Advances in technology have made a plethora of activities in daily life infinitely easier and more accessible, but perhaps the biggest advancements was within the graphic design industry. For every single action that you do onscreen from the click of a button to the drag of the mouse amounted to the equivalent of a series of labour-intensive, precision-prevalent actions in the pre-digital world — cue hours of measuring, drawing, cutting and pasting before you could even begin putting a print layout together, which would then entail a host of cumbersome machines in the process thereafter. Back then you left it to the professionals to do the job, you had to have stamina and patience, there was no such thing as Adobe Creative Cloud or Microsoft Office, graphic design was about to have it’s very own industrial revolution.
Graphic Means is a documentary film by Briar Levit currently in post-production that looks to explore graphic design production of the 1950s through to the 1990s – from linecaster to photocomposition, and from paste-up to PDF. Unveiling the fascinating world of graphic design before desktop publishing featuring the likes of leading figures from graphic design including Ellen Lupton, Malcolm Garrett, Tobias Frere-Jones, Ken Garland and Adrian Shaughnessy. Check out the trailer, and admire the human ingenuity that was necessary for transforming an idea into a printed page, head to the project’s website for more information.
Also check out Dan Rhatigan’s talk, Learning from Letraset, talking about the history and use of rub-down type.