Chilling memories

20130919-103901.jpgTools I used at the start of my career as an advertising art director (mid 1970s) now show up as antiques in Craigslist ads. One of the biggest expense in assembling a print ad was buying typeset copy.

Headlines and body copy set on linotype machines (video) actually involved molten lead being poured into moulds to make lettering. We also got our type on strips of paper. It was cut apart with xacto knives and pasted into place on artboard with rubber cement or wax. Yikes! How flaming primitive.

Many, many crappy systems emerged on the market, offering cheap ways to make type without paying big bucks for the good stuff. These systems were inevitably awful, producing badly kerned, uncrisp letters in ways that were time-consuming and clumsy to use. Clients often couldn’t see the difference, though… and hey, who cared if the work was a pain in the ass. You could even get a stenographer (look it up) to do it. She was a lot cheaper than a skilled typesetter.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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