I’ve been a graphic designer for a really, really, really long time. I’m approaching one of those major birthdays and it has me pondering the topic of aging. Or maybe, I mean maturing. I started in the graphics biz when folks were still using x-acto knives and hot wax. There were computers but the internet was just a twinkle in Al Gore’s eye. The computers were these huge, complex (read: impossible to learn) machines and were supposed to make creatives lives easier. They were also slow and ridiculously expensive. But I guess they served their purpose in that they were the “forerunners” to the laptop I’m sitting at now equipped with full versions of Adobe Creative Suite and all the RAM a girl could want.
It’s nice to look back, though. No matter what decade the industry has been in, graphic designers (we used to call them commercial artists) have had to be really good at what they do. I could toss an x-acto knife tip first into a bulls-eye on a bulletin board fifteen feet away. And I could slice a galley of type into twenty uniform pieces in no time — ready to be wrapped around an image. The original text wraparound. I spent a lot of time in a dark room with a stat camera. Now I download images and alter them in software. No messy developers or tray cleaners.
I loved what I did then and kept busy and I love what I do now and still keep busy. The tools have changed and so has the end result. I can create images, or complete projects that would have been a dream or just a twinkle in my eye thirty-five years ago.