How was brand consistency maintained before computers?

The era of computers makes it easy to regulate brand consistency – you can e-mail anyone your branding guidelines in a PDF and it will have all the information they need. However, I still sometimes struggle to acquire the files I need from clients (no, please do not fax me your logo).

I can’t imagine how difficult my job would be without e-mail. How was it done? For example, if I wanted some stationery with my company’s logo printed on it, what was the process like without computers? How did brand logos remain consistent without digital assistance?


Logos would be done with paste-up: text might be created using a linotype or phototypesetting machine. I personally used a machine that had fonts on wheels approx 12″ in diameter which you rotated and selected individual characters using a footswitch. This exposed the type on a strip of photopaper and at the end, you’d had a line of text which you would paste up onto a board.

You would use various tools to work up the logo, single color usually, then photograph the result: often 2-3x the desired final size. You could then expose a negative (or positive) multiple times to arrive at a high-quality master sheet of various logo sizes from .25x to 5x etc. You would then provide a high-quality positive (or a dupe negative so they could make their own consumable positives) for use by designers.

They would then cut out or dupe the size they wanted for use on a paste-up board for a design usually 1.5-2x desired size and the printer would do color separations with halftone screens and CMYK color filters on a B&W camera. the films would be exposed to plates, the plates inked and printed.

Also, they had a thing called “the postal service” and turn-around times could be measured in weeks if you didn’t have a huge budget for driving things across town or out of state.

Source : Link , Question Author : JohnB , Answer Author : horatio

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