Up until just over thirty years ago—when the desktop computer debuted—design production process was done primarily by hand and with the aid of analog machines. The design and print industries used a variety of ways to get type and image onto film, plates, and finally to the printed page.
The documentary GRAPHIC MEANS is a journey through this transformative era of pre-digital design production to the advent of the desktop computer. It explores the methods, tools, and evolving social roles that gave rise to the graphic design industry as we know it today.*
“As an educator, I was trying to figure out a way to bring this history into the classroom. We focus primarily on design thinking and technique with the brief time we have. When history is discussed, it’s much more from the theory standpoint—movements, typographic progression, specific designer profiles, etc.
“Of course, all students learn about Gutenberg and his letterpress because it was the beginning of mass produced printed materials for the western world (props to China for actually being the first to use this technique), but students generally don’t learn about what came after that. There was linecasting (Linotype and Monotype), and photosetting (Linotron, Photon), and then digital systems that predate computers (Compugraphic composition systems). There’s a lot that happened in between the letterpress and the Macintosh.” — Briar Levit
In conjunction with the LACMA exhibition WEST OF MODERNISM—CALIFORNIA GRAPHIC DESIGN, 1975–1995, the museum will present a screening of GRAPHIC MEANS, followed by a conversation with the director Briar Levit.
A HISTORY OF GRAPHIC DESIGN PRODUCTION*
Tuesday, January 15, at 7:30 pm.
LACMA, Bing Theater
5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles.
All images courtesy Briar Levit, Graphic Means.