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Cold Type: The Years of Paste-up Graphics

July 17 - August 11

Over the last 30 years, desktop publishing has revolutionized the way the graphic design industry works. Looking at the typical workspace of a graphic designer today we notice that it is a virtual one. Almost everything is done digitally. This transformation of the workspace indicates a shift in the profession from the figure of a craftsperson to that of a creative technical expert.

The exhibition, ‘Cold Type: The Years of Paste-up Graphics’, will explore graphic design production from the 1960s through to the 1980s, showcasing a collection of cold type tools (composed without the casting of metal) used by graphic artists to produce comprehensive artwork (hand-drawn layouts) and mechanicals (paste-ups with all elements in proper position) for print-ready solutions.

It will focus on previous techniques and forms used in print design, looking at innovative tools that pushed the field of graphic design in new directions and helped shape current tools that are ubiquitous today in the form of software. The objects exhibited will explore the craftsmanship and innovation of the trade, showing the original objects that we now only tend to see represented virtually on a digital desktop, highlighting the shift from skilled makers to digital thinkers.

The collection will also include a selection of artefacts, such as pre-computer graphic communication books and manuals, production machine catalogues, posters and original paste-ups by layout paste-up artists.

All the objects have been chosen in line with the immediate use that they had for the graphic designer, showing the skill and craftsmanship that went into developing print material throughout that era. The tools were part of everyday working life and allowed the designer to plan and produce graphic material.

Upcoming events

Cold Type

July 17 - August 11

‘Cold Type: The Years of Paste-up Graphics’ explores graphic design production from the 1960s to the 1980s, showcasing a collection of cold type tools focusing on previous techniques and forms used in print design. 

Brummagem: Lost City Found

September 18 - October 27

A personal reflection of the city over 20 years. The exhibition will present a direct response to the sense of loss that is taking place as the city of Birmingham rapidly redevelops and reinvents itself. 

Architecture, Festival and the City

November 13 - December 29

The exhibition will create a setting for academics, industry professionals and students within an annual architectural conference. Presentations will include films, posters, photographs and artwork.  

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Events Calendar - August 2017

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