To all my younger graphic design friends: This is how we produced print pre-1980s…
I stumbled on these boards today and thought they were worth sharing. Pre-1985, when the rollout of Aldus PageMaker and the Apple Laserwriter launched the desktop publishing revolution, type and images were typically produced using various methods on photographic paper and assembled as “mechanicals.” These are mechanicals.
You laid out a board with crop marks that the printer would ultimately use to trim the final printed piece. Then you’d adhere the type sheets and images to the board using rubber cement or hot wax.
As you see, when you wanted to adjust type, you’d slice it with something like an X-ACTO knife and physically reposition it. Cutting to adjust the leading between lines and space between words, even letters was common.
The printer would shoot the artwork and make a film negative that would be opaqued to remove any cut lines then exposed to a substrate to produce a printing plate.
The obvious change was that, pre-desktop publishing, much of our job as graphic designers was in production. Working with paper, illustration board, waxers, rapidographs, ink, tape, t-squares, register marks, pencils, and so on, meant that you were, in many ways, a craftsman.
With the advent of digital design, much of the craft wound down. Today, we have a tremendous amount of creative freedom that either wasn’t available in those days or was too expensive for everyday projects.
It sure is interesting though, how so much has changed in 30 short years.