What Did YOU Learn about Full Color Printing Today?

Posted by Universal Printing on Fri, Mar 11, 2011 @ 02:42 PM

 

“All I need are minds for molding.” – Jack Black (as Dewey Finn in School of Rock)

 

School of Rock promo picIf you haven’t seen the movie School of Rock, it’s about a man named Dewey Finn, hard rock singer and guitarist, who is kicked out of his band.  He disguises himself as a substitute teacher at a private prep school and forms a rock band from his fifth-grade students in order to compete in the upcoming Battle of the Bands.

Ok, that being said:

… I’m not as crazy or edgy as Jack Black
… and I wasn’t working grade school kids
… and we didn’t learn anything about Rock Music

But we WERE working on one of my favorite annual projects. 

Each Spring we print posters, flyers, and other materials for the Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival, a four-day festival of art, music, and dance held in Chatham County, NC and features  bands from all around the world.  Our friends at Shakori Hills are proud supporters of the arts and of the community. One of the ways they demonstrate both is in their work with the Digital Print Production class from Alamance Community College, who creates and designs these pieces as one of their class projects.

Denise Archuleta, professor of Advertising and Graphic Design, takes great care to ensure these students understand how to design and build their files FOR PRINT!  Part of their class project includes a field trip to Universal Printing for a tour of our company and to take part in their press proof.  During their visit got to learn all about who we are and what we do.  We talked about how printing works, the importance of color, and also our status as a G7 Master Printer and our sustainable print initiatives that help preserve the environment. 

These students are generally interested in listening to what we have to share,  and they’re always curious to see the Art Department and all of the computers, scanners, and output devices.  Field Trip photos: Follow us on FacebookWhen we enter the plate room, they start to get a little more interested: Curious about how we image directly onto the aluminum plates and such.

But then, it happens…  my favorite part of the tour; and it happens the same way every year.

We enter the Pressroom: A large, wide open space with 30ft ceilings, the humming and whirring of running machinery, and the sweet unforgettable scent of fresh ink. Eyes widen, lips curl into smiles, and these eager young minds are now FULLY engaged and ready to soak it all in.  I can’t help but get excited when these students start asking questions. You can almost see their minds churning, wanting to understand and learn.  Sure, we can “talk” about process color and how it works, but to actually show them single pulls of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black, and let them see the ink keys on the press and how they affect the color THAT is when it all makes sense. For the rest of their stay they are “all in.” Even when they leave, you can see their smiles and hear them talking about everything they saw and everything they thought. 

As I said… it’s one of my favorite projects each year. All I need are minds for molding.

 

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Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

 

Tags: graphic design, commercial printing, printing services, G7, green printing, environmental responsibility, color correction, master printer, calibration

The Dog Didn't Eat Our Homework...

Posted by Universal Printing on Thu, Jul 01, 2010 @ 03:23 PM

Last Spring we went through our GRACoL qualification process. I was told to expect a couple of days, a few thousand press sheets, several sets of plates, and a potential risk to the sanity of my press-operator. In reality, it was much easier than any of us could have anticipated. Our G7 Expert Color Consultant from Fuji gave us credit for already following many of the "best practices" that GRACoL recommends for a successful qualification.

The benefits: Making colors print sharper and more consistently across multiple printing devices allowing you to benefit from the best-priced print technology without compromising quality. Not as easy as it sounds, since we offer lots of different color devices and each use their own inks or toners, papers, and their own software RIPs. GRACoL 7 bridges the gap . For those techie-geeky types that want to know the in-depth explanations of GRACoL, GRACoL 7, and G7, feel free to click here.

Fortunately, we do our homework (and kept it away from the dog!) We start with quality papers from environmentally responsible sources and use eco-friendly inks and toner. Then we follow that up with regular calibration and an industry leading QA system to monitor our color. The final ingredient is skilled and knowledgeable staff, who continue to monitor color through the entire run.

Seems simple, but apparently it's not! I guess that's why our G7 Expert Color Consultant seemed surprised when our first test sheets, from our first test plates, were almost within specs without having changed a thing. A process that could have taken two days, took just over two hours on press.

So we proudly became one of the first printing companies in the Carolinas to qualify as G7 Master Printers. And now, one year later, we've gone through our first RE-qualification process and are STILL only one of seven G7 Master Printers in the Carolinas. GRACoL has made some changes in their qualification criteria and expectations are a little higher. We weren't scared, though... hit it on our first pull. Piece of cake!

Tags: printing, graphic design, Gracol, G7, color correction, master printer, calibration