Archive for August 5th, 2008

Speaking of developing a copywriting niche…here’s one I never knew existed until I found myself knee-deep in it: graphic arts, or GA to the tragically hip. And since I have to explain that every time I say it, here’s your quickie-wiki: Graphic arts is a term applied historically to the art of printmaking and drawing. In contemporary usage it refers to the applied trade-skills of a graphic designer or print technician.

I landed at an agency that had carved out this nice little niche in GA. They had covered every facet in the business, and managed to do it without a trace of conflict of interest. They had clients in press manufacturing, automatic unwind/rewind (the big spool devices that feed the press and collect the results,) splicing (so that you don’t have to stop between spools,) substrate (the stuff you print on, like paper, cardboard or film,) labeling, converting (when the thing you are printing is packaging,) and… and…oh yeah, INK.

It was nuts, and the learning curve was steep. So steep that, four years later, I am still trying to get through that giant stack of back issues of “Paper Film & Foil.” And it was often tough being the newbie in the room when my boss had lived, eaten and slept this stuff for 20 years. But it was a great learning experience, and the work ran the full gamut, including:

  • Press Releases
  • Brochures
  • Print Ads
  • Speeches
  • Trade Articles
  • Websites, and
  • Video Scripts

All in all, Graphic Arts is certainly one of the more arcane areas of my experience, one that gives new meaning to the phrase “ink-stained wretch.” But hey, it’s one more line on the resume…slightly less glamorous (but easier to explain) than cat-killer.

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