Demonstrating its steadfast commitment to promoting education in the graphic arts industry, Esko has donated multiple seats Studio and ArtiosCAD technology to Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. This donation, marking Esko's first gift to a design college, underscores the pivotal role graphic designers play in package and brand development.
Art Center College of Design, which offers Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Science, Master of Fine Arts, and Master of Science degrees, is consistently ranked among the world's top design schools by US News & World Report, Bloomberg BusinessWeek and DesignIntelligence.
A reputation by design
Founded 82 years ago by Edward A. "Tink" Adams, the College enjoys an international reputation for its rigorous, multi-disciplinary curriculum, faculty of professionals, strong ties to industry and a commitment to socially responsible design. Art Center's alumni include many of the world's leading designers, contemporary filmmakers, ad makers, concept illustrators, artists, automotive and product designers and others who have shaped culture with their talents and vision.
Esko's technology is a perfect complement to the curriculum within the graphic design track, as students are challenged to develop design solutions for product packaging and branding while experimenting with a wide range of media.
"While Esko is more widely known for packaging production tools, we also have a critical understanding of new challenges facing the design community -- particularly when designing complex shapes," notes Larry Moore, Esko Director Software Services, North America. "Our commitment to education is as strong for the design community as it is for the core packaging community."
Since joining the College in 2007, Gerardo Herrera, Art Center's Director of Packaging, was intent on bringing Esko technology to the campus. Well-versed with Esko's products from his previous job as Design Director/Brand Experience Designer for Nokia, he understood how critical it was that students gain hands-on experience using advanced technology to create package and brand design.
"Esko is the global industry leader in the area of packaging product software, visualizing and CAD," says Herrera." Late in 2011, he began a dialogue with Esko on the virtues of bringing its technology to the College.
Students began using the software in spring of 2012. "The true value of this donation is that the students will develop skills working with the leading industry software in the packaging world," says Herrera. "They will develop a comprehensive understanding of the workflow from start to finish."
Working closely with Art Center instructor Dan Hoy, who has established a strong educational packaging program at the College, Herrera wanted to create a solid marriage between the software side and the analog side for incoming students. "I wanted them to have a significant background on the various properties of the different materials used, and to understand the inherent differences between corrugated board and shrink wrap for instance," he says.
For the fall 2012 and spring 2013 terms, Esko Studio and ArtiosCAD are poised to become an integral part of the foundation for the Packaging Design 1 class, ensuring students learn the basics of packaging design. "One of the things they learn in this course is how to make a box," explains Herrera. "Now, they can see it on the computer using the Studio Visualizer tool in real-time, add specialty finishes, and see how that impacts their designs."
Adds Herrera, "Studio delivers real-time visualization while you create a package design. When you make a box, you can see how it folds; you can see in 3D how the design works. It lets you see the printing effects and embossing."
Herrera plans to use the Esko technology during the program's Packaging 2 course, in which students learn to push the boundaries, as well as in the Packaging 3 course, which provides students with real-life working environments.
"This is the way the industry is heading," says Herrera. "Designers can quickly visualize what they create for the brand owner, making changes on the spot if necessary. Then, at the artwork level, everything is laid out as it is supposed to be. You can do the artwork and see the build in real-time in 3D."
No time like the present
In the meantime, excited to put the technology to use, Herrera developed an Esko Package Design Workshop for the summer program that ran for seven weeks. It was taught by Kimberly Anne Yu, Esko Application Engineer.
In the beginning of the workshop, students develop new skill sets. One of the goals is to have the students build a basic box and apply graphics, creating concepts for a cube or a tissue box. For the second part of the workshop, the students go into greater depth, learning how to use Studio Toolkit for Flexibles, for packaging design. The curriculum digs deep into the different types of packaging applications that this software can render, such as stand-up and drink pouches, candy bar wrappers, snack bags - even diaper bags. A tutorial exercise will demonstrate how to create a bag from scratch, taking full advantage of Studio's tools palette, including pan/rotate, zoom, fold line, mesh, puller, freeze, align graphics and visualization, allowing settings for contents of air, liquid, material stiffness and rounding. The course will also review the concept of spot versus four-color, showing results in Studio. Students will explore putting graphics onto the bag, with second and third previewing. As the workshop comes to completion, students will work on an exercise to create a quick bag or pouch using Studio Toolkit for Flexibles.
"Esko's software is designed for visualization and production, and the realization of true packaging," says Herrera. "It takes you from start to finish so you can see a realistic version of what you've created."
Although the Esko technology is still fairly new for most of the students, the excitement is evident. "Our students are already trying to push the envelope with the software," says Herrera. "We predict by the end of next term to see some unexpected results. When our design students get their hands on the software, you will start seeing some surprising things."