Graphic Means: A History of Graphic Design Production

Watch the trailer and secure your tickets

Graphic Means, a documentary on the evolution of graphic design production, to premiere in Australia

Most young designers today would find it hard to imagine how graphic design production worked before computers. A new documentary film directed by Briar Levit, an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at Portland State University, aims to clarify this by charting the evolution of graphic design production from the 1950s through to the 1990s.

“It occurred to me that if I knew so little, my graphic design students know even less,” writes Levit on the documentary’s website. “So with this, I set out to document the tools, processes, and people, of this brief moment in the design world.”


The film explores methods from linecaster to photocomposition, from paste-up to PDF, and honours those who made the transition from hand to digital, for their experience and skills that most designers today will never know.

“It’s been roughly 30 years since the desktop computer revolutionised the way the graphic design industry works,” writes Levit. “For decades before that, it was the hands of industrious workers, and various ingenious machines and tools that brought type and image together on meticulously prepared paste-up boards, before they were sent to the printer.”

Levit interviews a number of key figures in the graphic design world for the film, including Steven Heller, Ellen Lupton, Tobias Frere-Jones, Ken Garland and Adrian Shaughnessy.

Thanks to the Australian Graphic Design Association, the film will be screened in a limited run across the country on the dates below. Head over to the AGDA Events page to book your tickets, but be quick as seats will be limited.

  • Hobart, at the Dechaineux Theatre – June 1st, 2017
  • Perth, at North Metropolitan TAFE – June 20th, 2017
  • Adelaide, at The Basement Cinema – June 22nd, 2017
  • Sydney, at the UTS Theatre – June 28th, 2017
  • Brisbane, at University of QLD – July 11th, 2017
  • Canberra, at Kendal Lane Theatre – July 17th, 2017
  • Melbourne, at Swinburne University – August 1st, 2017

If you miss out, don’t worry – the film is expected to be released on DVD and Vimeo on Demand later this year, followed by other streaming services in early 2018.

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