Today's commercial PCBs employ sophisticated design tools and manufacturing techniques, but some hobbyists still delight in making DIY boards.
The electronics hobby magazine Elektor used to include PCB layouts in the magazine for many of their projects. I still had to get a photo-house to make my positives, but I could etch the boards myself. They had a couple of very distinctive styles. Their earlier style used most of the board with only small gaps between the tracks. The sizes of tracks and pads were often totally out of proportion to their importance, but they looked very nice.
Elektor's early PCB style (top) and later style (bottom).
Later, Elektor changed to a style with tracks running only horizontally, vertically, or at 45 degree angles. I prefer this style and still use it for my own boards. Elektor still does PCB designs, but they're not in the magazine, and you would normally buy their PCBs ready-made.
When computers arrived on the scene, they were -- of course -- ideal for designing. In the mid-1990s I obtained a demo version of a program called Niche PCB designer. This is a Windows 3.11 program that is really nothing more than a screen-based version of Bishops Graphics. You have a palette of various sized pads and IC and transistor base layouts, which you can drag onto a grid and link up with tracks of various sizes. You have to do all of the pad placement and track routing yourself. I still often print them out double-size on paper and then reduce them to transparencies using a photocopier. This is fine for small layouts, which is mostly what I do, and works so well that I still have not learned Eagle or DesignSpark or any of the more sophisticated programs (although that's certainly on my "To Do" list).
When I came to Australia, I could no longer obtain Positiv20, but I could get pre-sensitized PCB. The first time I used this, I exposed it in the sun for the same five minutes that I used with Positiv20, and I ended up with a totally blank board. Some trial and error later, I arrived at about 30 to 60 seconds as the ideal exposure for this stuff. I've picked up a bit of it very cheaply recently and I still make my own PCBs. I've started using SMD (surface mount device) components, but not the really small ones. Ammonium persulphate etchant is much cleaner than my old smelly ferric chloride, but it is single-use stuff. I still use my wife's drain cleaner for developing, though. More recently, I have seen a process using special sheets that you use in a copier and then iron on to your PCBs, but I have yet to try that.
Of course, all of this is a far cry from the commercial PCBs of today. Very automated design, tiny track widths, multiple layers (up to 30, according to Duane Benson, who works with PCBs for a living and should know), flexible PCBs, lead-free soldering and ROHS, ball-grid arrays, JTAG to access the hidden pins... all very specialized stuff, and far beyond what I know. I look forward to learning more about these techniques in PCB Designline, but it's still fun making my stone-age PCBs.