The Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies

Posted by on Jul 4, 2012 in Inspiration | 2 Comments

Proportion WheelOkay, I’ll admit it. I’ve been a designer long enough to remember using Pantone Markers to create marker comps, type gauges for “type specking”, waxers for pasteup, and Photostat cameras instead of Photoshop.

I don’t miss it — cuts from X-acto blades, clogged Rapidographs, exposure to toxic chemicals, etc. But for those with a fondness for the “good old days” or anyone who wants to take a look back at the tools and processes that were once used daily by graphic designers, a visit to The Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies will be amusing and interesting.

Ironically I found a use for my old proportion wheel a few months ago. A problem came up while putting a student art show online at my job. In order to photograph without glare from the camera flash and overhead lights, the artwork was photographed at an angle, causing distortion. I was able to use my ‘ancient’ proportion wheel to determine the artwork’s final size, enabling me to transform the images to their actual proportions with Photoshop.



  1. Jay
    July 5, 2012


  2. Bruce Decker
    July 5, 2012

    We used to call these things “Prayer Wheels” because of their innaccuracies Sizing was overwhelmingly improved by the hand calculator.
    I was just reminiscing with someone about waxers and paste-up. Don’t miss that mess. It is all coming back as a wave of artisan techniques.
    It was a simpler, less precise time where we were revered as graphic artists. Now we have to know umpteen programs and be computer experts, photo experts, web wizards, video editors, copy writers and more.
    We will all be in a museum someday. The Museum of Forgotten Graphics People. Nobody knows who we are because we are always under deadline in some basement office or catacomb-like building burning midnight oil and we never see the light of day. Boy, this is cathartic. It is of course our choice to want to make a more visually appealing world. Slaving away is not wasted.


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