Winter 2003

LiveType [EXTRACT]

Live Type

Graphics and titling software bundled free with Apple Final Cut Pro 4

In writing the de facto history of graphic design, the late Philip Meggs had to discern and describe its contours, including key figures, movements and pieces of design. It is evident in retrospect that he was also invested with preserving the legitimacy of the history he had circumscribed in three editions of his book A History of Graphic Design. This is obvious from short articles he wrote with headlines such as ‘Five top designers confess: “I never went to art school!” ’; ‘High style, low style, vile style’; and ‘Is a design history canon really dangerous?’

In another article . . . Meggs fretted that the advent of desktop publishing (DTP) signalled something akin to the end of civilisation. He foresaw ‘a new generation of unschooled graphic designers – editors, PR agents, secretaries and other do-it-yourself desktop publishers – [who] are totally ignorant of the rudiments of publication design and typography.’ He was emphatic that, in ‘the hands of people who don’t know an ampersand from a hole in the ground’, DTP would lead to ‘unimagined graphic atrocities’.

I was reminded of Meggs’ point of view the first time I started up LiveType, a new program for creating motion graphics, titles and credits that comes bundled free with Apple’s newly released Final Cut Pro 4. (It also includes three other substantial add-ons: Soundtrack, a music composition program; Compressor; and Cinema Tools.) LiveType is astonishingly easy to start using . . . As Meggs might have anticipated, it is remarkably easy to produce ‘graphic atrocities’ with LiveType, and perhaps that will become part of its peculiar charm. At the very least, it is a relatively accessible way to demystify titling for the Great Unannointed (i.e. the philistines who didn’t go to art school) . . .

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