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Whatever happened to.......?????????


Active Member
The design world is littered with devices, products and styles that burn and die quickly than an X-Factor winners career. So I thought I'd do an R.I.P roll call of honour of all those things that gave laid down their lives and product usefulness in the search for better design. ( Macs...your time is coming !) Feel free to add.

1. Cow Gum
2. Rockwell Bold
3. PMT machines
4. CS10
5. Rotring pens and ink
6. Set Squares
7. Letraset sheets
8. The Magic Marker visual
9. Designers who could draw
10. Typesetters.

oh and this.....



Active Member
Mike said:
Cow gum? wtf lol is that for cows or containing cows?
Cow Gum. If you were a graphic designer pre computers, then you'd use Cow Gum every single day it was an glue adhesive that had nothing to do with cows - or gum! it had lot's of other uses, as well as sticking bromides down on to backing boards. You could let it dry and roll it into balls which would have the most amazing bounce quality. It came in a big tin like golden syrup and I'm Ford Fiesta body panels could have been stuck to the chassis with this thick gunk. It was put on with a spatula like cement, and excess would be rubbed away with a little finger into a rubbery ball that would get flicked into the nearest designers ear.


Senior Member
Letraset sheets are still available although they are VERY hard to find, i found a shop in Southend-on-Sea selling large sheets for a pound each, i ending up spending 40 quid in it! I love them, and i do remember cow gum paste, i used it in school.

Also theres a small printing company in the middle of Wales that i worked with for a while and they still use traditional printing techniques; Gwasg Gregynog: Welsh private press producing limited edition books by traditional letterpress, and prints by leading artists


Active Member
pcbranding said:
Omnichrom machines....!
Gosh I forgot about them! I used to spend a small fortune on this.

An Omnichrom was a heat-seal foiling system used with safmat & foils it in produced coloured type, graphic in a transfer format. It in essence was the forunner to producing colour lasers


Active Member
liverpool-photographer said:
I remember years ago, that many design offices had some strange extractor hood thingy for using spray-mount. You did the spraying inside it and it saved your lungs from sticking together.
We had one of these at Uni, think they're still used a fair bit.
Oh what lovely memories that are being brought back! It is a shame that these things aren't really used anymore, not anywhere I have worked anyway. Everything is done on the mac because there just isn't any time, but I do miss the hands-on approach you get with those things. I loved the omnichrom machine, last time I used it was about 2 years ago for some place names for a fancy dinner. Gave a really nice foil finish and was really fun!
I always get my ideas down on paper first with magic markers ...so they are still used. Its a much much quicker way of experimenting with ideas. I normally wont go near a Mac until I have my paper ideas done ... however it is very rare for me to put forward a final design in magic markers ... a vector graphic looks far more professional in my opinion.
Slight tangent, but I did an album campaign a couple of years ago where the layout and type was set digitally and then we made it ALL by hand. A few weeks and lots of tests later we simply photographed everything and dropped the images back into the relevant templates (had to add legal copy and barcodes digitally though). It was great fun and quite liberating.

In fact, I still make lots of things by hand then just scan or shoot them. It's usually good fun to get your hands dirty and if you're looking for a realistic effect or texture etc. the most 'realistic' ones are the 'real' ones.
12. Copy slide - for working out how many characters will fit a given measure
13. Type depth scale - for working out leading
13. Proper editorial type mark-up
14. Paste up
15. Creating colour separated artwork by hand - four layers of film, lots of Rotering ink and stained fingers...
16. tint mark ups

I'll stop now, as I'm getting all nostalgic. Mind you, I still think we got so much more quality work done, before Macs arrived. Although I'll never give up my Mac.


Active Member
DereckJohnson said:
I still think we got so much more quality work done, before Macs arrived. Although I'll never give up my Mac.
i agree, the days of the magic marker and the visual meant that ideas and concepts generally were accept almost immediatley, and seen as 'conceptual' only and open to art direction and development. Mac's gave us instant variety and option and choice. That, long term was a bad route because clients then closed the door on concept development and wanted to see the finished result at an early stage. Now it's 95 different colourways, and different options. The designer has no control and clients have no vision. What they see is what they want.


17. Tracing paper or that blue film for overlays?
18. Casting type off
19. Lighter fuel to clean rulers and equipment with.
20. Spray mount on your shoes
21. Spray Mount arm - that lovely feeling after you've mocked up numerous visuals and all the hairs on your arm are all stuck together
22. Frisk
23. WIndsor & Newton Opaque White
I remember 'spraymounter's arm' and the associated 'spraymounter's nose' (ew!)
I also remember the feel of the floor as you approached the small plastic hooded device (an inverted cooking extractor hood) which gooped up within 5 mins of being new and then no-one ever risked placing their work down on it for fear of never lifting it up again!

Here's one...the ammonia-type smell from dieline machines that you used to make plan copies with...very healthy. NOT!