Janice Kirkpatrick (Private View, 16 February) and Denis Flin (Letters, DW 1 March) both view the use of computers in design as a backward step and appear to be suggesting that specialist typesetters have some kind of monopoly on typographical excellence.
I find this display of Ludditism very sad and take offence at Mr Flin’s condescending manner. As a teenager I was keen on science as well as art, and left school to become an aerospace technician with the RAF. In 1981 I worked temporarily for three years as a junior designer within the RAF’s exhibition design and production team.
Letraset sheets and PMT materials could be ordered as required, but the use of outside services could not. Consequently, we would hand-set text using Letraset on CS10. Paragraphs of justified text would be composed line by line, letter by letter, using pencil and tracing paper, and then the Letraset would be laid down with reference to the traced outlines for spacing adjustments. This was a laborious process, but an excellent way to learn about typographic form and readability.
But by Ms Kirkpatrick’s reckoning, as I am now an avid Mac fan (I recognise good tools when I see them), without a formal design education, I must be a passive, inadequate and fumbling pawn in someone else’s game; and as – God forbid – I have to rely on a spell-checker to counter my dyslexia (I also have staff to double-check text), Mr Flin thinks it irresponsible to trust me with the setting and reading of type.
Thank God my clients are not so narrow-minded!
Kent CT10 3HF