Surface Imaging Blends Art, Technology, Entrepreneurship

The rapid adoption of digital printing technologies and the rise of Internet of Things are creating exciting opportunities for entrepreneurial designers.

The increased use of all forms of digital printing is creating a demand for short runs of custom-designed wallcoverings, textiles, ceramics, and glassware. Plus, the ability to “print” electronics and sensors on thin, flexible films has made it possible to design interactive fashion, sportswear, wallpaper, and window films.

Once you learn more about the technologies and huge range of materials used in “surface imaging,” you will quickly see that the possibilities for creative new products and designs are limited only by your imagination.

Investors in digital printing equipment are looking for well-trained and creative designers to help them get the most from their equipment.

To get involved in this burgeoning field, check out the graduate-level Surface Imaging program at Philadelphia University. The University is currently accepting new degree candidates for a one-year program that begins in May, 2016.

The Surface Imaging program at Philadelphia University is a unique graduate program for designers and artists who want to bring their creativity to life through state-of-art digital printing technologies.

Surface Imaging at PhilaU from Philadelphia University on Vimeo.

Working in the Center for Excellence in Surface Imaging, you will learn how to apply your painting, drawing, photography and printmaking skills to fabrication projects that involve state-of-the-art digital printing and additive material deposition and subtraction-printing technologies.

The curriculum includes courses in surface imaging design, printing technology,  and material and polymer science. To find the best opportunities within the fast-growing digital-printing industry, you will also study entrepreneurship and develop a business plan that integrates design, applied engineering, and innovative business models.

The Center for Excellence of Surface Imaging has been supported by international imaging industries, including printer manufacturers, ink formulators, and software developers.

Upon graduation, you will be prepared for a leadership role in developing new products for the architecture, interior design, textile manufacturing, fashion apparel, and home industries.

To apply, act quickly. According to Hitoshi Ujiie of the Center for Excellence in Surface Imaging, “While we have a rolling enrollment system, our preferred deadline for applications is February 1, 2016.”


MS Surface Imaging, Philadelphia University

Application Requirements

Designers Prepare for New Career Paths in Surface Imaging

DESIGNERS. Although the number of printed publications has declined, exciting new opportunities are emerging for designers who want to specialize in print.

Advances in industrial inkjet printers have made it possible to print images and designs on dozens of surfaces including fabrics, wallcoverings, wood, ceramic tiles, cork, metal, plastic, vinyl, glass, and folding cartons.

Although these printing systems were first used for signs and advertising graphics, they are quickly being adapted for use in architecture and interior design. For example, industrial inkjet printers are generating decorative patterns and images on murals, tabletops, and wallcoverings.


That’s why experienced textile design instructor Ujiie Hitoshi has created a new Master of Science degree in Surface Imaging at Philadelphia University.  According to Hitoshi, the MS in Surface Imaging will prepare students for career paths as imaging specialists in design, product development, and management in the fast-growing movement toward make-to-demand manufacturing and greater customization in experiential and interior design, residential and commercial architecture, apparel production, and home products.

Surface Imaging at PhilaU from Philadelphia University on Vimeo.

Students will use a variety of printing technologies in the new Center of Excellence in Surface Imaging and develop imagery for various physical forms.  Students will explore direct surface imaging on diverse porous and non-porous substrates. Students will also explore fabrication printing, including material subtraction (laser) and deposition technologies that can be used to create embossed effects. The Center of Excellence in Surface Imaging is part of Philadelphia University’s Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce.

The Surface Imaging program focuses on the integration of (1) design and creativity; (2) printing technology and applied engineering; and (3) innovative business systems to inform future leaders..

According the Ujiie, “The new MS program is for anyone who is interested in getting cutting-edge training in this rapidly expanding field. Ideal candidates are designers, artists, or craft practitioners who have a bachelor’s degree in art, craft, or design. However, we can provide prerequisite courses for those who do not have creative visual backgrounds.”


Philadelphia University: Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce: MS. in Surface Imaging

Salary Guides Identify Hot Jobs for Creative and IT Professionals

TCG-Salary-Barista-Cover2Creative professionals who can help companies keep pace with technology can earn heftier paychecks, according to the recently released 2014 Salary Guides from Robert Half Technology and The Creative Group.

Employers are prepared to offer increased compensation this year to skilled information technology (IT) and digital professionals who can help organizations meet the following objectives:

  • seize new opportunities in mobile communications
  • keep information and networks secure
  • turn data into business intelligence.

“It’s becoming imperative for companies to build their online presence and connect with customers through mobile channels but finding the specialized talent to design and develop for this fast-evolving space can be difficult,” said John Reed, senior executive director of Robert Half Technology and The Creative Group. ”Similar recruiting challenges exist around business intelligence. Companies want to use their information more strategically, but they struggle to find skilled professionals who can analyze raw data.”

Listed below are six roles that are among those expected to see the most substantial increases in average starting compensation in 2014, according to the Robert Half Salary Guides. (The salaries listed are U.S. national averages based on data published in the 2014 Salary Guides from Robert Half Technology and The Creative Group. Actual salary ranges may vary depending on location.)

1. Mobile applications developer: As companies expand their mobile initiatives to connect with consumers anytime,anywhere, they need professionals who can develop for smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. Experienced mobile applications developers can expect to see the largest increase (7.8 percent) in starting compensation of any tech position listed in this year’s Salary Guide, with salaries ranging from $100,000 to $144,000.

2. Business intelligence analyst: Organizations of all types want to derive more value from the data they generate, collect and store by turning it into actionable intelligence. Skilled business intelligence analysts can anticipate a 7.4 percent boost in starting compensation in 2014, with salaries ranging from $101,250 to $142,250.

3. Information systems security manager: Keeping data secure and protecting users and the network from cyber threats is a priority for any modern business. Information systems security managers who can assess and remediate vulnerabilities, threats and intrusions are in demand, and are projected to see a 6.8 percent bump in base compensation this year, with average starting salaries between $115,250 and $160,000.

4. User experience designer: Designing engaging user experiences is essential to the success of any mobile or web initiative — and requires specialized talent. User experience designers can expect to see average starting salaries between $78,000 and $120,000, up 7.5 percent from 2013.

5. Mobile designer: Compelling content and functionality are vital to delivering a satisfying interactive mobile experience. Skilled mobile designers can anticipate average starting salaries to increase 6.3 percent in 2014, to the range of $66,000 to $103,000.

6. User experience specialist: Developing innovative, interactive user experiences for web and mobile applications requires creativity and technical expertise. User experience specialists can expect to receive base compensation in the range of $79,000 to $118,000, a gain of 5.9 percent over last year.

More information about the positions listed above can be found in the Robert Half Technology 2014 Salary Guide, which includes a wide range of IT job descriptions, and The Creative Group 2014 Salary Guide, which focuses on interactive, design and marketing jobs.

Both Robert Half Technology and The Creative Group are divisions of Robert Half, the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm and a recognized leader in professional staffing services.


The Creative Group 2014 Salary Guide

The Creative Group

Robert Half Technology 2014 Salary Guide

Robert Half Technology

Why Small Businesses Can Give Graphic and Web Designers a Jumpstart to Success

Guest post by Owen Oliver

JumpStartGraphic and web design is an art as well as a job. Unfortunately, like most artists, designers tend to go long periods of time without consistent work. At the beginning of their careers they may struggle just to find any reliable work. The good news for designers is that as more business is done over the internet, the demand for designers is only projected to increase over the next decade.

Nonetheless, as an artist with a smaller portfolio in a competitive job market it can be tough to find that first big break. The key for young designers today is to find businesses that are still just a planted seed. Going to work for smaller businesses may not pay as much right out of the gate but the fact is if you join them early enough, their growth as a business will parallel the growth of your portfolio.

Any business owner will tell you that good marketing is essential in the early stages of building a business. There is not a more versatile and effective form of marketing than a well-constructed website. The trouble is many business owners lack the web skills or Adobe Training  to set up a marketable website. It is for this reason that a young designer and a small business owner are match made in start-up heaven. They are both trying to develop themselves as professionals and have the ability to make the other grow. In this sink-or-swim economy neither party is going to prosper if the business relationship does not produce results.

Many young designers make the mistake of trying to find a business within the city that is constantly near a large population and may stand a better chance of taking off. The problem with this approach is that office space and property within the city is usually more expensive and if a business has set up shop there this means they usually have decent amount of money and they want to be able to market their business more with billboards, flyers, apparel, etc.

Young designers are better off looking for work with smaller establishments in the towns outside major cities because these are usually the ones who are in more dire need of online marketing. Sure it probably won’t pay as much to work for “Uncle Sam’s Private Owned Tire Business” but you as designer will have much more creative freedom and be able to showcase your skills.

Today’s economy is a jungle and if you’re thrown out in the middle of the wild, which do you want to take over first — the biggest apple tree or the small stream of fresh drinkable water? This mindset can help both small business owners and designers. For designers, look for the lesser known brands and newly started up businesses.They are the ones who need help with marketing the most.

For small business owners, be smart with the money you have whether from investors or from an accelerator program. Find a good graphic designer looking to build their portfolio. They will usually be very affordable to hire and will work hard to help you market your brand to the entire world. As a freelance marketing specialist there are few others who depend on the success of the business they work for more than a freelance designer.

Owen Oliver is a designer and marketing writer for American Graphics Institute. When he’s not teaching a Photoshop class or helping someone with Adobe Training he enjoys swimming and watching his Seahawks play. 

Book Offers Excellent Advice for Creating Your Own Job Opportunities

50 Jobs in 50 States CoverAfter failing to get a single job offer after 40+ interviews and following the traditional advice for job-seeking, USC economics grad Daniel Seddiqui figured there had to be a better way. Sure enough—by being creative, resourceful, and determined – he found ways to get 50 jobs, in 50 states, in 50 weeks.

His resume now includes stints as a photographer in Alaska, a hydrologist in Colorado, a rodeo announcer in South Dakota, a coal miner in West Virginia, an Amish woodworker in Pennsylvania, a theme park entertainer in Florida, a cheese maker in Wisconsin, a seafood restaurant cook in Maryland, a model and modeling agent in North Carolina, an Internet marketing specialist in New York, and an auto mechanic in Michigan.

Many creative pros use personal projects to help them land the type of opportunities they want. But if you aren’t convinced it’s possible to create your own career opportunities, read Daniel Seddiqui’s book “50 Jobs in 50 States: One Man’s Journey of Discovery Across America.”

While the book is geared toward college grads who feel uncertain about how to jump-start their careers started, “50 Jobs in 50 States” is a fascinating, inspiring read for anyone who wants to redirect their career in a more satisfying direction. In each chapter, Seddiqui describes the highs and lows of his experience in each state.

In West Virginia, Daniel Seddiqui went into the coal mines for Dynamic Energy.
In West Virginia, Daniel Seddiqui went into the coal mines for Dynamic Energy.

What makes the story so compelling is the raw honesty with which Seddiqui tells it. He talks about the pressure he felt from his parents, the self-doubt created by his inability to get a job right out of college, and some of the 5,000 rejections ( and laughter!) he heard as he tried to convince people to hire him for just a week. When he embarked on his quest, he only had a 10 jobs lined up. But he resolved to do whatever it took to line up the other jobs as he went.

Because he hadn’t been able to get sponsors to help fund his adventure, he had very little money when he set out from his parents home in California.

So sometimes he slept in his car and showered at the local YMCA.  On many weekends, he drove 800 to 1,000 miles to get from one gig to the next. He struggled through exhaustion, difficult working conditions, and illness.

As with any well-written story, this one features a strong and determined protagonist who overcomes a series of conflicts and obstacles to get what he wants. The journey proves to be an eye-opening, life-changing experience – with a happy ending.

By the time he completed his journey, Seddiqui had received offers of full-time jobs from 48 of the employers he had worked. (He also met the woman he would become his wife.)

In a speech Seddiqui presented in Cincinnati, he talked about the five factors that helped him succeed in his quest: adaptability, perseverence, endurance, risk-taking, and networking.  He urged job-seekers not to limit themselves by applying only for jobs in their majors or in fields recommended by friends or family.

At Universal Studios in Orlando, Daniel Seddiqui walked on stilts as an entertainer for the Revenge of the Mummy ride.
At Universal Studios in Orlando, Daniel Seddiqui walked on stilts as an entertainer for the Revenge of the Mummy ride.

Here are four key points that struck me as I read the book, interviewed Seddiqui and watched his speech in Cincinnati:

A college degree doesn’t entitle you to great job.

Although college marketing campaigns might lead you to believe otherwise, a degree is not a golden ticket to secure, well-paying job.  “But if you have faith in yourself and your mission, good things can come your way,” said Seddiqui. He advises students to graduate with a positive attitude and show your willingness to work and be trained.

You don’t need a professional publicist to get national and international press coverage.

When Seddiqui called his local newspaper to tell them about his project, the editors put the story on the front page and it soon hit the news wires.

Media organizations that covered parts of his journey included ABC’s World News Tonight, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, Time, NPR, The Today Show, the Chicago Sun Times, Fox News, and the Los Angeles Times.

Over time, Seddiqui used his ability to attract media coverage to his advantage. In some cities, the prospect of attracting media attention made it easier to persuade targeted employers to hire him for just a week.

Having an open mind is important.

“You won’t realize new opportunities unless you’re adaptable to changing circumstances,” said Seddiqui. Throughout his journey, he experienced different lifestyles, religions, foods, and hobbies He also accepted the living arrangements of the employers or families who hosted him. While working as a park ranger In Wyoming, he lived in a trailer. As golf caddie In South Carolina, he lived in a posh resort on Kiawah Island.

After finishing the 50-week trip, Seddiqui realized he had learned about 50 different ways of life and how much America has to offer. He was amazed to see how much the local environment shape who we are and how we spend our time

Networking is incredibly powerful.

Everywhere he went, Seddiqui met people who were willing to help him achieve his mission. “I quickly learned that if you prove yourself and your capabilities to people, they will remember you and connect you to others.”

In Pennsylvania, Daniel Seddiqui worked as a woodworker for an Amish-owned business Wolf Rock Furniture.
In Pennsylvania, Daniel Seddiqui worked as a woodworker for an Amish-owned business Wolf Rock Furniture.

Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory started following Daniel Seddiqui on Facebook after seeing him featured on the Today Show. They met at en event in Washington, DC, and the Mayor invited Seddiqui to speak at an August 26 forum at Cincinnati’s Museum Center.

What’s Next?

Since publishing the book “50 Jobs in 50 States,” Seddiqui has been “Lecturing the Map,” sharing what he has learned with other young people. (See this speaker promotional video below.) He has also developed a semester-long program to expose college students to a wider range of career possibilities and industries.

For his next book project, Seddiqui has been traveling to some of the struggling or secluded communities throughout the U.S. to get an up-close view of what might be required to initiate social change. He has visited immigrant camps in the San Joachim Valley of California, an Indian reservation in South Dakota, and small towns in the Appalachian Mountains of Eastern Kentucky.

Seddiqui tells college students and recent grads that failing those first 40 job interviews was the best thing that ever happened to him. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have started on his journey and discovered opportunities that better fit his personality.

Most importantly, he learned not to fear failure. Despite all the hardships and setbacks he faced along the way, Seddiqui says, “I was optimistic about the journey and focused on the light at the end of the tunnel,” says Seddiqui. “I learned that each rejection moved me closer to an acceptance.”

In the book, Seddiqui concludes that “Even if people walk away from you, ignore you, tell you no, or shoot your dream down, the power lies within you to create an opportunity for yourself.”


50 Jobs in 50 States: One Man’s Journey of Discovery Across America (BK Life (Paperback))

Website: Living the Map

YouTube: TEDxUSC Talk: 50 Jobs in 50 States by Daniel Seddiqui

In-House Creative Teams Are Growing in Size and Status

A new research paper, “5 Trends Every In-House Designer Should Know,” indicates that over the next 3 to 5 years, in-house design and marketing teams will expand and exert more influence on creative efforts.

The report also sheds light on the inner workings of corporate design departments and highlights trends any creative professional can take advantage of in the coming years.

The research was co-developed by The Creative Group (TCG) and AIGA, the professional association for design. It is part of INitiative, a program developed to help in-house creatives make a greater impact at their companies, evolve professionally and connect with a broader network of peers.

For the study, TCG and AIGA surveyed more than 400 AIGA members, all of whom work in-house. The study team also interviewed thought leaders who have extensive corporate work experience.

Key Findings

  • Six in 10 (61 percent) in-house creatives expect their company’s budget for creative services to increase in the next three to five years; only 10 percent anticipate budget declines. In addition, 55 percent of respondents predict the size of their team will grow over the same time period versus 6 percent who think it will shrink.
  • Sixty-one percent of in-house creatives believe they’ll have more influence on their company’s business decisions in the next three to five years.
  • More than half (52 percent) of in-house professionals said the greatest challenge for their team is managing heavier workloads, and 58 percent of respondents expect to rely more on help from freelancers and agencies in the coming three to five years.
  • While 29 percent of in-house creatives expect to stay in their current role, half of respondents anticipate moving to another corporate job or agency, pursuing freelance work or leaving the industry entirely. This trend will make retaining good employees a key priority for employers.

In-House Creative Teams on the Rise

Why are corporate creative and marketing careers gaining appeal? In part, design is enjoying a higher perceived value to business, and companies are placing greater emphasis on branding and creative execution.

Organizations also recognize the unique value proposition in-house teams can provide: When asked to name the greatest single benefit of utilizing these resources over external agencies, a majority (57 percent) of respondents cited deep knowledge of the company’s brand and product or service offerings.

Heavier Workloads Challenge Teams

As the number of corporate initiatives rises, particularly in the digital realm, in-house professionals say managing heavier workloads is their biggest challenge. Savvy employers understand when to call in reinforcements — and this opens new opportunities for creative freelancers and agencies who seek to partner with corporate teams.
“Managers should always be looking for ways to keep their employees engaged and enthusiastic. This includes keeping a close eye on burnout potential and knowing who to call to quickly access freelance talent to help during busy times and keep creativity at its peak,” said Donna Farrugia, executive director of The Creative Group. “Planning fun team-building activities may seem like a simple solution, but it can relieve stress and build employee camaraderie.”

Strategy Translates to Greater Respect

While the in-house professionals surveyed predict they’ll play a greater role in their company’s business decisions, they still feel they’re battling a lack of respect from internal clients. Corporate design leaders say that their teams must take responsibility for bridging that “respect gap.”

“The value of the creative mind is being promoted in progressive business and strategy circles,” said Richard Grefe, executive director of AIGA. “To become what they want to be, in-house creatives must steep their own work in an understanding — and the vernacular — of corporate strategy.”

“To chart a positive in-house career path, creative professionals should focus not just on their work, but also on the results it generates and the value it brings to the company,” added Farrugia. “Creatives should gather as much data as possible on the outcomes of major projects. Did a new packaging design result in higher sales, for example? Did a website refresh lead to more orders? Create a compelling story about how your team solves business problems — and tell that story throughout the organization.”

Creative Teams Need Nurturing

As the economy strengthens, companies must make an effort to retain top performers or risk losing them. Half of in-house creatives surveyed anticipate changing jobs, whether to another firm or agency, or to pursue freelance work or a different industry. To avoid losing key players, employers must show them they are valued and create opportunities for continued growth.

“In addition to the perks and benefits a company can provide, offering various career paths for creative professionals can go a long way toward retaining top performers,” said Farrugia. “Expose employees to different leaders of the company and encourage them to volunteer for cross-departmental projects to help broaden their skill sets and build their professional networks.”

To download a complimentary copy of 5 Trends Every In-House Designer Should Know, watch interviews with thought leaders or learn more about the research project, visit:

The Creative Group (TCG) specializes in placing a range of highly skilled interactive, design, marketing, advertising and public relations professionals with a variety of firms on a project and full-time basis.

AIGA is the professional association for design, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing design as a professional craft, strategic tool and vital cultural force.


5 Trends Every In-House Designer Should Know

About The Creative Group

About AIGA