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Graphic Means: A History of Graphic Design Production opening November 14th at Parkland

From the press release:

Champaign premiere contact: Paul Young, [email protected]

Filmmaker contact: Briar Levit, [email protected]

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The new documentary Graphic Means: A History of Graphic Design Production will make its local premiere at Parkland’s Harold and Jean Miner Theatre Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. Learn more here.

Decades before every desktop had a computer, it was the hands of industrious workers and ingenious tools that brought type and image together. Using rare archival footage and interviews, this groundbreaking film uncovers the hidden history of the graphic design industry’s “cold type” era. Graphic Means: A History of Graphic Design Production explores the rapid changes in design from the mid-century modern era of Mad Men to the introduction of the Macintosh computer. It explores the methods, tools, and evolving social roles that gave rise to the graphic design industry as we know it today.

“I figured if I know very little, as someone who started in the late ’90s, then the young designers of today know almost nothing,” says filmmaker Briar Levit. “That’s why I decided I really needed to make this movie.”

Levit and her team spent years traveling around the US and UK, interviewing design legends like Steven Heller (AIGA medalist, New York Times art director, author of over 60 books), April Greiman (AIGA medalist, educator, digital innovator, “new wave” design guru), Art Chantry (AIGA medalist, educator, author and lo-tech design guru), Ellen Lupton (designer, author, educator), Tobias Frere-Jones (designer of typefaces like Gotham), Ken Garland (designer, author, educator), and many others.

Digging into archives, university libraries, and even thrift shops to uncover forgotten tools and materials, Graphic Means gives viewers a look at the history of the ever-evolving design industry, and what’s in store for the future.

Though design is more popular than ever, with countless books and magazines dedicated to its new trends and thousands of students hoping to enter the field each year, its recent history has been largely ignored until now. Graphic Means: A History of Graphic Design Production is a must-see film for anyone who loves design, art, history, or the intersection of all three.

Briar Levit (director/producer) is an assistant professor at Portland State University and a graduate of Central St. Martins College of Art and Design. “The percentage of women in top positions in the film industry is still markedly low,” says Levit about her first film. “In light of this, I’ve deliberately chosen an all-woman crew.”

This 85-minute independently-produced documentary premiered April 15 in Seattle. It is currently making the rounds at film festivals, film societies, museums and specialty cinemas in Australia, Denmark, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, New Zealand, Russia, Thailand, UK, and across the US. In Champaign, Graphic Means: A History of Graphic Design Production will premiere on Tuesday, Nov. 14 at the Harold and Jean Miner Theatre at Parkland College. Doors open at 6:30 pm; the film will start at 7 pm.

A panel discussion about the film and this soon-to-be-forgotten era of design history will be held immediately following the screening. Both filmmaker Briar Levit and design legend April Greiman will join us via Skype. April Greiman is an internationally-renowned designer and key historical figure who is a featured interviewee in the film. Local designers and educators who have lived and worked through this pre-digital era of graphic design have also been invited to participate on the panel. Among the panelists are Al Fleener, president and creative director of Surface 51, a local design and marketing firm; John Walker, professor emeritus at Illinois State University; Jack Davis, freelance graphic designer; Laura Adams, former designer at WILL Broadcasting; and Paul Young, graphic design professor at Parkland College.

The Champaign premiere of GRAPHIC MEANS: A HISTORY OF GRAPHIC DESIGN PRODUCTION is a benefit screening for Giertz Gallery at Parkland College. The requested donation is $8 per person with advance purchase (reservations available online at starting Oct. 15) or $10 at the door. All proceeds from the box office will go directly to support the exhibitions and programs at the gallery.

Parkland College is able to donate the entire box office gross to the Giertz Gallery due the generosity of the following sponsors: The News-Gazette, Surface 51, CUDO (Champaign-Urbana Design Organization), Premier Print Group, Smile Politely and WPCD Radio. Their generous support has completely covered the cost of bringing this film to Champaign.

Executive Editor

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