My last post “Vintage Automotive Logos” got me onto the subject of graphic arts production methods before the modern computer came onto the scene. I wanted to share a “Readers Digest” version or for the new kids a “twitter” version of my experience during this explosion of technology from the viewpoint of someone who was heavily invested in the tools of the trade at the time. I along with many others were making a living in the graphic arts. There were design studios, pre-press and production art shops, typesetters, color separators, film strippers, plate makers, press operators and more invested in the machinery and skills of the trade at the time when the “Big Bang” of the graphic arts industry took place. In one fell swoop the whole industry was given notice that there was about to be a paradigm shift in our business. The world was now round and that was that. The hippy shown here could have been me or many of the guys I knew who were still setting metal type along with the new fangled photo-type unaware that the other guy pictured here was about to put us all out of work. January 14, 1984, Steve Jobs introduced the Mac II. It wasn’t all that powerful and some of us mocked its infantile skills at typesetting but we could see the writing on the wall. When this thing could actually set type at a professional level and composite photos as well as digitally draw with software that had not been invented yet it would replace everyone including those who set the type, did the paste-up, made film, burnt the plates and ran the printing presses.

Thirty years later, looking back, I sometimes wish I have had the good fortune to have gotten into a business that wasn’t vulnerable to new technology. Where would I be now if I would have invested all that money in portable toilets? But we adapted -- many of us went broke, became alcoholics or more dedicated alcoholics anyway, some of us embraced the new technology and others scrambled to find a new trade in construction or crime or whatever. Some of us are still kicking. I actually love the capabilities that I have right now in this business. I never could have imagined I could be designing advertisements and branding that I can wrap an entire vehicle or building with in the way that we routinely do now.


HippySettingTypeSteve Jobs
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Blog Archive:
01/04/2014, The Final Frontier

02/19/2014, Perforated Film

06/06/2014, Vintage Logos

06/24/2014, The Big Bang