MARKZWARE: Welcome, Neil. So, I’m always fascinated to learn how people find their way into this crazy world of graphic arts. What piqued your interest initially? How did you get your start in this business?
NEIL: While I was attending San Diego State I worked for an Large Architectural Firm running their InPlant. They did large government projects that required manuals and proposals for each set of drawings. I went on to get a secondary teaching credential and a Masters Degree. I taught high school graphic arts classes for 11 years before going to Palomar College for 25 years.
MARKZWARE: What are some of the classes you currently teach at Palomar College?
NEIL: I used to teach most of them! I am retired, just teaching part time. I teach digital imaging classes, introduction, intermediate and advanced.
MARKZWARE: I suppose one of the challenges in teaching graphic design and production is really keeping up with the fast-changing technologies out there – all the applications, and so forth. So, how do you personally keep up to date on technical developments as they unfold in the industry?
NEIL: It is very much “shifting sands” given changes in technology. I still take classes at conferences and attend seminars to keep current. The internet helps deliver educational information on broad topics in the digital world. There is always the challenge of acquiring hardware and software to provide students with the current technology.
MARKZWARE: One of the woes I often hear in the industry these days is that many of the graphic arts programs out there focus so much on aesthetics – on the creative aspect of the business – and often neglect the mechanics of how to get those designs to print. In your courses, how do you prepare budding graphic designers for the “real-world” of graphic design today?
NEIL: Palomar College Graphic Communications still provides that comprehensive educational package for students. We have several Certificates that require the Students to take pre-press and press classes. We have current CTP equipment and presses that are used both by the college and the educational department. The real answer to your question is that it is less expensive for an administrator to offer pure design class than to invest in pre-press and press equipment. That is at the college level. The high school level has totally different set of requirements and funding. The CSU and UC’s have an enormous influence over what is offered.
MARKZWARE: So much attention in graphic arts has shifted to electronic media. Kids coming up want to learn how to design for the Web, which is clearly important these days. But what does it mean for print? In your opinion, what impact will the Web have on print in the coming years?
NEIL: I think that is great! We live a digital world. Content flows to where ever the costumer thinks is an effective way to communicate their message. Sure market segments are smaller, but blending of the delivery systems increases the probability of client success for reaching the target audience. I have always felt that we have a powerful medium. Why don’t we use it more to promote Print?
MARKZWARE: Obviously preflighting and print quality control is dear to our hearts here at Markzware. And a lot of our customers face challenges as to how best to create content for a plethora of output intentions – print, the Web, maybe CDs or other types of electronic media. Is there any advice you can offer to them? Any best practice suggestions for ensuring that the content they painstakingly create reproduces the way they expect?
NEIL: Print is unique because it is “Custom Manufacturing.” (Don’t have your sales manager call me, I know Printing is a service and is sold that way.) Each job possesses it’s own unique properties. Workflow varies and anytime you increase the variables in manufacturing that leads to assumptions and that leads to problems. You have a good solution in FlightCheck.
MARKZWARE: Another question I field often is “What resources or industry associations should I know about if I’m new to the graphic arts industry?” Any suggestions?
NEIL: We encourage everyone to seek out and become a member of Professional Organizations. Don’t just look at one or two, look at all the related Organizations. You may get better perspective with a related group than the “good old boys”. All have websites that have wonderful information. PIASD is a wonderful organization, but there are a lot of valuable professional organizations. Shop around and mingle.
Markzware thanks Neil Bruington of PIASD for participating in this interview. Markzware’s pre press software is available on the FlightCheck page. See more printing solutions on the Markzware Products page.
Interview with Neil Bruington of PIASD