Until recently, jobs in the graphics arts industry were highly specialized and design expertise was left to a small few of skilled craftspersons. But as electronic—or desktop—publishing began to grow rapidly, more often, color control, proofing and workflow knowledge became a requirement for practically everyone involved in the printing and publishing process. Art directors, designers, service bureaus and prepress suppliers each embarked on what would become state-of-the-art production practices replete with sometimes advanced lingo and technological prowess. Not having an integral foundation in these parts could therefore mean missed deadlines, expensive mistakes and poor-quality end products—problems that trickle into virtually every aspect of the industry. That's why Bruce Lanzerotti of the Primesource Group and Dennis Balas of Quad/Graphics decided to make production 101 not only more accessible to every faction, but do so void of pitches. They began a new group called BRIDG's (Basic Requirements for International Design and Graphic Solutions) that would address production using short, simple, easy-to-read books. According to Balas, the group already published two of these texts, one targeting color proofing and the other, concise color theory.
"We saw a need for basic graphic arts materials to give to customers," Balas explains. But the outreach didn't stop there. He adds that designers, educators, students, CSRs and sales people have also been established as a wide demographic for the series. "We have already reached 11 or 12 colleges around the country," he says. Each of the schools, such as City University of New York and Montana State, have art and design programs. The goal of BRIDG's is to not only educate persons already working in the industry, but to get a headstart with the next generation. To reach these goals most effectively, Balas says that the manuals are non-denominational, meaning that while major companies have donated time and insights, the books do not address specific products or pitch sales. Instead, the books focus entirely on theory, a contrast, says Balas, to many of the outdated, public relations propaganda that already exists.