Digital Technology, is it a curse or a blessing for the graphic designer?
Are you a Graphic Designer? Do you look forward to your next trip to the Apple Store? It's safe to say that Digital Technology has become an obsession in the world of design. Macbook's, iPad's, digital camera's and printer's. All sounds pretty normal to us and most of the time we take our hi-tech gadgets for granted. But around 100 years ago things were very different. Digital technology hadn't been invented and graphic designers had to use very different ways and methods of design. So was it any easier then or as the digital technology of our world progressed has it became easier for graphic designers?
Computers today are one of the most important pieces of equipment for graphic designers and they rely heavily on the latest software and features. So what would it have been like back in the early 1900's when computers hadn't been invented? One of the first ever computers was the Z1 originally created by Germany's Konrad Zuse (See Fig.1) in his parents living room in 1936 to 1938. It was considered to be the first electrical binary programmable computer. Then there was the Eniac (See Fig.2) which was invented by J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly at the University of Pennsylvania and began construction in 1943 and was not completed until 1946. It occupied about 1,800 square feet and used about 18,000 vacuum tubes, weighing almost 50 tons. Although the Judge ruled that the ABC computer was the first digital computer many still consider the Eniac to be the first digital computer. Then there was the invention of the PC. The PC is one of the most used types of of computers around the world. In 1975 Ed Roberts coined the term personal computer when he introduced the Altiar 8800. (See Fig.3) Although the first personal computer is considered to be the Kenback-1, which was first introduced for around $750 in 1971. The computer relied on a series of switches for inputting data and output data by turning on and off a series of lights. The Altiar was first featured in the January 1975 edition of Popular Electronics magazine. It is considered by many to be the first mass produced personal computer, although they were called micro-computers in those days. Today laptops are a widely used piece of equipment. There easily transported and carried about which makes them perfect to bring to meetings and bring along while travelling. The computer considered by most historians to be the first true portable computer was the Osborne 1 (See Fig 4). Adam Osborne, an ex-book publisher founded Osborne Computer and produced the Osborne 1 in 1981, a portable computer that weighed 24 pounds and cost $1795. The Osborne 1 came with a five-inch screen, modem port, two 5 1/4 floppy drives, a large collection of bundled software programs, and a battery pack. In 1993, Microsoft released Windows NT (See Fig.5), a 32-bit version that was truly an operating system of its own--it didn't require DOS at all. Meant for networks and high-end users, NT traded ease of use for administrator controls and security. Stiff hardware requirements and compatibility issues kept it out of the mainstream. So will the PC be around forever? I highly doubt it. The way things are moving and the rate that it's moving at suggests to me that more advanced pieces of technological equipment will take over and the PC will long be forgotten about. Unfortunately it's the sad truth. Design has been transformed by the personal computer. The invention of the PC gave people and design professionals equal design opportunities and made it achievable for a non professional to create good design. Most people had to use the typewriter to create printed documents before the PC came about. The typewriter had a lot of limitations. You couldn't change the font or font size and you couldn't include pictures. The come about of PC's makes it possible to do so and therefore makes it easier for people to...
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