In the mid-90’s,
after two years working at a commercial printer,
I worked in the art and marketing division of a Maine toy and stationery manufacturer, as art director and production designer. I created the "digital mechanicals" for packaging, marketing and promotional materials and large full color product catalogs. Proofs in those days were done by checking the match prints the printer made. They were so expensive I crossed my fingers that any mistakes we found were not hard to fix.
I spent hours upon hours making clipping paths around products set on unwanted backgrounds. Using the pen tool in photoshop way back when layers were the new kid on the block. It’s one of my proudest skills. I know, it is hard to believe.
By then I was also the go-to person for software and hardware and all things Mac, including font conflicts, SCSI device problems, networking and trying to work cross platform when it was pretty much impossible. I had started with design and publishing when printing was often still done by photographing hand pasted mechanicals with halftone screens laid over black and white photos, and finished using an xacto knife carving on Rubylith.
I worked on catalogs using digital images that had required hours or days of a photo shoot, hours of looking at a million miles of developed film on a light table, waiting days for the chosen photos to be scanned so I could get them on a CD or Jazz drives. You remember those? Who cares.
Now we can expect to receive elaborate full color printed books with only a PDF file emailed to the printer or created with a few clicks on our computers. That makes me feel old, but it was really only a span of probably less than 15 years.