The Lost Art of Paste Up

September 2020

Have you ever wondered why we use words like “cut” and “paste” to describe the process of moving bits of text and pictures from one place to another in our computer programmes?

In this short video, Bryony Dalefield from the London Review of Books, reminds us of how page layout was done in the days before electronic publishing. It’s a sobering reminder of just how easy we have it today when you see how much work was involved in making a “simple” correction to something like a misspelled word or an orphan.

Until the early 1980s all printed matter was created this way, including newspapers. It’s hard to imagine that every single story and picture would have been cut and pasted onto an artboard like this, and that corrections were made by cutting and pasting individual words or even parts of words.

This video explains why I describe modern desktop publishing software as “a metaphor for the traditional cut and paste method”. When you understand the traditional way of doing things, the digital process somehow makes a lot more sense.

If you need to learn how to use QuarkXPress, Adobe InDesign, Adobe FrameMaker or CorelDraw to electronically paste up pages, check out our training courses here.