Dear millennial designer (If you know what one-hour photos are you do not qualify, and no, it is not the maximum number of selfies taken in 60 minutes): I am going to wake you up to some reality of yore that you probably will not enjoy. You need to sit down for this one.
Right after Aldus Manutius, there were times when humans walked this earth without computers and mobile phones. Being a graphic designer at that time was painful and at best, tiring. We probably spent more time on visualizing with sketches on Sunlit Bond with 2B pencils (Google these!) than do quick prototypes with actual fonts on Illustrator. But it taught us the rigor of our craft and the precious slowness of realizing your concept. In the process of graphic designers growing dependent on their Macbooks, there are tools that have gone extinct. While there are many engineering and design tools like the T-square or Rapidograph, I have tried to pick a few that were used by graphic designers.
Dry Letter Transfers
It is not: using animals to send written notes without getting them wet, like a monkey mailman in a raincoat or a carrier pigeon with a plastic tube.
It actually is: a sheet of type (a font) that can be kept on your artwork and scratched over to transfer one letter at a time.
You either had an uncle in the prosperous west or your parents traveled often if you owned a few of these letter transfers along with your water soluble Caran D’ache Aquarelle Pencils.
It is not: Stop that. Disgusting. You young folks do have a dirty mind.
It actually is: also called Rubber Cement and it is a type of glue. This glue helps you reconsider the way you have pasted your artwork (or a newspaper article as indicated in the video below) many times. You can peel off and stick again any number of times till you get the right angle really right.
To clean the extra rubber solution on the sides of the artwork you had to run some dry rubber ball over it. These rubber balls were entirely made of dried rubber solution. So every design student had a pet rubber solution ball that looked revolting. But they were nurtured like a Tamagotchi.
It is not: what you see when you peep into a boudoir.
It actually is: a set of funny shaped plastic or wooden templates that helped you draw curves easily before the Bezier tool happened. It was painfully difficult to use them and a few of us actually got it.
The french curves were ousted by the flexicurve at some point.
It is not: a meticulous list of addresses and phone numbers.
It actually is: an entire film roll of negatives exposed on a photo paper for choosing the right frame for a larger print.
With the advent of digital photography, these died early. But there are a few photographers who still use film and still make contact sheets.
There are more that will follow soon. Watch this space.
Update: Here it is. Four more tools…