Since 1980 I’ve been involved in some part of this industry, beginning with a typesetting and layout business, and  room-sized equipment before the age of desktop publishing.  While the equipment was large, heavy, full of moving parts, and prone to breaking down (especially before deadlines,) the machines were still revolutionary because they did fit into a room.  They also had a small 8″ text-only, black and white monitor so you could see mistakes before printing out final film.

But as personal computers became affordable in the early 1980s, a few large typesetting companies found ways to interface typesetting machines to computers. This allowed the new desktop computers by IBM to be used as an early, but crude, WYSIWYG device with word processing software. To help promote that technology, I put together a seminar in October, 1983, subtitled “The hottest topic today in typesetting,” with speakers representing the world’s leading equipment manufacturers, like Mergenthaler.

A few years later, the Apple MacIntosh computer was released with their LaserWriter printers and started the age of true desktop publishing. A printing company I started up during that time became Corporate Printing and Mailing Co., based in Berkeley, California. It handled all phases of print production including the mailing of materials. We also self-published a local street map of Berkeley  which was designed to look like the colorful maps you might see in Europe.

When necessary, we would handle the graphic design and illustration functions, along with the printing and mailing, which we did for companies like Emmett Eiland Rugs or the The North Face. We received their typed product descriptions along with actual sportswear items and would prepare the illustrations. We then produced and mailed their illustrated fliers worldwide on a regular basis.  Most of our other customers were larger companies or graphic arts firms.

We later developed an offshoot subsidiary company called Graphic Arts Network, which became the first and only employment agency west of Chicago that specialized in placing graphic artists.  I also wrote the monthly column, Printing and Production, for DMNews which was, and still is, the leading professional journal for the $60 billion dollar direct marketing industry.  Many of the topics discussed will include ideas from those columns.

In 1991, I founded a niche company, Poster Compliance Center that publishes the mandatory labor law posters required by all businesses. Its goal was to replace the normal hodgepodge of workplace posters with a more reader friendly “all-in-one” poster. These colorful, space-saving posters are now commonly seen in workplaces nationwide.

Note the this is not the same Allen Glazer at Alpha Lex Systems or Sanford Allen Glazer.

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