Happy 30th birthday Illustrator: Here's how Adobe introduced Illustrator 1.0 in 1987


Digital Arts | 02 March 17

In 1987, as the UK was blanketed in the heaviest snow since the 18th century, Adobe launched what has been the most popular professional vector art and design software. The company is celebrating with a marketing-language-heavy blog post - but here's something a bit more fun. Get nostalgic while you watch the videos Adobe released for its launch.

Adobe released the first version of Illustrator in January 1987 – bringing professional illustration tools to the Mac. Illustrator 1.0 looks basic by today’s standards, but was groundbreaking then.

In the videos below, Adobe president John Warnock introduces the software – which was primarily based around a workflow of scanning in artwork, tracing it and then manipulating it, adding elements such as text.

What's old in Illustrator 1.0

Obviously much has changed between Illustrator 1.0 and today’s Illustrator CC 2017 (which is the 21st version of Adobe Illustrator) but you’ll be surprised at how familiar it seems. Despite it running in black-and-white at low-resolution on an early Apple Macintosh. The left-hand toolbar remains to this day, and there’s the Pen, Text and magnifying glass-based Zoom tool.

The videos were originally one long promo created to showcase the application and its features – but they’ve been chopped into 7-minute chunks and uploaded by Creative Cloud evangelist Rufus Deuchlar. Rufus uploaded them in 2009, but tweeted them today in to coincide (roughly) with Illustrator’s 30th anniversary.

The promo is wonderfully nostalgic – whether you were around for the launch, aware of this kind of promo from the 80s or have been watching the excellent ‘Mad Men for the 80s computer industry’ show Halt And Catch Fire on Amazon Prime Video (and if you haven’t, you should). You're unlikely to see Adobe launch a product again in a generic office, with presenter wearing a gray suit.

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