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Cal Poly’s Graphic Communication Institute Publishes Industry Leader’s Book

Frank Romano worked with GrC students to produce a new history of phototypesetting

The Graphic Communication Institute (GrCI) at Cal Poly and printing industry leader Frank Romano have partnered to publish Romano’s latest book, “History of the Phototypesetting Era.”

The publication traces one of the most important eras in printing history, including the technological transition and the impact of phototypesetting that linked hot metal typesetting and letterpress printing with the computer age.

“This book is a time capsule for an era of technological upheaval in the printing industry,” Romano said. “The narrative ends in 1985 as desktop publishing and laser image-setting were introduced.”

After years of preparation, Romano spent 10 weeks at Cal Poly finalizing the manuscript with 13 Cal Poly students as co-authors. The Graphic Communication Department’s student-run printing, publishing and imaging company, University Graphic Systems, was responsible for the production, and GrCI Manager Lyndee Sing provided project oversight.  

“The ‘History of the Phototypesetting Era’ is an educational marvel,” said Ken Macro, chair of Cal Poly’s Graphic Communication Department. “Not only did Frank Romano provide students with a phenomenal opportunity to engage applicable skill sets in the production of a book, he also broadened their knowledge base in the detailed and vast — yet short — technological era that bridged analog with digital. We thank Frank for his commitment to graphic communication education.”

Proceeds from the book’s sales will go to support graphic communication education at Cal Poly. Each book is signed by Frank Romano and is available on the GrCI website and Amazon.

“History of the Phototypesetting Era” will also be available for purchase at the Cal Poly Graphic Communication Department booth at Graph Expo in Chicago Sept. 28-Oct. 1. Romano will have an exclusive book-signing event from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 30, at the booth.

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