The graphic communication industry started as the printing and publishing business. After rapid technological advances with electronic media, the printing business evolved into the graphic communications industry. According to the California Polytechnic State University's Graphic Communication Department, the industry "includes electronic and traditional printing, publishing, packaging, digital imaging, computer graphics, website development, digital photography, printable electronics and related areas." The design work applies to mass communications and media for marketing, packaging, advertising, websites, newspapers, books and more. According to the Pennsylvania College of Technology, the graphic communications industry is the fourth largest industry in the United States.
Graphic designers plan the final printed/published product, guiding the style and mood of the piece. According to the graphicCOMMcentral website, "designers should have a natural artistic talent as well as an eye for detail and color." The designers use their artistic talent with various imaging software and traditional design tools to arrange the words and visuals for their designs.
Illustrators develop the visuals---artwork, graphs, charts---that pair with words. According to the graphicCOMMcentral website, "an illustrator must have precise artistic talent as well as a knowledge of composition and proper use of the tools of the craft." Illustrators use hand-drawn art and computer-created images to create their visuals.
Electronic Prepress Technician
Electronic prepress technicians operate advanced computers to manage prepress procedures like plate making, camera operation and film assembly. According to the graphicCOMMcentral website, "the functions performed in electronic prepress are preflighting, scanning of images, file repair, trapping, imposition, and outputting of film, proofs and plates."
Press operators run the printing presses that create the final, physical product. According to the graphicCOMMcentral website, "press operators must know the mechanical workings of the machine, possess good manual dexterity, and think quickly on their feet in order to produce a good quality product." Because of continued technological advances, operators need continued education with the related computerized pressing machines.
Production managers oversee the overall production process for printed materials. When a printing company receives a project, the production manager keeps the project moving and ensures it meets the client's needs by coordinating the project from layout to color matching to printing to distribution. According to the graphicCOMMcentral website, "production managers ... should be well-organized individuals, able to plan ahead, foresee and troubleshoot problems, and be level-headed in their dealings."
Page-layout artists outline a piece's text and artwork to match the graphic designer's plan. The page-layout artist combines the works of many---illustrator, designer, copywriter---to create the final product. According to the graphicCOMMcentral website, "the job requires precision, accuracy, neatness and the ability to follow directions."
- graphicCOMMcentral: "Graphic Communications Industry Definition"
- Pennsylvania College of Technology: "Graphic Communication"
- Printing Industries of America: "Outlook for the Economy and Print Markets"
- graphicCOMMcentral: "Job Descriptions"
- California Polytechnic State University: "Welcome to the Graphic Communication Department"
- Photo Credit designer place image by araraadt from Fotolia.com
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