The technology was brand new and not yet perfected, but I knew immediately that this was what I had been waiting for, preparing for, and drawn to since the field trip to the Bank of America corporate headquarters twenty-some-odd years earlier in the 1960s.
The year was 1985 when my photojournalism instructor suggested computers and printers could be used for more than creating the crude graphic images of the ’70s. It was spring, and Apple Computer, Inc. had just introduced their first Laser Printer boasting an incredible 300 dots per inch resolution.
The demonstration took place in a room seating about 50 people. It was during this presentation I learned that the computer could be used as a typesetting machine, a process camera, and a drafting table all in one, and one could buy a printer that could output type and graphics at high enough resolution to be reproduced on a printing press with excellent quality. All that and it would all fit on a desktop.
On the ride home my instructor engaged me in conversation and we discussed the potential of this revolutionary combination of hardware and software, which completely turned the traditional graphics design and production workflow on its head. Instead of contracting one vendor for type galleys, a second for camera work and then cutting everything apart and pasting it up on boards, a graphic designer could output the laser prints from home (or more precisely, from the corner of one’s bedroom) on a single 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of paper and hand the layouts off to the printer for reproduction.
This Macintosh, ThunderScan, LaserWriter combo was as big in 1985 as was the mind-blowing Macintosh in 1984. Count me in.