Marker and paper graphic design

Before Desktop Publishing

Remembering the Creative Past 

It wasn’t that long ago that graphic artists, designers, illustrators and other art studio professionals didn’t have desktop publishing technology or desktop computers to accompany their creative skills. We had to use markers and drawing pads to show clients our design concepts for ads, logos, brochures, product packaging and other creative services. With the use of today’s programs like Adobe’s InDesign, Illustrator, PhotoShop and the internet’s unlimited resource of stock photos, those mechanical days have become a lost art.

One of the earliest desktop publishing programs, Aldus PageMaker, was first released in 1985 and limited to Macintosh PCs. The Windows version wasn’t available until 1987. Programs for creating computer-generated illustrations like Freehand and Corel Draw came along later in 1988 and 1989 respectively. This new technology wasn’t immediately accepted in the graphic design world. In the late 80s, very few companies saw the need to invest in desktop publishing for their creative teams. Computers back then were also costly and limited in their speed and storage capacity. I recall having Windows 95 on a 486 with only 16 MB of RAM and this new thing called the “Internet” was still in its early stages. Most laptops today have 8 GB (gigabytes) of RAM.

To put things in historical perspective, Apple’s earliest website didn’t appear until 1995. Google Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin were still enrolled in Stanford’s computer science graduate program in 1995 and Google (the company) wasn’t incorporated until September, 1998. Only 23 years later… and look where we are today!

As I get older and more appreciative of my career in the world of creative services and marketing, I’ve come to respect the ‘old timers’ of my industry even more. Many of my early years were spent with illustrators, airbrush artists, typesetters, photographers (that still used negatives and film), paste-up artists, copy writers and other art studio professionals that never had the experience of using computers or the Internet to work with. Those days are looked upon now as being a wonderful experience that I will always cherish. The internet, mobile technology, desktop publishing and email have changed our lives forever. Regardless of what technology is used, good design that captures the readers attention and tells the story is still an art form and skill that needs to be learned and honed over time.

“Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving” — David Ogilvy

Contact Vesteras about your creative needs — or if you just want to share your early experiences in creative services before desktop publishing.

Guy Hanford
Vesteras LLC