Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Art School Sketchbook: Lipton Tea

I have been wanting to do this post for a long time...
Explaining how graphic design was done back in the stone age. 
(When I was in Art School.)

Our assignments, which seemed like impossible tasks at the time, 
were usually something like:
"Redesign the New York Times" or "Redesign the Lipton Tea Package."

Ideas came from inspiration. 
Inspiration came from images & color palettes that we've seen before, 
but hopefully redirected into a new purpose.
One of the biggest differences in how we worked back then, 
is that everything we did was out in the open. 
We worked at drafting tables in a huge media workshop. 
We saw what other designers were working on. 
There was a sense of collective creativity, that kept us going.
Today, the workshop is made of row after row of computers & dividers in a darkened room. 

Back to the drawing board...
We would carefully wax or spray mount whole fonts to the table,
and using a xacto blade, cut out each letter that we needed.
If you don't like the way a font looks, you save it for something else.
Art students are genius at recycling.

We also used alot of Letraset, and a thingie called a burnisher, 
which I posted about here, last year.
Using a T-square & triangle, we  carefully lined everything up on an illustration board.
Then we used a photostat machine (in a darkroom) to shoot this concoction onto smooth photo paper.
These darkrooms were also used for other endeavors, but that's for a later post ;-)

The photostat can then be used to make color copies with a copy machine. 
In 1986, copies were 10 cents each.
Dimes were collected & coveted.
We experimented with different papers and different colors 
to finally cut and glue everything into the final project.
Final projects were critiqued by the teacher and the entire class.
It's just as important to withstand the critique, as it is to create the project.
It prepares you for client relations in the real world.

I'm glad that I'm blogging about this for so many reasons...
As you can see, these old projects are falling apart, and soon will be reduced to dust.
Also, the feeling of collective creativity & community that I miss from the old media workshop at school...
I sometimes feel through YOU people, 
right here in bloggie-land.
And that's a really good thing.


Joyce said...

WOW thanks for sharing a piece of history in graphic designing. I love the images.

Heidi congrats on winning your little prize over at Lecia's blog.

How is your little neighbor doing?

Have a golden day! xoxo

Formerly known as Frau said...

Really interesting, so I imagine nobody does it "old school" any more with the age of computers. I love your Lipton design looks very vintage. Do you find yourself saying kids these days have it so easy....?

Anonymous said...

What a great post. Almost makes me want to take a time capsule back to the 80's and go to art school. Thank you for sharing! And how great to use Alice in Wonderland for the tea bags! What a sharp cookie you were/are!!

heidi said...

Joyce: Mina is coming home soon!

Frau: No, I don't think the kids these day have it easier. They have to keep up with the mysteries of technology. They need to count on it, and so much of it is undependable, rather than tangible.
We had ourselves to count on... and whatever we were capable of doing with our own two hands. (even at 2.a.m, possibly drunk & using sharp instruments ;-)

Pickle: YES to that time machine!! Can I come with you?

Magpie said...

I rather love that.

Soon after we moved into our house, our neighbors moved out. In their voluminous piles of trash, there was a huge pile of Letraset - I was dying to take them home, but I resisted the impulse.

please sir said...

Great post and look at how things were done before computers starting cramping up the workplace. I have a deep love and little hate for my computer. Sometimes I just need to use my hands, and then other times I just need to use my laptop!

please sir said...

Great post and look at how things were done before computers starting cramping up the workplace. I have a deep love and little hate for my computer. Sometimes I just need to use my hands, and then other times I just need to use my laptop!

Bradford said...

That's quite the process. One day I will probably reminisce about this place called the darkroom, where photographers don't seem to work anymore. I prefer the old ways over technology. I was born too late....

Krissy | Paper Schmaper said...

I love it! You did such a fantastic job...

Did you ever make mechanicals in school? I was thinking about that the other day. Kinda glad that's outdated now.

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

LOVE! I loved seeing this blog post...Ah....memories of rub off type and a full day in the F.I.T. lab...

Plus your comment, "There was a sense of collective creativity, that kept us going" is so true. Now we're all chained to our computer screens. Plus your hand sketch of the mad hatter...that just doesn't happen anymore. Sigh...

Anonymous said...

I agree. There was a air of collective creativity in the workshop. Were you there in the upstairs room the day that everyone started singing? That and trying to heat up pop-tarts in the light of a "Lucy" (however you really spell it).


Leciawp said...

My parents ran a weekly newspaper during most of my childhood; in the early years I remember seeing my mother do lots of things on a light board with an exacto knife. Your project pictures remind me of that! Great post and glad that you're preserving these memories for posterity. xo

pve design said...

and that letra set was not cheap. love these posts, they bring back memories of deep dark fonts.

all to pour over a cup of tea one day.

svelteSTUFF said...

Oh, what a trip down memory lane!! I still enjoy doing 'projects' at my drafting board that I refuse to get rid of!!!

FitFoodieMegha said...

What a post..You did a fantastic job..:) BTW I have started a new blog dedicated to my sketch work — Art on Sketchbook