Classic Graphic Art

Really busy with work at the moment - as you know, I am a freelance Graphic Designer and I do design work for a book publisher. I work closely with an editor, and even though she is in New Zealand and I am in Australia, we email each other constantly all day, sending PDFs back and forth through cyberspace. Its amazing really when you stop and think about it! On some books I have worked with illustrators and editors who lived on the other side of the world. Made me think back to the days before computers when graphic designers were graphic artists and we worked on big drawing boards with T-square rulers, tweezers and scalpels. I kid you not! Those were the days when you really did sweat to make a deadline, running back and forth from the typographer to the dark room to your drawing table. There was no such thing as command Z or undo! Last minute changes to text meant grabbing a scalpel and a pair of tweezers and dissecting the pasted down text to move a letter or delete a word. And then there were all the overlays on the artwork for colour specifications and pre-press instructions. Now we have to be pre-press geniuses and do it all ourselves before it goes to print! Ah the drawing board - those were the days. Actually I still have the same drawing table (in the photo below) that I bought *#!!*?! years ago to use at home. Its a bit wobbly now but I love to sit at it in front of the window and draw (or just gaze out the window...).

This was me working on artwork for a 45 jacket for a record company (somewhere in the 80's...). It was a freelance job I was doing from home. Note how the artwork is black and white only and the image was only a rough positional? The film maker positioned the actual photos or trannies (transparencies). The artwork would have had a couple of overlays with instructions for colours etc., so you really had to have the final look completely sorted in your head 'pre-press' as any changes to film were costly!


  1. Your job sounds so cool! Thanks for sharing the history in graphic design - so interesting. I loved reading this post :)

  2. Gawd remember the old days and changing disc fonts in typesetting machines or even Lettraset. So easy these days. I used to typeset a 36 page magazine with golf ball fonts hahaha. I'm so OLD

  3. Ah yeah... lettraset! I think i may still have some buried in the bottom of the plan drawers. Who knows what ancient graphic treasures are in there - must have a look...

  4. wow, that post took me back 20 years to the days of paste up and darkrooms. I think its still an advantage in the graphic arts to have a traditional understanding of prepress and print processes

    ps. thanks for the comment on my post
    - the moving illo is an animated gif :)

  5. Graphic design was definitely more fun and hands on back then. Remember squeakers? Loved the smell and the sound they made on layouts... :D

  6. Wow, nothing like we do it now but I can imagine the discipline that is instilled is invaluable. I won't be moaning about clients who do last minute changes anymore! By the way I would just like to thank you for commenting on my giveaway and to invite you to choose a notebook and print and I will send it to you quick sticks! I just need you to email me your name and address.


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