Primitive actually describes what it was like to have to use manual design tools and supplies to laboriously create what can now be done in minutes by computer. The life of a NY freelance graphic designer has changed so much due to the advent of the computer that it may have almost become extinct.
But back while manual labor was alive and well, so was ‘press-type’ and Letraset™ was its leader, http://www.letraset.com/products/90-Letraset-Transfers/. But ‘press-type’ was meant for headlines and signage not for body copy. One NY architect, working on the West Side Highway project back in the early 1970’s, was unfamiliar with the graphic design field and typesetting. He used ‘press-type’ for every word of his three-page resume. What must have taken him days, could have then been done easily by a typesetter. Now he could just create it himself on a PC (or Mac). See this link for type samples: http://www.fonts.com/?gclid=CLrJ3drc0qQCFQl_5QodkG3tKw
Probably the most annoying tool for the most tedious job around was the tape created for chart making. It came in all different colors and widths even as narrow as 1/32 of an inch; yes, you read that correctly, 1/32 of an inch, about the width of a thick hair. Imagine trying to do something, anything with that width of tape.
Manual dexterity was given a new meaning when creating charts with 1/16th and even 1/32nd inch tape. Chartpak™ was the leader in the charting tape industry. Their company today (http://www.chartpak.com) has little resemblance to what it was then. But in the 1970’s, making charts was a daily task in the Art Department at Merrill Lynch’s Securities Research Division, headquartered on Broadway in lower Manhattan.
There were stores large and small all over Manhattan for both emergency supplies and regularly planned orders. By the 1970’s, the Charrette Corporation had come to Manhattan. Their red vans made deliveries all over the city and surrounding areas. They became the favored retail and commercial supplier of design materials.
Charrette was the new comer to the city back then. But once here, staked their claim for decades. Other stores like AI Friedman, Art Brown, Pearl Paint, Keuffel and Esser, Grand Central Art Supplies, Utrecht, Dick Blick and even Jerry’s Artorama preceded, came after or outlived Charrette. But Charrette was special. The Examiner series on Charrette, NY explains how.