Sunday, June 15, 2008

The thing that killed typesetters.

There used to be guys that hung out in ad agencies. They were the guys from the type house and they smoked Camels and drank Scotch, bought with rush job money.

They dragged bluies – big marked up proof sheets of ads-to-be – in portfolios to ad agencies around town. “Here’s yer ad, sunshine,” he’d say to the art director “Gimme yer changes and I’ll have the camera readies over to you in 48 hours.”

They also had big sample books of type they’d haul out and set before the art director, like the art director was a dowager and the type guy was a shoe salesman. The art director would pick out the Bodoni or Garamond, and the type guy would write it up in his little book, and take the layout back to the type warren, load up the typeface and set the bastard. This happened on a something like an IBM Selectric crossed with a pipe organ.

The print guys had a good line.

Then Quark came out and -- get this -- you could set type in a circle. In a circle, you, the art director, could. And you could do it on your screen.

Now, the type guys could set type in a circle, but they’d have to warm up some machine that filled half a room, and they’d need an extra day, maybe have to take it across town to the Latvian brothers. Or something.

Anyway, suddenly any doofus could set type in a circle on their desktop, and the entire industry was completely dead, like, in two months or something.

That’s interesting. The giant killer was something that stupid.

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