Владислав Артюхов asked,
How italics were indicated for printing in manuscripts before computers have appeared?
Proofreader marks were and are used still to indicate the use of italic type in typesetting for printing.
Before computers a manuscript produced on a typewriter destined to be published, those pages were edited, proofed and marked-up using proofreaders marks.
Indicating italics is done by hand-writing in cursive in the margin the word ital on the same line level, and underlining the word or words to be typeset in italics. This is one application of one of many proofreader’s marks.
Proofreader marks are hand-written in the margin and on the typed page copy. The standard symbols (Proofreader’s Marks) are used to convey instructions to the person typesetting, along with other copy correction mark-up to instruct typesetting of the type-written copy. Mark-up instructions included; alignment, typeface family fonts or font selection, font size and leading, the word spacing and letter spacing and whether to hyphenate were typical instruction for typesetting that are hand written on a manuscript produced with a type-writer.
Although typed pages are not as common today graphic designers performed the process of proofreading, editing, marking up, and copyfitting pages based on typewritten manuscript pages destined for typesetting and print publishing. The designer using proofreading mark’s and indicating copy mark-up instruction is the industry process and functions often called specifying type.
Specifying type on typewritten pages was a common occurrence in print publishing workflows from the 1880′s to the 1980's.
Below you can see explanation and list of Proofreader’s Marks: