Advertising has seen some major changes in the last several decades. Many of those changes are due in part to technology advancing so rapidly. This industry remains the same at its core. But advertising, through the years, has gradually transitioned into the digital world.

Advertising through the years

Advertising Through the Years Social

Advances in technology

Before the days of keyboard commands, advertising looked much different. The industry was full of true creative artists and involved Exacto knives, layout boards, and typesetters. But new technology made a powerful impact on the way people in the industry worked.

It was a slow transition at first. Computers introduced a limited selection of digital fonts. Initially, fonts were developed specifically for Microsoft and others only for Macintosh. But eventually, independents introduced font packages, which changed the game.

1. JD Denyer
2. Design Markers
3. Harry Borgman

But computers were mostly used for finished work at first. The industry relied heavily on printers, and it took a few years for them to catch up. Marker comps were still prevalent up until the 1980’s. But eventually, computers took over almost entirely.

The loss of fundamental basics

The greatest industry shift took place when concept development moved to a digital platform. John Powell, of Powell & Partners, remembers when his daughter, Meigan, was in school. He noticed then that the teaching process was beginning to shift.

Suddenly, there was a separation from the fundamental basics that help an individual understand the digital, computer side of the design work. Teachers started to take a step away from assignments that taught the hands-on fundamentals of how to identify what works: colors, layout, images, etc.

Create vs. compile

Years ago, an art director or designer would create a concept. They’d dream it up then arrange a photoshoot or work with an illustrator to bring that concept to life.

But graphic design is so overwhelmed with computer imagery these days. There’s been a great shift;  art directors often look for something rather than creating it. Stock photography is so abundantly available that the role and mindset of an art director have changed. Now, Imagery is compiled, rarely created.

A new approach

Today, there are many more outlets than ever before. And advertising has become much more segmented. Agencies face the challenge of cutting through the clutter to deliver a brand’s message.

In an attempt to connect with the target audience, agencies now approach campaigns from a storytelling perspective.

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