I Remember When Bluelines Were Blue…

Our agency recently hosted an open house for the Ad Club, so we had a wide array of industry folks visiting our office. In addition to doing some serious networking, I had the opportunity to visit with some of our younger Kilgies, and we did the normal shop talk thing you tend to do at these events.  I mentioned how we used to do “paste-up” and they looked at me like I had a third eye. Then I felt obligated to spend the next five minutes explaining how we did things before the digital age of advertising.  They did seem honestly interested for a few seconds…and then I lost them.  “No, we didn’t just press a button.”  Come on kids, humor the old guy!

I got my start in the retail grocery business sitting at a drawing table and laying out on tissue paper where I wanted the canned prunes to be in the weekly food ad.  I would then send the ad out to a type house and receive a series of long, smelly galleys of type. Run it through the machine to be waxed (not a beauty procedure!), and then I would cut out each individual item to be “pasted” onto a layout board.  Then someone shot it on a stat camera, and presto – there was the ad plus several painful X-acto blade cuts.  On Monday morning, when we saw that the competition beat us by a dime on those canned prunes, guess what?  We did it all over again!  And we did this whole process in a couple of days…what deadlines?

Exciting stuff, huh?  I’m glad things are so much easier now with all the great technical innovations we’ve made over the years. With the advent of the digital age, we’ve learned how to maximize our ability to make changes instantly in response to our client’s competitive marketplace.  This ever-changing ability makes our job more exciting and enables us to produce better work.

Sometimes, I get nostalgic for the old days of color keys, linos, t-squares, slicks and bluelines.  And yes, bluelines were blue. Look it up – online.

— Tim Kedzierski, Production Manager


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