I sell lies for a living

November 10, 2003 — Leave a comment

i`ve worked on and off in advertising for the last 12 years. and sometime this month i`m heading back into the fray full time. my background is print and design, but i`ve had opportunities to write radio and tv scripts as well as produce my own tv commercials.

i started in the business as a typesetter, in the early days. when ads were still stripped up. [get that look off your face, let me explain how it`s done].

actually i got fascinated by the business one year when i was working in a printery [my mother believed that idle hands… you know and insisted that i get a job during my vacations, more about that some other time]

now most of the print advertising you see is done entirely on computer, the photos are digitised [scanned, shot digitally or bought online], all the elements of the ad are put together using a variety of applications like photoshop, quark, indesign, illustrator and/or freehand.

when i first started in this industry, the only thing the computer was used for was setting types, even then it was just a step up from rubbing down letraset [letraset used to provide their entire font families at various sizes as transfers, trust me it was long and tedious process]. how the type setting worked was the artist would specify one of the 11 post script fonts that were available to size, i would type it up, put it on a diskette and send it out. no, we didn`t have a laser printer, in the early 90s a laser printer, even for an ad agency was a massive expense.

when the printed type came back from the output house it was then stripped [cut and pasted] into position on a series of overlays. the overlays represented the four base colours in printing: cyan, magenta, yellow and black.

i`m recalling this as i`m typing and realising how easy most of the graphic artists have it now, most of them have no idea about ruby and amber lith, cow gum, the mythical properties of a waxer and spray adhesive.

after the types were stripped in and any prints or negatives were copied in for position, the whole kit and caboodle was sent down to another output house, in those days the only people that did that kind of work here was the guardian. the guardian would then generate a set of negs to the size specified, which would then be sent to the newspapers or the printer as needed.

in the space of two years all of that changed, more and more ads were being built entirely on the computer, images were scanned and placed in the artwork and we could and did send everything directly down to the newspapers

computers have generated a lot of laziness in the industry, very few people do pencil sketches anymore and just sit in front of the computer hoping for inspiration and when that is lacking a photoshop effect is thrown in for good measure.

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