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‘Pocket Pal’s’ enduring legacy

Jan 1, 2005 12:00 AM

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"Pocket Pal," the handy little book of graphic arts production, is now in its 19th edition. As current editor Frank Romano notes, Mike Bruno shaped the famous guide’s contents for more than half of its 70 years. Mike is still going strong at 93—we wanted to let him know how many people he’s helped. For such a small book, it’s had a huge impact!

"I have been using ‘Pocket Pals’ since I was a design student at New York University, about thirty-something years ago. My first class was with the great designer Herbert Rosenthal, and ‘Pocket Pal’ was on his required books list. Over the years I have distributed them at production classes I have taught for corporate clients and staff. Thank you for a very useful tool!"—Marcia Miller, principal, Ink Direct,

"A big thank you to Mike from Printcraft Press (Idaho Falls, ID). The ‘Pocket Pal’ is mandatory reading for our CSRs and sales reps."—Jeanie Riemer, Printcraft Press,

"I travel to pressrooms around the country. Whenever I meet someone who is interested in learning more about the printing industry, I recommend the ‘Pocket Pal.’

"When I first became interested in the graphic arts, I peppered a friend with questions. He became exasperated and urged me to study some books on printing. At the time I was a single mom, with three small children. I wanted to get back into the workforce, but I wasn’t sure how or what to pursue. I took my friend’s advice, went to RIT and bought the ‘Pocket Pal’ and a couple of other books.

"Over the course of a year, I studied that book from cover to cover and decided that I wanted to go into printing. I took a job in a flexo pressroom to make sure that printing was indeed what I wanted to do, and later attended RIT full-time. Thanks, Mike, for helping me to find a wonderful and satisfying career!"—Terri L. Wiesner, national account manager, Flint Ink Corp.,

"When I got into the printing industry, I used ‘Pocket Pal’ from cover to cover. It explained a lot of terms, helped me understand things back then about stripping, film and different types of plates (subtractive). It also outlined ink tack, problems involving paper and more. It’s a great book and a "must have" for those who really want to learn the trade."—James Briar, IGI Earth Color,

"From my days at RIT (PPRM Class of ‘81) to teaching an Intro to Printing course at the adult vocational high school here in Delaware a few years back, and even in my current position, the ‘Pocket Pal’ has been a valuable tool."—Kevin Klabunde, manager project planning, Foxfire Printing,

"I started out in the graphic arts in the 1970s. I had picked up some basics from printers, paper mills and direct experience. So when I got a copy of ‘Pocket Pal,’ I thought I could just skim it—it was just a little book—how much could it contain? Well, it was crammed with stuff I didn’t know. It was the most important book I read to take my career to the next level. I read it from cover to cover, pored over the illustrations, went back to check key points as I read onward, and tried to absorb it all.

"I’ve had a chance to educate many others in my 30-year career, and though they all wonder why a little book issued by a paper mill is at the top of my reading list, they become converts just as I did. Mike, you did an extremely important thing. There probably isn’t anyone in this business your words haven’t touched. Thank you!"—Alex Brown, president, Printmark Corp.,

Editor’s note: Mike Bruno passed away on January 2, 2005. Our condolences to his friends and family. Mike truly helped shape modern lithography. For a wonderful account of Mike's life and many industry contributions, click here.

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