This past weekend, I took my son to the Ontario Universities Fair where we joined hoards of teens and their parents to learn about a plethora of higher education opportunities. As my son stood in line at each of the university booths to discuss all things computer programming, I meandered over to the communications areas of each institution, where the catchphrase of the day appeared to be “new media” — mostly centred on digital media. Most of the programs offered combine visual arts with computing skills (programming, Photoshop and every other Adobe program you could think of, etc.) This makes sense to me; after all, print (brochures, ads, newsletters) and online (websites, e-communications) collateral require both artistic and IT skills. Nowadays you can’t be a graphic designer without knowing how to create everything from a printed annual report to a highly interactive website. Or so I thought.
Standing in line at the Ryerson University booth, I overheard a student from the Communications and Design department talk about a program called Graphic Communications Management. I thought I heard her say that the program covered graphic design for print only and that it was the only degree course of its kind in Canada. Really? No websites, no e-newsletters? Graphic design for print only? I admit it, I was taken aback. But it is true.
Ryerson’s School of Graphic Communications Management is “Canada’s only degree-granting program for the printing industries. Our 4-year degree offers incredible opportunities in all areas of digital imaging and print production leading to a management career in the dynamic and rapidly growing printing industries.”
According to StatsCan, the printing industry is an $11 billion industry employing 60,000 people. It includes packaging, signage and billboards, books, magazines and newspapers, and even your library card. Look around you; print is everywhere!
While it’s true that digital media is growing at an exponential rate, and pretty well every organization needs, at a minimum, a website and e-communications, the print industry is still alive, well and thriving. From your wine bottles, to your desk calendar to the $20 bill in your wallet, most of us encounter print every moment of every day.
So good on Ryerson for taking a step back and recognizing that this is a significant area many other programs have left behind. And smart are the not-for-profits who take advantage of a medium that is front and centre, a hundred times a day, in order to target their potential donors.