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The Quebec Institute of Graphic Communications

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Canada had no higher-education facility where graphics production professionals could train in their craft. An industry/government consortium raised funds to create a national graphic communications training center. State-of-the-art Apple Macintosh computer systems are key components in the center's research, production modeling, and technical education programs.

Key Benefits:

  • Macintosh computer labs will help train Canadian graphic artists and technicians in state-of-the-art graphics technologies.
  • Apple's outstanding expertise in graphics technology will be incorporated into the center's curriculum.
  • The Canadian graphics industry will no longer have to look to other countries for advanced research and training.

Canada has long enjoyed a strong printing and graphic communications industry. But the country has not had college-level programs that offer courses in the technology and processes of graphic production. Young people planning for a career in graphics could choose from several schools to study journalism or creative arts, or take degrees in printing business management. But if they sought to equip themselves to work in the technical side of the industry-learning about the hardware and processes for applying ink to paper-they had to go out of their country, at considerable expense, to attend a school such as the Rochester Institute of Technology in the United States. The same was true for veteran industry workers looking to upgrade their knowledge and skills to keep pace with a field that is rapidly changing because of technological advances.

Problem: The Canadian graphic communications industry had long realized the need for its own training and research center. In 1981, Montreal's College Ahuntsic, with a 50-year history of training in graphics communication, first suggested establishing a center based on the Rochester Institute of Technology model that would offer expertise and innovation in the field. The Rochester center had been created to support the graphic communications industry's need for training, retraining, information, documentation, consultation, company assistance, and applied research programs and services. As time passed, the impetus to create a Canadian center began to grow. To succeed, a center would need to provide the world's most advanced printing and graphics preparation equipment.

Solution: Paralleling the Rochester Institute's history of strong industry affiliations, a committee of Canadian graphics industry leaders met in late 1992 to devise an initial fund-raising campaign, which successfully collected the first $16 million from more than 300 investors, including corporations in the graphics industry as well as the municipal, provincial, and federal governments. Ground was broken for a state-of-the-art facility to house the new center, L'Institut des Communications Graphiques du Quebec (ICGQ), in November, 1994. By the end of December, 1995, the building was ready.

The Institute had already approached leading graphics equipment manufacturers with the idea of placing their latest equipment in the complex on a revolving loan basis, replacing it as newer equipment became available. The industry, including Apple Computer, responded enthusiastically, and when the building was ready, equipment began to arrive. The equipment roster represents the creme-de-la-creme of the graphics industry-Heidelberg, Harris, Xerox, Agfa, Kodak, Linotype Hell, 3M, Adobe, Varn, Web Tech, Escher Grad, Polychrome, Tektronix-at the core of which is a web of Apple Macintosh equipment used for everything from creating computer graphics to digital page layout and numerical imaging.

Apple plays a key role. Recognized internationally as the premier computer graphics/printing production platform, Apple provided the Apple Power Macintosh computers which are the backbone of the numerical lab and the imaging lab. The imaging lab is also equipped with an Apple QuickTake 150 digital camera and an Apple Color LaserWriter printer. Another high level Macintosh computer lab is the nerve center of the prepress department, and a separate Apple Macintosh laboratory installation supports the center's multimedia teaching and research effort. Altogether, there are 25 Power Macintosh computers throughout the center. "Apple has been a key participant for us," says Gilles Pilon, the center's chief executive officer. "With all the industry specialists to advise us, we know that Apple Macintosh systems are the most widely depended-upon computers in the graphic production world. How could we be representing the state of the art without them?"

A graphics-dedicated structure. The ICGQ building is a 45,000-square-foot structure planned from the outset for graphic communications systems. It is networked with 100 megabyte transmission capability throughout. Every press, production module, and prepress component is digitally networked with every other, and with the outside. The center is fully equipped for digitally distributed advertising production (DDAP), an emerging mega-trend in graphic communications.

Benefits: The new institute will provide a site for training, skills upgrading, research, technology transfers, and experimentation for all businesses in this vital sector of the economy. Jean-Pierre Gagne, chairman of the board of the ICGQ and president of one of Quebec's largest printers, proudly states, "The Institute will play an indispensable role throughout the graphic communications industry.xIt is a gift to future generations of craftsmen, making it easier for them to strive for excellence in the performance of their art."

Apple Macintosh computers are important core components for the institute-in the multimedia division, the prepress division, the numerical lab, and the imaging lab. "The center is unique," says chief executive officer Pilon, "in that we represent the full gamut of the graphics process under one roof, from creation through prepress to printing. And Apple computers support every step."

Of course, Apple contributes to the ICGQ by supplying state-of-the-art Macintosh computers and other equipment. But Apple is participating at another level as well. The Institute has integrated Apple's Masters of Media Seminar Series, including "Workflow Automation and Pre-press Production," "Intranet Workflow," "QuickTime Technologies and Media Authoring," and "Color Management in a Numeric Environment," into its regular curriculum.

By taking a major underwriting role in this great effort, Apple has reaffirmed its commitment to the graphic communications community, not only in Canada, but worldwide. The ICGQ will train students and industry workers from countries with existing and emerging graphic communication industries. It will undertake technology transfer programs that bring these individuals and nations up to speed quickly. And it will introduce them to graphic communications capabilities that are unsurpassed anywhere in the world.

See Also