John McEwen
and John Haddington



1993   |  280 × 220mm   |  96pp


The Lost Art of Photocopying. I have described how the advent of the Apple Mac and desktop publishing changed the life of the book designer, but the 'new technology' did not arrive full formed. For the first five years or so I worked on a black and white monitor, drawing black boxes which denoted where the pictures went. Designing was still an effort of the imagination; WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) only up to a point, Lord Copper.

Prior to platemaking, the black boxes and text of my layouts were output to film and sandwiched together in register with the scanned image separations in a process known as film make-up. The boxes and text of the black working were exposed to the plate after the images, the boxes serving as a 'burn-out mask' to give a clean edge to the image area.

In 1993, this book was designed largely on a photocopier: the photographer's 35mm slides were printed out; these prints enlarged to suit on a monochrome A3 photocopier and the pages pasted up; only when the design was established did I sit at the computer and shuffle the text and black boxes into the right position. 

In 1992 the Joint Photographic Experts Group agreed the now-ubiquitous JPEG file format, and later in the decade Computer-to-Plate technology arrived to do away with the cumbersome process described.