Ever heard of a typesetter? How about a stat machine or burning plates? My first job out of college was at a print shop, and I used those now outdated tools every day.
I physically measured column widths, chose fonts, determined font size and leading, and ran out sheets of copy. I also physically pasted up copy and any other artwork on illustration boards using a waxer to create mechanicals. Each color was represented by a different layer of transparencies.
After all the paste up prep work, we took the job into a darkroom where a picture of each layer was taken. Finally, a plate was burnt to go to print.
My second job at an ad agency in Boston saw me using the same equipment. But, things, as we all know, changed – and changed quickly. Computers began to take over. I took computer courses at RISD and became familiar with Pagemaker. But it too became obsolete. I soon found myself sitting behind an artist for a week watching him use Quark Express.
Things were moving along nicely. I became proficient in Quark, Illustrator and Photoshop. Now as agencies make the change from Quark to InDesign, I find myself still trying to keep up with the latest changes in technology.
We have come a long way from the days of stat machines and typesetters. But change is the name of the game. In fewer than 20 years, computers have changed the nature of graphic composition for artists, designers, agencies, and clients alike. Who knows what will come next?
Call me old fashioned. I still prefer Quark to InDesign.