Graphic design history film premiering at Parkland

Derian Silva 

Staff Writer

Graphic design is a subject as old as Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press, however, there are not a lot of documentaries about graphic design. The most well-known is “Helvetica,” an introduction to graphic design centered around a very commonly used type-face.

“In time I believe this film will also be as important [as ‘Helvetica’],” said Paul Young, program director of graphic design at Parkland College.

The film Young referred to is “Graphic Means: A History of Graphic Design Production,” which will premiere at Parkland, followed by a question-and-answer panel with the director, Briar Levit, on Nov. 14.

The film looks at recent history and documents the change from an analog form of graphic design to a digital form.

“There was a time before digital technology, a period before things switched, and this is how things changed, how quick it’s changed and the people involved in the changes,” Young said. “We’re very lucky to have this film at Parkland. We like to make a splash about it.”

After the film, there will be a panel of people in the community who are involved with graphic design and the director of the film herself. This is an opportunity for students and community members to ask questions about aspects of the film and engage with the graphic design community.

“The film is rich with funny moments, significant moments, trivia. A lot of the information in the film isn’t in text books, even our text books don’t have that information,” Young said. “Ask lots of questions to the panels, just like at Ebert Fest.”

April Greiman, a transmedia designer, is also going to be one of the panelists featured after the film. She is one of the bigger names in the film and the world of graphic design. She was featured as one of the 30 creative individuals in the Apple documentary “Mac@30.”

“To have a big name in the graphic design world be available to talk to any audience in little Champaign-Urbana, Ill. is a pretty big deal. We are happy to have her,” Young said.

Students who are interested in graphic design, but not quite sure, can learn by attending the premiere, because it will be an introduction to the art. Anyone who may have seen the show “Mad Men” may be interested in watching this film as well, according to Young.

“Fans of ‘Mad Men,’ if they are interested in that era and how things were done, this film explains it all,” said Young.

The film will feature a lot of the history of graphic design and its transition into the technological era. A lot of the tools they mention are no longer widely used in modern times, but were staples of the trade in older eras. What some may call obscure today are merely tools of the era explored in the film.

“There are people into antique technology. Because technology changes so fast, you have to update your computer every two years, so you know, what happens to the old technology? There is a nostalgia for that kind of technology and this film delves right into it. The technologies shown in the film are 100 percent useless today,” Young said.

The film will be premiering on Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. in the Harold and Jean Miner Theatre at Parkland. Its run time is about 85 minutes according to the press release. Parkland students can get a free ticket so long as they are taking courses this semester, all they have to do is email Paul Young at pyoung@parkland.edu. Community members can purchase tickets for $8 in advance or $10 at the door.

All money will go to supporting the Giertz Gallery at Parkland. This event is being sponsored by The News-Gazette, Surface 51, Champaign-Urbana Design Organization, Premier Print Group, Smile Politely and 88.7 FM WPCD.

For more information, visit gds.parkland.edu/graphicmeans.