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Making Yellow Pages ads with cutting-edge computer graphics, circa 1977

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An AT&T demonstration video from 1977 showcases a new method for creating ads for the Yellow Pages with computer graphics.

Yellow Pages Graphics 1977
Yellow Pages Graphics 1977

In 2012, it's difficult to remember a time when the Yellow Pages got widespread use as anything more than a footrest, or when ads were created by hand rather than put together in software like Photoshop or InDesign. Back in 1977, AT&T (then Bell) debuted a way to move Yellow Pages ad copy creators off manual design and onto a fairly massive system built for image manipulation. The downright triumphant demonstration below shows how to create an ad with computer graphics, including scanned drawings and a library of images that can be moved around with a pen-like mouse precursor. Best of all, it's "all controlled by a computer program" that eliminates the need for an artist or camera. The Yellow Pages may have been a victim of the internet's success, but the fascinating video is worth the whole five minutes it takes to watch it.

Thanks to member dsrubin!