGA conferences that I think other organizations could implement is planned events just for the students. As much as networking with professionals is very important, networking with students from other schools can also help you get connections (and make some good friends!)
6. How do you see print’s role in the media mix today? What do you think is the future of print?
Today’s media mix is certainly evolving as digital communication channels become more and more of a norm. Recently at Clemson’s Bill Treadaway Print Leadership Forum, there was a talk by Daniel Dejan of Sappi. He talked about how digital media has become a disruptive technology as it has altered the communications market and the way we receive information. In that change however, print can now be used to do what it does best instead of being used to do everything. In a way print is relieved of some pieces of communication that can be better handled by new channels, allowing it to shine even more in the right context. Print will never go away because it is tactile, emotional, engaging, personal, and real. It certainly is not the only channel of communication, but it is an integral part of today’s media mix, and, if applied correctly, can have a powerful impact.
Print can also be used together with digital media to create completely new experiences like augmented reality. I think applications like AR and QR codes will continue to move forward in the future. Print will always have its place as part of the publications market, but, as technology advances, I expect to see more integration of digital and printed media.
Another area I see print growing in the future is functional materials. Printed circuits, batteries, and light bulbs are only a few examples of things that are already possible with print. If (and when) some of these products can be manufactured quickly and efficiently, printing will enter a whole new market.
7. How did PGSF help you accomplish your educational goals?
PGSF helped me accomplish my educational goals both by helping me defray some of the costs of attending a top-ranked university as well as getting me further connected to the graphic arts industry.
Thanks for taking the time to speak with us Josh, and best of luck as you embark on your career!