During a recent conversation, it came up how Kinko’s just isn’t the same since being bought out by FedEx, to which I replied; remember when we used to go to Kinko’s in the middle of the night? When I was in college, pulling all-nighters was part of my routine. It didn’t matter what time it was, if I needed to rent (yes, rent) computer time, have a color copy printed or needed something cut, I’d hop in my car and drive to Kinko’s (in the middle of the night, by myself and without a cell phone I might add). This was before you could print out a decent – actually, quite good – color copy on your home computer. And I may be aging myself, but this was only the early 90’s. Graphic Design has come a long way over the years… in the late 80’s I landed a job at a typesetters – an industry that has since fallen by the wayside. For those of you scratching your heads, designers would come in with the type they needed for an ad. When they came to pick it up, their type was professionally “set” in whatever font and size they needed, with the desired spacing and alignment, so that they could then paste it up (literally) on their ad, business card or whatever they needed it for. Because you could not yet do this on your computer if you even had a computer. I always say it was an interesting time to be in school for Graphic Design, because the capabilities literally changed before my eyes. From hanging out at Kinko’s and paying $1.49 per color copy, pasting up photos and type, using amberlith masking film (remember that? They stopped making it in 2007 because of diminished demand), to having your own computer and color printer and never having to leave your home or office unless maybe you needed something bound or cut. Not too long ago I’d print my own business cards at home to save money; now I just go online and order them, and for a considerably low price I get professionally printed cards delivered right to my door.
Something else that has changed completely and makes my job so much easier, besides the obvious emailing and texting, is video calling. With Skype or other video calling applications, you don’t even have to leave your house to have a face-to-face meeting with your client. You can even share files, have them view your screen or vice versa, while at the same time wearing your slippers with your dinner simmering on the stove, or sitting in your favorite coffee house enjoying a latte. In today’s hectic world this saves time, not to mention gas, and greatly adds to the ease of servicing clients in other cities or states. Of course, nothing beats the experience of meeting clients in “real life,” but to have this option is indispensible nowadays.
So, that’s my story of days gone by, and haven’t we come a long way? I do think myself lucky that I was only in school and not a professional designer during those pre-computer days… and I would bet, just as I am reminiscing about my “old days,” that there are seasoned designers whose careers played out way before all this technology was even thought of saying “this generation has it so easy!” It makes me wonder what else lies ahead, and I can’t wait to find out.