When we started publishing Indian Printer & Publisher in 1979 as a technical newsletter it was supported by my ethical consultancy work. Operational and project consulting meant helping make machines perform by figuring them out, fixing things and hands-on people training.
I tried to help printers improve the use of their presses, autopasters, scanners and various technologies which relied on my experience in software, offset platemaking and printing and my ability to learn color, densitometry and print systems. In those days, there were few experienced techies willing to work as hands-on printers. Having worked with the earliest computerized phototypesetters we championed PostScript for Indian scripts. Strong advocates of using original color strips on printed sheets for measuring density and monitoring neutral 3-color greys, we went into plants and made best practices and print quality control happen. Our big clients included Thompson Press, Malayala Manorama and Tata Press and an international organization that needed help in honest print buying and maintaining quality around the country.
Ultimately, publishing a trade magazine, conducting IPP Conferences that began in 1994, ongoing consultancy and industry research for global clients needed separate organizations. In India there wasn’t any GATF, Fogra or Pira and so we decided to start Ipp Services, Training and Research in 2001. IppStar always believed in itself and always thought the best parts of the industry would support worthwhile activities – and even with some ups and downs this has been true. Our slogan from the start was Building the Graphic Arts Community.
What is Idealliance India?
Since we championed the computerized typesetting of Indian scripts, Adobe PostScript and desktop color technologies right from their advent, it was natural for us to champion color print measurement and standardization. Our early training courses included one on flexography and a five-day color management certificate course at Don Bosco and Anna University in 2007 where Paul Lindstrom of Malmo University was the main trainer. All our activities were industry supported.
Training is the most difficult and expensive part of our mission but we saw that the US-based Idealliance with its strong back-end of online training and certifications could be a way forward. Idealliance India was formed in 2013 primarily to implement our mission of skills training, best practices and color standardization.
If our print industry is really going to excel in terms of quality and productivity it will have to invest in human resources with clear objectives. Investment in best practices and color management and standardization gives an immediate payback in efficiencies, less wastage, improved pricing and scaling exports. Printers who invest in this G7 skill development and methods of standardization can speak to buyers with a meaningful set of performance criteria and the confidence of profitable compliance.
What’s next? Why G7 Expert training?
So far more than 20 companies have become members of Idealliance India and supported our G7 seminars and training activities. Now it is time to create G7 certified experts in the country who can consult with printers and hand-hold them as they improve their day-to-day practices in standardization and color management.
This is already what the best color consultants are doing in the country and we want to support them and their customers and their customers’ employees with G7 training and G7 Professional and G7 Expert training and certification. In the next phase, we plan to induct 40 companies as members of Idealliance India (China already has more than 200 Idealliance members) and to hold the G7 Professional and Expert four-day training and certification programme in Mumbai from 20 to 24 September 2016. The trainer will be Steve Smiley, the G7 expert and active member of the ISO TC 130 committee for graphic arts standards development. While certification is only open to Idealliance India members nonmembers can also take part in the training.
We have to create an abundance of color experts and skilled technicians with G7 Professional and Expert certifications. The goal is to create at least five to ten Indian G7 Experts who can help and consult with our members at reasonable costs and help them implement best practices and the G7 method for color standardization. The G7 method is aligned to ISO standards and is a practical solution for achieving quality color targets across substrates and technologies. It is designed to specify and standardize color reproduction across substrates for offset, flexo, inkjet signage, digital print and gravure for print buyers and suppliers.