This was the last lecture of the year and I truly loved that we were encouraged to have a discussion about this topic. Everyone in the class got the chance to give their own personal opinion on the evolution, death and revival of printing. It was clear the majority of the class believed that as soon as technology appeared with internet, during the 1990s, that print began to die out.
Looking back at the transition, it started a while back around the 1840s, when the telegraph was sued to transmit Morse Code. Radio’s appeared in the 1920s, along with the invention of television and the first practical telephone was made in 1876. All of these inventions brought us closer to the death of printing.
Jess and Ruth, the lecturers, then asked us to make a list of the role of print in our life. In chronological order, we had to recall what memory each print triggered and how could they be categorised.
Here is my list:
- Lady Bird Books
- Memory Box – tickets to concerts or plays I have had a memory box, since I was 5, for when I get much older to look back at what I thought was my most treasured possessions. I know for a fact I have kept every concert ticket in that box.
- First time Letter Printing On my 6th birthday my dad took me to the Type Museum and I printed my name.
- Beano, Horrible Histories This would be my reward after going to football club or rugby or swimming on a saturday morning.
- The Hungry Caterpillar To date the images of this book is so clear to me, it was so simple but such a lovely book, I loved it as a kid.
- Roald Dahl’s – Little Red Riding Hood When I went to bed (when I was very little) my sister and I would wait for dad to come home. When he did, we would curl up all tucked up in bed with mum too, he would read this story and we would giggle all night. It’s one of my fondest memories.
- Harry Potter book series It took up a large majority of my childhood and I do not regret it, I remember getting the ‘Half Blood Prince’ and reading it with in an hour on my sofa. I wouldn’t stop crying when Dumbledore died.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! cards Pretending I knew what I was talking about when I tried to swap my crap cards for much better ones.
- Kerrang! Went through a bit of a dark emo phase…
- Cards from Galleries and leaflets Wherever we went on a family holiday I have collected little cards from the galleries we visited.
- Posters Embarrassingly I did have a Zac Efron poster at one point… at least it wasn’t Twilight.
- Look! Magazine When looks was suddenly everything, I remember highlighting what I wanted to buy, trying to convince my mum to get them and then afterwards wishing I was rich.
- School Books Remember thinking I wouldn’t really need to find the library when I finally got to France.
- National Geographics Leaflet (First commission for my lettering – sent to subscribers)
- Music Center JAGS logo (Second commission for my lettering) I remember sitting down and just creating as many M’s with different characteristics as possible whilst listening to Adele 19 on repeat.
- Gringa Dairy Packaging (Third commission for my lettering – used on Selfridges window) Never felt so proud in my life, my dad surprised me by driving past it after work, it was late. We got out of the car and took photographs of it then other people did too, it was so surreal.
I went to visit a friend in Italy last year, he works as an Editor for a very influential magazine, I was able to visit him at work. He explained to me, he doesn’t have to just create an article to print, but also the article to be posted onto the website and to be viewed on an iPhone or iPad.
I think this was definitely the most shocking example given in the lecture, and so the one that stayed with me when I left. An example of an ‘unconventional’ book was the Vangardist HIV is a book printed using the blood from people who have HIV. It’s strange because it looks so clean and clinical, as if it were printed with ink, but I guess that fits with in the theme of the book.
For me personally I do think the art of printing is dying, however, that is what makes it so special. Those who learn the craft now, will more likely to be an admired artist later on, hopefully.