It's easy for us to take for granted the relative ease of working as a designer nowadays. Got an idea for a poster? No problem; mock it up in InDesign. Want to envision a brand new product collection? Just start tinkering away in Solidworks. Plenty of us may not have a grasp on design hardships prior to the digital age, but don't include graphic designers working professionally prior to the 80s and 90s in that mix—designing for print in the first half of the century was hard work.
An ad for a wax coater used in the 80s for "paste-ups" prior to computer desktop publishing. Paste-up is a phototypesetting process that required a professional paste-up artist to cut type into sections and arrange it across columns on paper.
In a trailer for a new documentary Graphic Means, set to release Spring 2017, not only does it illustrates the painstaking processes of typesetting and paste up prior to the mainstream use of computer software, it also sheds light on just how rapidly the landscape of graphic design changed particularly from the '70s to the '90s—in the blink of an eye, established and complex manual processes were quickly thrown out to make way for desktop publishing.
The documentary includes interviews with heavy-hitters like Steve Heller and Tobias Frere-Jones and seems like a truly comprehensive look into an industry with a rich cultural and technical history. In many ways, a documentary like this also bridges the worlds of industrial design and graphic design in that it demonstrates how both fields continue to be affected by the burgeoning world of new technologies.
Read more about the upcoming film 'Graphic Means' here