Just a little love note to Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator, well dear, we’ve come a long way!

Wow! I can’t believe it’s been almost 16 years, you and I, my dear Illy. I just wanted to share this great video on the history of Adobe Illustrator, swoon! I’m not sure how many are aware of the critical role Illustrator played in the way we produce design today and led the way for wonderful innovations such as the ubiquitous PDF. I cannot count the number of times I’ve defended her honour to “Photoshop For Everything” folks over the years.

The Adobe Illustrator Story

Unexpected highlights of the video for me:


  • The solidarity in how temperamental Rotring pens were. I have two Rotrings glaring at me right now…I hate them, and they were expensive-ish.


  • When John states one if his major motivators for developing illustrator was his wife, Marva, was so bad at inking (in a really sweet, couple way)



My love affair with llustrator truthfully had a rocky start. There was a young temptress.

When I was in design school there were a myriad of choices given to us for producing vector work. Fortunately we were encouraged to try them all, the players were Illustrator, Corel Draw and Macromedia Freehand. After using each of them for different projects, I must say Illustrator didn’t immediately stick. She was runner up.

I was taken with Freehand. I found the UI more intuitive,  even as a student, I appreciated it’s publishing features for long documents. Pages, Master Pages, document styles, one could produce an entire magazine with a little effort and the vector tools were close at hand. I disliked using Quark X-Press, so anything I could use to avoid it, I would. (Note that InDesign was in it’s infancy).

It’s a funny thing when you become proficient with a certain software, how unwilling you are to change. I had very tight school assignment deadlines and I was quick in Freehand so I stuck with it. No time to dig into what made Illustrator great.

When I landed in my internship at an ad agency they were rolling exclusively with Adobe Products. With the exception of Flash (Macromedia at the time), for producing web content that would make you roll your eyes now (hell, we were all churning that shit out though…happily…animate all the things!)

Once I actually sat down without my Freehand security blanket and used Illustrator, I was in love. I made the right choice too, a short time later, Adobe bought Macromedia and killed Freehand.


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