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Blog Post By Harry Mottram

Hello from Harry

I began work back in the 1980s as a graphic designer when artworks were cut and pasted together with glue - who remembers all that Spray Mount and Cow Gum?

Colour separations were on film overlays each flapping onto the base CS10 artboard. Art studios were equipped with several essential low-tech pieces of equipment: the PMT (photo mechanical transfer) machine, a plan chest, sheets of Letraset and drawing boards – and just about everyone smoked Benson & Hedges – even in the darkroom.

Around 1990 I remember a new piece of kit arriving in the office: the AppleMac - with something called QuarkXpress on it. Up until then all type was cast off – and delivered by motorbike in galley proofs from the typesetter by Deep Purple loving bikers from companys such as Pony Express. With the advent of inhouse typesetting, scanners and email – out went the Rotring pens, Magic Markers and even the fax machine.

Price and quality remain as those two uneasy bedfellows and customer service will always be the clincher in the long run for print firms

That was then and this is now – since then I've moved into journalism. Some three decades on most offices have a colour printer, the internet has transformed publishing and 3D printing has arrived. Despite all the technological changes in pre-press and design there's something that's still timeless about the print room. The strong industrial whiff of the ink, the fresh smell of all that paper as it's unloaded from a van – and constant sound of the ever turning press.

Customers will always need leaflets, magazines, flyers and yes – stationery as well. Price and quality remain as those two uneasy bedfellows and customer service will always be the clincher in the long run for print firms. At Print Monthly I'll be charting the transformation of the industry as we move forward into a new era of technology – a far cry from the days of when all artwork was made of paper and card – all stuck together with glue.
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