New Russell Wilson poster brings back memories of how graphics used to be done

(John Costacos / Why Not You Foundation)

The new Russell Wilson poster is showing off his newly formed upper body and arms. But for those of us in the Seattle graphic arts community, this new Costacos Brothers creation brings back memories of a past time before quality computer graphics existed and these types of works were as much technical as creative.

To get a history of the Costacos Brothers, this is a great feature from a few years ago. Suffice to say that if you were into sports during the 80’s and 90’s you knew the look.

What you might not know is that all of these early posters were created mechanically as composite 4x5 transparencies, carefully and skillfully by hand. The photo lab I ran in Seattle processed all of the E-6 film for these projects, produced by the graphic arts house that assembled the various images, added special effects, and ended up with the final product over many versions that was then separated for offset printing.

It was so cool seeing these images come to life over time as we processed the film and then seeing the posters show up at sporting goods stores everywhere. In a world where CGI is so much of what creates the movies we see the Wilson poster was just a reminder of the days when PowerPoint presentations were done with 35mm slides and stuff like this was considered high tech.