Before Desktop Publishing: The Democratization of Type in the Cold Type Era

When
Event has passed (Tue Oct 17, 2017 - Tue Oct 17, 2017)
Where
Koret Auditorium, San Francisco Public Library
Time
06:00 PM
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Description

Briar Levit
In the pre-digital days of the 60s, 70s, and early 80s, getting type set was quite the expense. You were paying for the skills of a typesetter, as well as the materials used to print out galleys, not to mention the overhead for running a type shop! What was a small business with regular advertising needs, and little budget to do? Or what about underground publications of social movements like The Black Panther newspaper, or the Whole Earth Catalog which were running on a shoestring? Before the so-called digital revolution of desktop publishing, a smaller, albeit important democratization of design production had already occurred with a selection of affordable, commercial quality in-house typesetting methods. This talk will explore a selection of cold typesetting methods that were used by small businesses and organizations to get their messages out, despite having little-to-no budget.

Briar Levit is an assistant professor of graphic design at Portland State University, and holds a master’s in communication design from Central St. Martins College of Art & Design in the UK. She came up as a designer in San Francisco in the late 1990s, and missed the cold type era by just a few years. Briar cut her teeth as a designer working in-house for Discovery Channel Stores, and not long after that became art director at magazine Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture. Her graphic design focus and practice consists primarily of publication design, with a special interest in independent publishing, small presses, and hiking guides (a few of which she has self-published). Graphic Means: A History of Graphic Design Production was a significant jump out of her comfort zone—but once the idea came to her, it simply wouldn’t go away. The film is currently touring internationally.

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