As promised in my LinkedIn group, this year I am going to share a lot of information from, and about our community through PrintMediaCentr. There is no better way to kick this off than to introduce you all to Jim Raffel.

I met Jim in person at SGIA Expo 11, (here is video proof) and his knowledge of color management was expansive, but I think it was our mutual love of kerning discovered at PODi AppForum 12 that sealed the deal for me. Since then, along with his partner in crime Shelby Sapusek, we have shared plenty of information and quips through our social channels. It was through Facebook actually that I discovered Jim was setting off to redefine the sales trip, one mile and one customer at a time!

This project is an amazing example of how to re:think in 2014, set yourself apart from the pack, share information while you are doing it, involve your customers in helping spread the word and be part of the adventure, incorporate social media, bring the community along your journey, and make time to have some fun along the way!

Citizens of the Printerverse, may I present Jim Raffel… Road Warrior!

Jim_Raffel-print-media-centrDC: Who is Jim Raffel and what does he do? 

JR: I wear several hats in my professional life, the most significant of which is co-founder and CEO of ColorMetrix Technologies, LLC. In that capacity I manage the day-to-day operations and sales for our company which provides color verification and process control solutions for the printing and packaging supply chain. I also create content and help businesses build online presence via another venture, She / He Media, I started with Shelby Sapusek. The content I create shows up on multiple web properties each week, including JimRaffel.com, BusinessTravelExclusive.com, and SheHeMedia.com.

DC: How has the rise of Digital and Inkjet impacted the color management process? 

JR: Well the first change is that digital changed the meaning of the phrase color management. Today when someone uses the term color management they are speaking of creating ICC profiles and managing workflows. Back in the day it meant pretty much anything having to do with measuring and controlling color. What digital and ink jet did to both uses of the term was make it more complicated. But if you are ColorMetrix, it is awesome because we love challenges!

DC: Any tips on how to achieve the best consistency?

JR: Of course the shameless self-promoter in me would say, hire ColorMetrix to help you out with professional services and the best color verification and process control solutions out there… but the reality is you need to start measuring, today. Trying to control color without a measuring instrument such as a spectrophotometer, is like trying to get from Chicago to New York without your GPS. Invest in color measuring equipment that will allow you to measure color at various stages in your workflow, and then record those measurements somewhere. You can start with a legal pad or a spreadsheet. The important thing is to establish a baseline of where you are today so you can map which direction your color quality is going in the future.

DC: I first met you through our mutual friends at MUTOH America. Why do you think wide format is considered a growth area for print? 

JR: Is this a trick question? No? Okay, wide format is a growth area for many reasons, but probably the two most significant are: dramatic increases in color quality over the last several years and the increased emphasis in point of sale displays as a means of customer acquisition due to media dilution. Another example is the ability to wrap a vehicle as we are doing to my Audi A4 for 6K30Days. Before inkjet technology you had to paint a car for this type of effect and now it’s a relatively easy and inexpensive proposition.

#6k30days-print-media-centrDC: OK, what is #6K30days and how did it come to be? 

JR: So, I read this question out loud and my business partner in crime Shelby, she said in response “One day I ate and drank a little bit of crazy…” – So, yes, this journey/adventure requires a certain element of that. The reality is, when I finished college decades ago, many of my friends headed off to Europe with a Eurail Pass – to this day I wish I had as well. Fast forward three decades and I’m fortunate enough to find myself in a place where I can work from anywhere. I’ve decided to put that to the test and get out of the Wisconsin winter for 3 to 4 weeks. I charted a route that allows me to visit plenty of ColorMetrix clients while also taking some time for myself to ski, go caving, and hang in fun places like New Orleans and Miami.

DC: How can people get involved as sponsors or supporters? 

JR: Finally a simple question. Visit, http://6K30Days.com and click on the big green button that says “Click to contact us about becoming a 6K30Days sponsor”

DC: What are your three favorite road trip songs and why? 

JR: My three songs come from three periods of my life. It’s also fair to let your readers know that music is very personal for me, so I spent about 90 minutes listening to tracks last night to answer this question.

Harden My Heart (by Quarterflash) – I think my road trip spirit was sparked when I was going to school in Rochester, New York and my home/family was still in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Those 728 mile drives in a 1984 VW Rabbit GTi required lots of good 80s music to keep me awake and this album was one of my standbys at 2 a.m.

I Drove All Night (by Roy Orbison) – What a great road trip song when you are tired of driving and want to quit. You know ’cause he “drove all night to be with you.” It was the first song that popped into my head when I read this question.

Runaway (by Linkin Park) – There comes a time in every parent’s life when you need to start passing stuff on to your kids. When they were younger we took lots of driving trips with our kids and this song (and group) became one of our staples when everyone was tired and had had enough.

DC: PMC will be tracking and sharing info as your #6K30days Media Partner (yay!). How else can people connect with you on your journey?

JR: Lots of ways! The 6K30Days landing page which I’ll be trying to update daily – http://6K30Days.com. The Twitter accounts of me (@raffel), Shelby (@ShelMKE), and @BizTravelTips.

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