I shall speak for this article from my own personal experience. In 1980, I began working as a graphic artist at a small Midwest newspaper. The newspaper also used lead type printing, but it was transitioning to modern technologies.
The newer technology involved cutting and pasting on paper long strips of text that had just gone through a waxer to a prototype for a newspaper article. To press the text onto the paper templates we used X-acto blades for cutting and glass rollers.Get more informations of History of graphic design
We created Halftones for photos. These were produced in a large darkroom with a small vertical camera. The photos were pictured on paper formed by tiny halftone dots. These images were made, fixed and dried with halftone. We were then also pasted into a template for a newspaper article.
We cut and pasted line-art often either from stock books or created by an artist to make the pages fancier. I went to work for another newspaper in 1989 but in another department this one had high-tech Israeli equipment called Scitex. I started out as a paste-up artist and then worked my way into the department of Scitex on two different workstations priced at between $500,000 and $1 million a piece.
One workstation scanned pictures with high resolution and then we corrected the pictures in colour. The other workstation was a page layout station where we arranged images, illustrations, and created pages of newspapers that were submitted to video.
In that year, an Apple computer with Photoshop 1.0 and Illustrator 1.0 was loaded on to the Art Department. These were considered tools of “non-production” used by the Art Department for art creation only. These desktop computers didn’t have the Scitex system’s horsepower to create a whole daily newspaper and output film.
I worked for one of the major companies that printed the Yellow Pages in 1998. Finally, Adobe came to create Photoshop and Illustrator which would work on a PC and not only on Apple Macintoshes. This was then that the world of graphic design really opened up.
Scanners for the PC had become incredibly cheap, dropping in just a few years from $500,000 to $5,000. Macintosh and PC workstations running Photoshop, Illustrator, Freehand and QuarkXPress were replaced with Scitex workstations.
And after Y2 K came and walked, prices fell even further. Becoming a graphic artist or web designer was accessible to everyone now. Compared to the early 1990s software, computers, and scanners were inexpensive.
Yet, what I’ve found is that just because someone can be a graphic artist now, not everybody will. It’s like saying that you’re a professional photographer now because you learn to write a paragraph in school, or because you can take pictures with your iPhone.