Before Design was Digital—A work-in-progress screening of documentary Graphic Means: A History of Graphic Design Production

The new documentary Graphic Means: A History of Graphic Design Production will be screened at Midtown Cinema in Harrisburg on May 24 at 7 PM. Using rare archival footage and interviews, this groundbreaking film uncovers the hidden history of the graphic design industry’s cold type era.

Decades before every desktop had a computer, it was the hands of industrious workers and ingenious tools that brought type and image together. Graphic Means: A History of Graphic Design Production explores the rapid changes in design from the mid-twentieth century through the 1990s—from linecaster to photocomposition, and from paste-up to PDF.

“I figured if I know very little, as someone who started in the late ‘90s, then the young designers of today know almost nothing,” says filmmaker Briar Levit. “That’s why I decided I really needed to make this movie.”

Levit and her team spent years traveling around the US and UK, interviewing design legends like Ellen Lupton, a designer trained to work manually, and now an esteemed design writer and educator; Art Chantry, who still uses analog techniques to make posters and album covers; and Adrian Shaugnessy, publisher of the beloved Unit Editions design books. Digging into archives, university libraries, and even thrift shops to uncover forgotten tools and materials, Graphic Means gives viewers a look at the history of the ever-evolving design industry, and what’s in store for the future.

Though design is more popular than ever, with countless books and magazines dedicated to its new trends and thousands of students hoping to enter the field each year, its history has been largely ignored until now. Graphic Means: A History of Graphic Design Production is a must-see film for anyone who loves design, art, history, or the intersection of all three.

Briar Levit (Director/Producer): is an Assistant Professor at Portland State University, and a graduate of Central St. Martins College of Art & Design. This is her first documentary film.

We hope to see you May 24th, to reserve your spot, purchase a ticket by following the events page: Members: don’t forget to sign in with your AIGA account to receive you member-based discount when purchasing tickets!



By Craig Forbes
Published April 28, 2018
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