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As Harrison Carloss celebrates 50 years in business, we remember a few of the ways our industry used to do things back in the early days.


Cow in a tin.  

Once upon a time, long ago, when printed media had to do what websites, apps and fancy interactive digital platforms do now, artwork was cut up and pasted into place with glue. That’s why every creative design studio had its own Cow. Not the kind that moos and makes milk, but a rubber solution glue that came in a red and white tin with the word ‘Cow’ on the front. (It was invented by a man named Cow.) It was messy to use, and you had to clean off any excess with a blob of old dried Cow gum.


rOtring pens. On the right lines?  

In the crazy, psychedelic days when people wanted to hand draw a frame around an image or a line underneath some text on a coated paper, they used a pen that was supposed to be easy and clean to use, and meant to work seamlessly with your drawing board and ruler to give a perfectly level and straight line. Except that the nib often dried in seconds. Or the pen wobbled. Or leaked. All to do something that now takes seconds on a computer.


The art of paste-up. 

Long before computers were discovered, ‘cutting’ and ‘pasting’ was literally what paste-up artists did with the physical elements of a layout, be they graphics or type. Headlines and type were often created and supplied by a typesetter; the paste-up artist then had to use a scalpel – exactly like the ones that surgeons use – to cut up, position and stick the contents of the layout in place by hand. Yes, with Cow Gum.


Let us spray mount. 

Spray Mount? That’s a transparent aerosol spray used for sticking the elements of artwork on layouts. While it allows you to reposition the bits you’re sticking before bonding sets in, once the bond does actually grip, you’re stuck with them. So if you positioned the bits incorrectly, tough. Ok, so it hasn’t got a cool name like Cow, but you might get to stand in a spray booth to do your spraying, which sucks the poisonous spray fumes out…you hope.


Your very own drawing board.

In the dusty era of studio drawing boards, graphic designers actually sat at one of these. Some were lucky enough to have a built-in seat and an adjustable, integral rule that slid up and down to support your work. The board also angled to create a comfortable position. There might even have been a carrying handle and slot to keep your pens in. Even today’s top spec Macs don’t have a slot to keep your pens in.


The magic of markers.

Magic Marker? This is a graphic design implement with a reservoir of coloured ink in it similar to a felt tip pen, but with a larger tip. What’s a felt tip pen? It’s like a magic marker, but with a smaller tip. In both cases the felt tip consists of porous fibres that eventually dry out and just leave a scratchy mark. Real pros could wield a set of markers to produce amazing works of art, some of which came pretty close to being finished artwork.


Ready, get Letraset, go!

Back in the ‘60s, Letraset was the brand name for an alphabet of letters screen printed onto the reverse of a sheet of translucent film. You’d lay the film on a sheet of art board and carefully rub on the front of the sheet with a suitable implement to ‘transfer’ the type to your paper. Before Letraset, if you wanted type on your layout, you had to paint it yourself, whereas Letraset gave you perfectly formed and uniformly sized letters in a fraction of the time.


Not my type.

Amazing old fact: Type used to come in the form of cast metal characters, arranged into words and lines by real people, who then inked and printed them on paper. That’s not all. To get the words printed and arranged in the exact way designers wanted them, a typographer had to juggle point sizes, line lengths, line spacing (using leading), and even – oh boy – tweak the spacing between letters. Wonder why we don’t still do it like that?


50 years of know how

While techniques might have changed, the team at Harrison Carloss has stayed committed to being ahead of the curve – using only the latest tried and tested techniques to give your marketing the best chance of being seen by the right person at the right time. If you’re stuck in the past with your marketing, why not call the time travellers at Harrison Carloss? We can support your business with all aspects of marketing – from strategy and brand development to SEO and PPC. Call 0330 133 1639 or email hello@harrisoncarloss.com.