Students from Professor Baron’s Magazine Production and Design class had the opportunity to attend a tour of Quad Graphics last Monday. Employees of Quad Graphics, who print for companies such as Condé Nast, J Crew, and Victoria Secret, had the opportunity to show students the job of the scanner, retoucher, and account manager.
The scanner showed Pace publishing students how he took conventional art and scanned it on either a drum or flatbed scanner, allowing an image to be converted into digital art. However, he also explained this process is rarely used with the advancement of digital photography. Next students took a look at the intricate job of a retoucher. The retoucher’s job, whose job is to provide technical assistance and detail to digital images, can be very time consuming because they take care of complex requests that customers’ design departments don’t have time to do. And finally, students ended the tour with the account manager, whose job consists of managing the entire process; from images to the printing.
Considering the decline in magazine jobs, some production students were excited at such an opportunity, as it showed other career avenues in magazine production. “By being the account manager for Vanity Fair for instance, you seem to be just as much in touch with the production and workflow of the magazine as you would be if you were working on the publisher’ side. You almost share the same responsibility of getting the magazine to press in time,” says Louise Blomberg, a MS in Publishing student. “You still get very close to the product (the magazine) and play a big part in having it produced.”
Founded in 1971, Quad Graphics’ mission includes being a “value driven company committed to [their] clients, employee owners, shareholders, communities and the environment.” They also aim to grow profits within the company by being a “high value, low-cost producer”.
What was interesting about Quad Graphics was their ability to being a magazine and catalogue’s one stop shop destination. Not only is Quad Graphics able to print the magazine and catalogue material, but they are also able to do retouching. From adding and deleting images within a page to accentuating a product color, Quad Graphics really focuses on the needs of customers, even if it takes all night. “At Quad Graphics, we have a steady 24/7 workflow that allows our company to be available whenever our customers need us. Some of our customers have very close deadlines they must meet and are submitting work to us as early as 8 a.m. or as late as 1 a.m.” says Karrie Cornell, an account manager at Quad Graphics. “With shift rotations, we can ensure our customers that their work isn’t sitting and that we’ve got labor to provide quality turnaround material in a timely fashion.”
Overall, even with the decline in pages printed, Quad Graphics isn’t worried. “At Quad, we’ve ramped up the ‘aggressiveness’ of ink on paper; making it live and breathe in real time by strategically applying data to create targeted, relevant print messages and then connecting those printed messages with other forms of media,” said President and CEO Joel Quadracci in a company press release. “Our technology allows you to send the right type of message to the right people at the right time.” According to Quadracci, the goal of Quad Graphics is to print marketing material that is “targeted…versus generic copies”.