This is a rare stream-of-consciousness entry on this blog. Most posts are labored over time and time again, rich with links, complete with pictures and an attempt at a witty ending. Not this time. This is purely stream-of-consciousness.
I just saw a few ads that looked like they came from a different era. I’m susceptible to design, so perhaps it was the Garamond typeface, which was ubiquitous in the days of early Apple, when computers were beige. Perhaps it was the color choices, which seemed old-fashioned — deeply saturated, chosen for paper. But I found it comforting and disconcerting at the same time. I was thrown for a loop.
I felt like it was 1993 all over again.
Ah, 1993. When laser printers were still relatively expensive and scarce, when computers were slow, and when you could still find a Zip drives were competing for storage supremacy. Floppy disks were getting smaller, but your computer still had two drive bays. Reality TV shows didn’t exist. There were no iPods, podcasts, or Facebook. There was no Amazon.com, eBay, or MySpace. There were no text messages, emoticons, or thumb typing. Newspapers were still the best source of the latest news. We still didn’t quite know why modems mattered.in a production environment; an era when faxes would be placed on your chair as a courtesy because the information was urgent; when a tattered paper Index Medicus lay on many desks; when FedEx was expensive and also a sign of urgency; and when cell phones were big and often had cords (remember those car phones?). The Weather Channel was still about the current weather, and not yet filled with hour-long dramatic re-enactments. Minivans and SUVs had not overwhelmed us. States had not been recast as red or blue. Nobody Googled. Cars had tape decks. Bernoulli and
At work, there was no email to speak of in 1993. Only the IT folks got to play with stuff like that. Desks were covered with colored pens, floppy disks (remember the plastic storage bins?), and plenty of paper. It was the days of waxing machines for gridded layouts, couriers, and bluelines. Freehand and Quark ruled the desktop, as did Photoshop (some things haven’t changed). Color proofs were usually four acetate sheets registered into a proof packet. Pantone books littered desks.
There were no blogs. Typesetting was a craft, and you couldn’t get published in any respectable place without going through a typesetter. Fonts still had real names, not Microsoft knock-off names.
It was only 15 years ago, but 1993 seems quaint. FedEx (with it’s plastic receipt slot on the front and forms in triplicate) and faxes (the smell of hot fax paper and the feel of it). Linotypes and bluelines. Typesetters. Printers who had to insert the photos for us. Telephone calls instead of emails. Walking over to your colleagues’ desks instead of IM’ing them. There were more chemicals in the air, I’ll wager. People moved around more to get stuff done. Traffic wasn’t as bad.
OK, sorry, that’s all the time I have. I can see new emails building up already, and I can publish this right now.