Invest in Quality Continuing Education, Especially for Color Management
I’d like to talk to you about the benefits of continuing education and what options you have as a business owner/manager to make sure your staff members are trained properly. In the printing industry there are several color management certifications offered by different organizations and software vendors. Some teach you a particular methodology or program. Some are offered remotely (online), and others you must attend in person. Some have quite dated content, while others are constantly revised.
I’d like to tell you about what I believe to be the best investment you can make for learning the theory of ICC color management, and that’s the SGIA’s Digital Color Professional program. Now, I am a little biased because I’ve helped to write the curriculum, and am a Certified Instructor (and general evangelist) for this program. I’ve been teaching these classes for almost five years, and I have seen first hand the benefits our attendees bring back to their employers. So, let me get into some details.
The first phase of the SGIA Digital Color Professional program is to get ‘Qualified’ by passing an online exam. If you think you’re already an expert, you can register to take the exam on SGIA’s DCP program page for $75 (25% discount for members). Otherwise, SGIA has authorized several consultants/companies who offer 2.5 day “Boot Camps” around the United States to prepare attendees to pass the exam. Most of these include the exam fee with the cost of the registration. The company I work for, Alder Color Solutions, is one of five certified by SGIA to deliver the curriculum, and my co-worker William Owen and I are both DCP Certified Instructors. Passing the exam enables you to use the SGIA DCP ‘Qualified’ logo, and you get a professional profile on a website called Acclaim, but more importantly it prepares people to be color champions in their workplace.
The second phase of the SGIA Digital Color Professional program is to get ‘Certified’. After passing the online exam, you will receive a link to a test form, with instructions on how to output it. Attendees take the knowledge they’ve gained to setup their printers and software to produce a quality print that can be compared to a regional specification or international standard. The print is then sent to Clemson University, where the Sonoco Institute measures it.
The measurements are sent to a cloud-based quality control platform where the submission is graded for many aspects, including percent of coverage of AdobeRGB, gray balance, spot color accuracy, etc. A pass/fail report is automatically generated and emailed back. After achieving ‘Certified’ status, we are certain the students have learned and applied the concepts, and have demonstrated they are indeed Digital Color Professionals. They can now use the ‘Certified’ DCP badge on any marketing or collateral materials. Keep in mind that this certification is tied to the individual, not the company. The company can promote that they have an SGIA Digital Color Professional (either Qualified or Certified) on staff.
It’s important to mention that the curriculum is RIP/DFE independent. Although several RIP vendors sponsor these events, we teach the theory of color management that can be applied to any ICC software application. We cover everything from creating artwork, receiving customer supplied artwork, how profile policies should be set and honored, calibrating monitors, color settings in Adobe CC, linearizing printers, creating printer profiles, optimizing spot colors, and how to verify the accuracy of the results.
Why Get Certified?
Some have questioned “Why pay $800 for an in-person course,” “Why pull your team out of your facility for 2-3 days,” or “Why pay travel costs,” so I thought I would address these questions from my perspective.
First, 2.5 days of an expert color consultant's time is generally in the $5,000 range to have them come to your facility. $800 is an absolute bargain (like downright cheap), and by far the most economical way to gain knowledge from any of the instructors. And even though we’re not at your facility, you can bring questions or problems to class, and we’ll do our very best to provide insight and point you in the right direction.
Secondly, pulling people out of production means they can give their full attention and be totally immersed in the learning experience. Trying to train people with constant interruptions and other responsibilities does not work nearly as well in terms of retaining the information.
Lastly, the travel costs can’t be avoided, unless you happen to be located near a city where these events are scheduled. Although we can provide these classes at your location(s), they’re just not listed publicly. But paying to send an employee to a class like this shows them that you value them personally, and the ROI will be much faster when they return and implement what they’ve learned.
Having said all that, I’d like to personally invite you or your employees to attend. You can find a list of scheduled boot camps here (www.sgia.org/workshops). If you have any questions about the program or have inquires about hosting, feel free to contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 717-475-9007.
Happy New Year, and I hope to teach you in 2020!
Dan Gillespie began his professional career in the newspaper industry, where he honed his skills and became proficient in desktop publishing, scanning, and color separation/reproduction for cold-set web printing. He then went to work for a national graphic arts reseller, GE Richards Graphic Supplies, as an application specialist - training clients in graphics related software. In 1999 he started ColorGeek Inc., solving color workflow problems for photographers, printers, publishers, and converters. In 2010 I went to work for Color Management Distribution where he was the Director of Technical Services until November, 2018 when he became the Director of Technical Services for Alder Technology.