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The beginnings of the Partner Programme for digital printing can be dated back to 2007. At that time, the Fogra Dealer Certification was launched together with partner companies such as EFI, CGS and GMG. The partners were able to submit Contract Proof Creation (CPC) certifications to Fogra after passing a test.
At the same time, companies approached Fogra for clarification because many so-called “consultants” and self-proclaimed “experts” were on the market offering service. However, those job descriptions were no indication of competence. Thus, in 2009, the “Digital Print Expert” was born – a neutral and trustworthy FograCert certification that proves people's expertise. The dealer certification eventually merged into the Digital Print Expert.
In 2020, this concept was renamed “Digital Print Partner”. The focus has remained the same over the years: with a personalized FograCert logo, certified partners are able to demonstrate their competence. In addition, they are authorized to leverage FograCert services. The number of submittable services has grown with the number of partners. Today, over 150 Digital Print Partners worldwide in more than 30 countries can submit three certifications to Fogra: ProcessStandard Digital (PSD), Validation Print Creation (VPC) and Contract Proof Creation (CPC).
Finally, the programme has been expanded with the “Digital Print Professional”. Here, the focus is on gaining knowledge, with the emphasis entirely on digital learning concepts.
In the early days, we didn't really do justice to the word “digital”, at least as far as the exams were concerned. “Deciphering the handwriting was quite a challenge when evaluating the exams,” recalls Berthold Oberhollenzer, who manages the partner programme together with Dr Andreas Kraushaar. Over the years, we made more and more use of digital concepts. Today, online trainings and exams are finding favor with our partners. This means that everyone interested in becoming a partner and partners who want to be re-certified after 2 years can flexibly schedule their training in self-paced learning.
“What makes us particularly happy is that Fogra partner training is recognized as an integrated part of the company's quality assurance concept for color fidelity. The employees we train as Digital Print Partners become the central hub for colour management in the company and ensure that the machines are set up correctly. We are also impressed by the creativity, commitment and pride of our partners around the world. They always come up with something for trade fairs, e.g. special T-shirts or business cards, to draw attention to their Fogra Digital Print Partner status,” says Dr Andreas Kraushaar, Head of Prepress Technology.
To become a Fogra Partner, Fogra membership of the company for which the partner works is a prerequisite. After all, trust plays a major role in a partnership. Close cooperation therefore often results in new and fruitful projects that go beyond certification services.