The next generation of graphics industry innovators were invited guests of FUJIFILM North America Corporation, Graphic Systems Division, and learned first-hand about production and wide format inkjet technology and workflow solutions at the Fujifilm Technology Center in Hanover Park, Illinois.

The Graphic Arts Technology program at William Rainey Harper College offers an Associate in Applied Science Degree that prepares students for a career in the graphic arts industry. Harper’s state-of-the-art program features expert faculty and a hands-on approach to learning, emphasizing current skills and knowledge the successful graduate needs to work in this industry. Alumni often work for print companies; advertising agencies; design firms; in-house art departments; and graphic design companies.

“My students saw cutting-edge technology, and fell in love right away,” said Kelly Taylor, assistant professor, Graphic Arts Technology, Harper College. With over 24 years of teaching experience, Taylor said she appreciates the Fujifilm staff “speaking my language” with the students, which she explained validates her existence as an instructor.

The students were fortunate to see many innovative Fujifilm solutions in-action, including the Xerox Color 1000 Digital Press; the J Press 720 – the first inkjet sheetfed press; the J Press 540W – a high performance inkjet web press; the Acuity Select flatbed inkjet printer, and they also participated in a discussion on XMF ColorPath SYNC, Fujfilm’s cloud-based color management tool which aligns output devices to designated color targets.

“It was great to learn more about color management, which I am very interested in,” said Jose Almodovar, a student at Harper College. “Seeing the latest in technology is awesome. In high school, I took Graphic Arts as an elective; I really liked it, and realized I wanted to pursue this as my career,” added Almodovar.

Harper College is one of the few Chicago-area colleges offering a print program within their Graphic Arts program.  With a growing department, Harper has the latest technology in conventional and digital print, as well as workflow and color management; much like a production print shop.

“Seeing the latest and greatest technology is very beneficial to my students,” added assistant professor Taylor. “The Fujifilm staff clearly explained all of the equipment in a way my students can understand and appreciate, even if they (students) aren’t well-versed as of yet on specific functionality of the various printers. It’s been my experience that when a student will create, design and then print a project, they get more and more excited and appreciative of this industry. When they saw the Acuity flatbed printing samples, and were able to take the samples home, that made such an impact.”

The students were attentive and inquisitive, seeking to absorb as much as they could during their visit to Fujifilm.

“I appreciate this generation taking such an interest in the industry,” said Julie Krueger, Technology Center manager, FUJFILM North America Corporation, Graphic Systems Division.  “The Harper students we hosted were passionate about learning, and I am proud to share Fujifilm’s advancements in workflow solutions, as well as our innovations in inkjet and wide format technology.”

Many of the college students were amazed at the ability to print on a wide range of substrates, from the large to the very small.

“The Acuity can print on a grain of rice,” said an astonished Marianna Egyud, studying Graphic Arts at Harper College. “This industry is expanding, and getting better and better,” she added.

“I never realized inkjet is much more ‘green’ compared to the old-school forms of printing,” said Matthew Pettigrew, a first-year student at Harper. “I appreciate less waste and more printing, which means more production and more business.”

Upon conclusion of their visit, one of the students exclaimed “this was the best tour ever,” and their instructor indicated they definitely want to visit the Fujifilm Technology Center on a regular basis.