pushed into a leap of faith

In late 1989, when the computer was first becoming a useful tool for the graphic design industry, our small Boise firm was tentatively dipping our toe into the digital world. Our first little Macs, a Classic and then an SE30, were used as typesetting machines. We would typeset the headlines and body copy, then print them out and use SprayMount or the waxer to glue them on the paste-ups (there’s a word you may not have heard for years, if ever). Final art was an illustration board with type galleys and stats pasted on it, amberlith overlays, and a sheet of tracing paper with call-outs and instructions for the color separator to follow for their pre-press work.
On the phone with the color separator one day I asked him how many of the design firms he worked with across the country were submitting digital files vs. the age-old way we were doing it. I was, of course, looking for confirmation that we weren’t lagging behind the industry in any way. To my dismay he informed me that a good 80% of the firms he worked with were submitting their work digitally.
This was unacceptable! No way was I going to let this continue. I circled all the designers around me and announced that we were going to get with program, now! And so we did. Not immediately of course because there was equipment to purchase and software to learn and techniques to master. It took months to get up to speed, but we got there.
Tens of thousands of dollars and several years later I told my story to the color separator, thanking him for giving me the incentive I needed to up our game. He laughed and said “I was kidding! Only a handful of agencies at the time were willing to make that commitment – you were way ahead of the pack.”

Share this post

Book a Consultation
Tell us about yourself
Send Us A Message
Tom Foerstel : Founder & President

Tom Foerstel

Founder & President

Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 60’s, Tom developed a strong desire to create positive change for people and planet.


He went on to pursue his passion for art and design at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, and worked for design firms in Southern California before moving to Boise, Idaho in the early 80’s. Foerstel Design opened its doors in 1985. Since its inception, the firm has cultivated a bold, happy, forward-looking team focussed on creating distinct and effective work on behalf of their clients.


An integral part of Tom’s philosophy is giving back to the community in which he lives — a company cornerstone that drives Foerstel’s long history of providing pro-bono services to local non-profit humanitarian and arts programs.


One of Tom’s proudest personal achievements is his ability to say Supercalifragilisticexpyalidocious backwards.