Edits, the downfall of creativity

The Mac slowly began to appear in creative departments in the late 1980s and early 90s. It was introduced by salespeople and executives who had little to no knowledge of the department’s workflow or exactly how it would be affected by this change. They only knew that it was going to save time, money and be simply amazing. And it was.

To say that designers were excited is to put it mildly. 

We loved that we could set our own type. We could experiment with different size headlines and fonts without having to painstakingly draw each letter by hand on tissue paper. We could see a future of limitless possibilities.

Soon typesetters, the skilled craftsmen who set beautiful rows and columns of words and numbers, all perfectly spaced for legibility, were no longer needed. They were let go.

We were cold, the loss of typesetters seemed to be a small price to pay in exchange for the amount of time that the Mac was going to save us. Time that designers could use to be creative.

Unfortunately, this “saved time” was eventually stolen. Stolen by edits and changes that once would have been an unacceptable typesetting expense and waste of manpower. Stolen, not because designers allowed it, but because our protests and pleas were ignored.

Copywriters, merchants, engineers and executives, those who once had their copy and information proofed, corrected, and proofed again before submitting it to the typesetter, just stopped working that way after the Mac arrived.

Content submitted to the graphic designers began to seem more like a draft instead of the carefully written, researched and double-checked content that the typesetters had received. Frustrated, designers grumbled and toiled at their keyboards, making endless edits as directed, adding new photos here and replacing text there.

Designers’ hope for a future filled with unlimited creative possibilities slowly began to circle the drain.


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Diana’s Blog is written in the hopes of inspiring new ideas and generating productive and meaningful discussions.