Review - ‘Farewell, Etaoin Shrdlu’ (1978)


After having this on my watchlist for a while, I recently found time to watch the difficult to pronounce, but fascinating to view, ‘Farewell, Etaoin Shrdlu’ a 1978 documentary on the last days of Linotype printing at the New York Times.

As the design industry makes moves towards AI-driven design processes, it was interesting to reflect on how people in a similar situation—as hot metal type transitioned to computer based layout and printing—considered and adapted to these changes.

The prediction of the Print Professional at the 14m:23s mark could as easily be applied today to digital designers or artists looking at the output from AI art and design tools like DALL·E and Stable Diffusion.

“All the knowledge I’ve acquired over 26 years is now locked up in a little box called a computer.”

I found ‘Farewell, Etaoin Shrdlu’ a really interesting short film with a lot to reflect on as we face similar and continuing issues around the march of technological progress.

Watch the Film: