And, as in every design studio in those days, we sat in the middle of a complex ecosystem of other businesses: typesetters, retouchers, paper makers, printers. All of these were based squarely in the physical world. As I got better at my job, I spent less time with my T square and drawing board and more time in meetings with clients. Still, I was proud that when a deadline was near, I could jump in and knock out a flawless paste-up as fast as any kid in the office. Like a chef, I brought my knives with me.
One day, some carpenters came into our open-plan studio and started framing up some walls. Behind those walls we were about to start a top-secret project for a top-secret client. The client was I.B.M. and the project was the packaging for the introduction of its line of new personal computers.
All of us assumed that these machines were just fancy hybrids of typewriters and calculators. We did all the artwork with rubber cement, colored paper and paint. We had no idea, but we were looking at the beginning of the end, and the end came quickly.
Read the story. That’s what it used to be like at Clark/Leonard Associates (a successor to Beacon Studios), and pratically any creative studio on 45th Street in New York.
My grandfather’s cousin, Vladimir (Bill) Tytla, in his studio during his Disney days.
One of the studios we used to compete with in the 60s and 70s was Sales Graphics, which has today blossomed into one of New York’s top presentation studios, complete with their own system (Custom Show). Interestingly, my mother worked there as a freelancer many years ago. Other studios, such as Chartmakers and The Presentation Department, are long gone.
I still have my T-square and some old steel rulers (with inches, picas, points and agate line measurements on it). Yes, I still use them when I’m matting and framing at home. The kids use the old oak drawing tables, too. Oh, and I never use an Exacto — I much prefer a straight-edge razor.