showing our age | design tools of yore

We’ve been cleaning out the studio and found a box we just couldn’t toss.


Coincidentally, my friend Ann (once a studio manager to which all other studio managers were measured) sent me a link to Drawger’s Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies, hosted by illustrator Lou Brooks.

We’ve been in the design business for thirty years, which means we started with wax, specking type and shooting stats.  A good day meant sketching ideas, building comps with Pantone paper and Letraset type, maybe walking to Hal’s for some coffee and  halftones. We cut ruby for art to print and tried not to cut ourselves with our x-actos (though every designer has a stabbing story).  More than anything, it was about handskills, craft and community. Ours was centered around the art directors’ club, ADAC, but that’s a story for another day.


So what do you remember, and what do you miss? Leave me a note, and maybe we can extend this walk down memory lane.


3 Responses to “showing our age | design tools of yore”

  1. 1 Ann July 16, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    I also remember the sounds of paper, and overlays, of knives cutting through different mediums, the stat camera with it’s flash of light, the light box and viewing slides, press type and hand drawn type. There were also smells that filled the studio. The highly offensive smell of fixative (the worst for me), rubber cement and later spray glue and yes even, Bestine. It was another era of which I’m glad to have experienced. But today it’s different and that’s not a bad thing. I love the new technologies and seeing how the “young’uns” do their thing. Still keep up with design. It’s in my blood.

    Thanks for the memories and the accolade.

    • 2 kimtb July 16, 2009 at 2:08 pm

      Bestine….that’s the name of it. We couldn’t remember.
      We have binders and binders full of slides. Can’t toss those…

      The sounds…you’re right Ann, it used to sound different.


  2. 3 Penny Hill July 16, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    Sounds – that lovely, solid sound of the T-square clicking against the edge of a board, the pica pole slapping on the glass, the noise of lots of different mechanical things in the print shop, especially the sound of presses. (But not the sound of an old Linotype hissing and spitting.) And the smells, I miss those, too. Hot ink! I miss the tactile nature of that business; it used to be a “thing” you did with your hands. Although the print shop work I did was a couple steps down from graphic design, I always thought it was a good trade I could fall back on if things got tough. It doesn’t exist anymore, so I guess that’s what I miss most.

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