Adobe Illustrator turns 30 years old

“Adobe Photoshop gets all the attention but Adobe Illustrator might be used for more things and probably by more kinds of designers,” Khoi Vinh writes for Subtraction.

“For all of its faults — and even as an Adobe employee, I admit it has many — it’s still a workhorse that gets the job done, and it’s still an invaluable part of the toolbox for many, many creative professionals,” Vinh writes. “Last week the app hit its thirty-year milestone, an incredible achievement.”

Vinh writes, “This video tells the product’s story very nicely.”

The Adobe Illustrator Story from Terry Hemphill on Vimeo.

“Today, more than 180 million graphics are created with Illustrator CC on a monthly basis,” Wayne Hoang writes for Adobe. “Its output is everywhere, from the billboards you pass on the highway to the packages you see at the grocery.”

“Thirty years ago, Illustrator gave creatives the freedom to create digital artwork that is precise, perfect, and adjustable,” Hoang writes. “Over the years, it has continued to make graphic design accessible to all.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Congrats to Adobe and to Illustrator users!

Not also that Illustrator is 30 years old for Mac users only. It’s only 28 years old on Windoze.


    1. No, he means Windows — where you can get full-tilt desktops with the latest and fastest processors and GPUs that Tim Cook can’t find the time to get designed into a Mac.

      Fire Tim Cook!

  1. Congrats on a 30-year anniversary Adobe Illustrator and I have been using the program since AI88.

    That said, the program has always lagged behind Aldus/Macromedia Freehand in ease of use, speed, operational elegance and fewer keystrokes to accomplish the same task.

    Like Windows, AI is a needy program that requires more attention than it deserves. And some things are just stupid. No wonder Steve was at war with Adobe for bloated tech.

    On the positive fair side present day AI offers much more in the way of Photoshop filters and special effects than Freehand.

    I typically start raw drawing assignments in Freehand MX because of elegance and speed of use. Finish off in sluggish Illustrator.

    Bottom line: When Adobe bought out Freehand and shelved it in 2007 the dim bulb corporate powers, after cutting support for MX (obsolete), to this day have neglected to recognize and incorporate the best of both worlds.

    Ego mistake …

      1. Absolutely correct and I’m reminded of it daily.

        Myself and an office colleague were both beta testers for Freehand back in the 1990s. Not one to toot my own horn, but there are several features in Freehand that we suggested during testing. Long ago so I’m guessing features were incorporated in versions 7 or 8 and remain through to MXv11.

        At the time Macromedia had already bought Aldus and the team of engineers we met with were very supportive and open minded programmers. I hear that is not the case at Adode, but I don’t know that first hand.

        When Illustrator CS3 was first released Adobe was on a multi-state roadshow conference tour presenting the full suite. I attended the local conference because our company was in a transition phase from Freehand to Illustrator.

        I’ll never forget the main presenter making snide comments directed at Apple Computer. Writing this I can still see the disapproval in her face in mind’s eye. Thought it strange, since Apple desktop publishing MADE Adobe. Apple should buy Adobe, but that is a different discussion for another day.

        Like I said, the .ai special effects functions are fabulous. But the day to day production process, in dozens of ways, are a pain in the arse and some standard working functions are simply stupid!

        I have dozens of examples of PRODUCTION PAIN using .ai, but here is just one stupid example to make the point: With your pen tool draw a 12 point (one pica) line of any color. Try and grab it to edit. If you don’t precisely select the SPINE CENTER of the line (viewed in Mac Command+Y or Windows CTRL+Y) — you are in precise select CLICK FRUSTRATION HELL. BUT in Freehand, click on the line ANYWHERE — boom, go!

        Using CS3 for now, so this may have been corrected in later versions of .ai, I don’t know.

        What is your favorite frustration?

    1. My empty wishful thinking at the time was to keep them both going strong. You are right tho, to gain supremacy Adobe bought it and buried it. Does not make .ai BETTER by default.

      If anyone is aware international media graphics services for decades preferred Freehand over Illustrator because of production and learning curve ease of use.

      That would include the Associated Press, Knight-Ridder, Gannett, McClatchy, NY Times, Newsroom, Scripps-Howard and others. Adobe buying Freehand terminated upgrade support and forced the hand of media companies to convert to .ai.

      I have no problem with that decision. What I have a problem with is their collective corporate heads up their arse by not recognizing and incorporating the best features of BOTH PROGRAMS.

      Make Illustrator Great Again!

    1. Sorry to hear that. But I do miss the fact it is not alive and essentially dead from a support or upgrade point of view.

      That said, I keep an older Mac humming along running Snow Leopard and Rosetta which supports Freehand MX and Adobe CS3 Suite.

      Best of both worlds back and forth and able to use it daily … 😎

  2. So many things that were possible in Freehand can still not be done properly with illustrator. I would so love to have a native version for a current OS. Same with Expression; the app that vanished once MS bought the company for whatever reason.

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