Graphic Design & The Future

Those who were born in the mid 70s will clearly remember the humble letterpress, used to print most material such as letterheads, marriage invitation cards, visiting cards, etc. Although automation in printing had already made its presence felt with the usage of rotragravure printing machines and offset machines, typically used for bulk printing, and silk screen printing, used for printing letterheads, visiting cards, bags, and other materials in small quantities, digital art had yet not arrived. People used to depend hot metal and lead composers for composing text and on artists for drawing artwork and arranging the composed text on it to prepare the layout. This was then etched on aluminium for making offset printing plates, or etching the artwork on lead, which was then set on a wooden block before being used to print the material through letterpress machines.

The arrival of digital artwork

The first Macintosh computer, released in 1984, heralded the beginning of the digital era in printing and designing. People no longer had to depend on physical composing and artwork as more and more individuals started using the computer for composing and creating designs. Microsoft Corporation also launched the graphic user interface on their personal computers, even though DOS (Disk Operating System), a command line interface that was used as the operating system. Within one more year, Microsoft launched their first operating system, Windows 95, the first graphical user interface on Microsoft operating system based PCs. It was a great leap forward for the designing and printing industry, as people could now change artwork and text quickly and easily, thanks to automation provided by software such as Page Maker (for composing text) and CorelDraw (for creating graphics). print management started a couple of years later with the arrival of the first laser printing machine, manufactured by Hewlett Packard. Computer users could now take out prints of their completed artwork directly on tracing paper through the laser printer and use it for creating plates for offset machines. However, the quality of the print was not so good, as the first generation laser printers only had an output resolution of 300 x 300 DPI (Dots Per Inch). The arrival of high speed computers and second generation programs such as Quark Express (extensively used for composing text by the newspaper and magazine industry), Photoshop, and Illustrator (used by graphic artists) allowed artists and compositors to create better quality artwork. Hewlett Packard as well as other companies started manufacturing laser printers having output capabilities of 600 x 600 DPI, increasing the sharpness and quality of output text and graphics.

Extra information about print management

The current scenario

Print management has now evolved to such an extent that graphic artists and compositors can send their artwork and composed text respectively over the internet to a digital printing service to get their artworks and text printed at extremely high resolutions using digital printers. Time is the primary advantage of using digital technology and print management followed by output quality. The same artwork that took days to design manually can now be done in a couple of hours or even less.