To kick off the course curriculum for the program, RIT students from the Typography and Page Design program, through a virtual experience, participated in a 30-minute pre-work scavenger hunt to learn first-hand about Canon Solutions America, the Canon corporate philosophy of Kyosei, inkjet technology, a wide range of printing devices, and workflow automation software. Following this first collaborative activity, students enjoyed a virtual tour of the state-of-the-art Canon Americas Customer Innovation Center in Boca Raton, Florida, where they were able to see Canon's inkjet technology in use, first hand. For many, this was the first time they had seen how production printing operates in real time.
Designed to offer students real-world experience and insight into today's print industry trends, participants were educated about brand and content marketing and designing for inkjet. Students were also given the opportunity to hear from members of the executive board of the thINK organization, an independent user community of Canon Solutions America production inkjet customers, where they were able to gain an understanding of their companies, roles within their companies and how they have impacted the printing industry throughout the years. In the question-and-answer panel that followed, students were provided the opportunity to ask questions about the presenters' earlier careers, choices that lead them to where they are now, career advice and what they look for when hiring a candidate for their company.
To conclude the program, RIT students were given the opportunity to apply the concepts they learned in a project where they developed a booklet to be printed on one of Canon's inkjet presses. The students were required to develop a brand for an imaginary high-end company and design a magalog (a promotional catalog or sales brochure designed to resemble a high-quality magazine) booklet application that shows the company's products. Students were encouraged to incorporate augmented reality elements into the design of the booklet and to create a basic single-page storefront site.
"During the project design process, I was really able to tap into my creative abilities, and my team's magazine is truly one of the best pieces I have designed. With its beautifully chosen images, the cohesive layout and design, along with our bits of unique shapes and colors, it truly shows each of our design styles. I am beyond honored and thrilled that the Canon judges chose our magazine as the winning design," says Cecilia Savka, typography and page design student, RIT. "This program has been one of the most rewarding programs I've experienced. I thoroughly enjoyed being able to see both my peers' skills and my own shine through."
Supporting the program virtually for the first time since its inception, this year's University Inkjet Program posed a different kind of challenge to the students at Clemson University, but a challenge that students accepted with enthusiasm. Meredith Franchi, graphic communications student, Clemson University, describes this year's program as "a challenge through which many great opportunities arose: the opportunity to work as a team based on our individual strengths, to develop a brand concept and assets that reflected luxury, and to effectively communicate that brand through high-quality print design." Franchi continues, "As the layout editor, I loved being able to take on the concept-to-creation process, from making design choices for our branding to designing a sleek, luxurious look and feel that best reflected our brand throughout the magazine. It was a really unique way to incorporate our commercial printing education into a project with real-world implications and was a truly validating experience for our team's work to be recognized by Canon as the contest winner."
"It is our duty as an organization to invest in future generations of industry leaders as well as provide opportunities to create a better and brighter future for the next generation," said Peter P. Kowalczuk, president of Canon Solutions America. "By working alongside our customers, Clemson University and Rochester Institute of Technology, to expand the classroom walls and introduce hands-on opportunities for students to learn, we underscore the immense pride we take in investing in education. This combined initiative paves the way for aspiring content creators and designers to take up the mantle and push the graphic communications industry forward."
Canon Solutions America also supports a number of other education initiatives with high schools and universities across the country through its Future Authors program. Established in 2006, this annual workshop provides students with insight into the process of creating content, editing, and digitally publishing books and has expanded to include other creative processes.