It’s been roughly 30 years since the desktop computer revolutionized the way the graphic design industry works. For decades before that, it was the hands of industrious workers, and various ingenious machines and tools that brought type and image together on meticulously prepared paste-up boards, before they were sent to the printer.
Graphic Means: A History of Graphic Design, a major new documentary film charting the evolution of graphic design production, will be premiered across Australia by AGDA and will be screened in Brisbane on 11 July.
The film which is directed and produced by Briar Levit marks the three decades since desktop publishing changed the graphics industry forever. The documentary explores graphic design production of the 1950s through the 1990s—from linecaster to photocomposition, and from paste-up to PDF.
Briar explains: "I have amassed a vast collection of design production manuals (1960s, 70s, and 80s) from the Goodwill over the years. As the stack grew, it became clear I was naturally drawn to this period of design, and the skills and processes that went along with it. I missed these production methods by about 12 years (I started studying design in 1996), and worked almost exclusively with a computer during my education and after.
I had some vague knowledge about production before the Mac, but it was only based on brief references my teachers made, or the little-used-tools that remained in various studios I worked in.
It occurred to me that if I knew so little, my graphic design students know even less! So with this, I set out to document the tools, processes, and people, of this brief moment in the design world."