Feb. 27, 2015

Contact: Ken Macro

Cal Poly’s International Printing Week 2015 Draws Record Numbers

SAN LUIS OBISPO — More than 450 students, faculty and industry representatives attended the Cal Poly Graphic Communication Department’s 2015 International Printing Week, held Jan. 26-30.

Celebrated at Cal Poly since 1984, International Printing Week honors the life and work of Benjamin Franklin and his contributions to science, technology, communication, and the printed word.

The six-day program included seminars by industry leaders, a banquet, Career Day, and the Design & Dev Hackathon — all centered on the theme “Graphic Communication and Gen Z.” Seminars were presented in digital imaging and packaging and design and website development.

“The graphic communication industry has significantly evolved over the past few decades and is constantly attempting to ‘redefine itself’ with new and innovative technologies,” said Ken Macro, chair of the Graphic Communication Department. “The program focused on these changes by hosting several themed days, including Business and Printing Technology Day, Design and Web Media Day, and Packaging and Printed Electronic and Functional Imaging Day.”

Two special sessions were conducted on Cal Poly’s recently acquired historic publication collection, the Raymond J. Prince Graphic Arts Technology and Science Collection. It will become part of the largest library of its kind focusing on printing technology and science. Professor Emeritus Gary Field, an internationally recognized printing technologist and researcher, provided an overview of the collection, and Rochester Institute of Technology Professor Emeritus Frank Romano introduced the more rare volumes in the collection.

Nearly 190 people attended the banquet at San Luis Obispo’s Embassy Suites. Alumna Laura Lawton-Forsyth was the keynote speaker. Lawton-Forsyth, president of Lawton Printing Inc. and File-Ez Folder Inc. in Spokane, Wash., is the fourth generation to join her family business. She spoke on strategies for running a company, exploring new markets while continuing to serve existing ones, and the importance of visionary thinking in a dynamic industry.

The department’s advisory board held its biannual meeting with panel sessions on the future of the industry and the opportunities afforded future graphic communication alumni. The board also discussed future initiatives relating to the Graphic Communication Institute and ways to improve the current student/industry internship program.

International Printing Week concluded with its annual Career Day and the Design & Dev Hackathon. Twenty-four companies from around the nation recruited graduating seniors for full-time positions and lower-division students for internships.

The Design & Dev Hackathon is an annual 24-hour student competition designed to demonstrate creative thinking and technical acumen in designing and creating apps for mobile devices. “As integrated marketing communication technologies continue to supplement the world of print media, the future of Web and app development must remain rooted in the print and imaging sciences,” Macro said. 

Next year’s Cal Poly GrC International Printing Week is scheduled for the week of Jan. 25-29, 2016. Anyone interested in sponsoring, attending or speaking at the event, should contact Macro at


- Graphic Communication Department:

- College of Liberal Arts:

About the Cal Poly Graphic Communication Department
The Graphic Communication Department at Cal Poly is one of the best-known and largest programs of its kind in the Western U.S. The department is home to more than 33,000 square feet of laboratories filled with cutting-edge equipment donated in large part through industry partnerships. The department serves approximately 300 undergraduate students pursuing a degree in graphic communication with emphases in four focus areas. The department began offering a new Master of Science degree program in printed electronics and functional imaging in January 2015.

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