Thursday, January 13, 2011

Guard Books- The Lost Art

One of my first tasks as an MT in advertising was to update the guard book.

My boss had used the thick big books with khaki pages stuck with proofs and  prints and posters to walk me through my brands. And then told me that it was my sole responsibility to update and upkeep the guardbook.

Senior client and agency member visits to the agency meant the guardbooks would get a thorough spring clean- brand new covers, repaste, dust and stack them neatly. And not just brand. We had competitive guardbooks too and language guardbooks.

Sometimes when there was a lot of work, I would just shove the prints into the book to be pasted later and would sometimes be pulled up  by my seniors- the book had to be updated, no matter what.

One day, we all became digital. Proofs were images on the screen. Artworks were images on floppies and then CDs and now uploaded on a link. Nothing physical and tangible exists anymore.

We were asked to gradually shift to digital guardbooks.

Never happened.
We got smart.
We knew that we could access the files, the jpegs whenever we wanted.

And guardbooks died a natural death.

With it we have lost connect with the history of brands.
With the landmark work our predecessors  had done.
With the way images used to be shot, laid out.
With the way copy was carefully written in an age where people loved reading copy.

I miss the guardbooks.
With their passing, maybe we have lost out on an important thing.
Pride in our past work. And pride in our heritage brands.