Heyoka’s Workbench


Photo of a Compugraphic EditWriter 7500

I’ll never forget the stories Michael used to tell about the early years of professional desktop publishing. The way things were done in print design when he learned his trade.

Once, we met for a lively dinner at a snug little Andalusian restaurant with some colleagues. There was a printer who was among the very first in our country to have readopted letterpress printing. There were Michael and his wife, the two great veteran designers. And there were a friend and me who had started developing web stuff in the last millennium. We soon were revelling in the quaint details of the past of our professions and laughing and joking (with one or another pang of nostalgic melancholy).

But the best anecdotes were those Michael told. I remember him describing some half-mystic apparatus used to prepare layouts for printing. The best thing was a part of that machine called Dicktenstecker in German. (I could not even find an English translation.) It was for adjusting the font’s kerning and spacing. Dicktenstecker – I’ll always remember this word that sounds like invented by Monty Python or Terry Pratchett.

Michael died on 3 July 2019, in his fifty-sixth year. He was a very pleasant fellow and I am glad to have known him and to have had the opportunity to work with him.

Photo: The Compugraphic 7500 (courtesy of Michael)