Adobe Illustrator Celebrates 25 Years

Developer & Design

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Out of all the Adobe programs we used in my newspaper design class, it was Illustrator that I enjoyed using the most. It was by far the most refined program that made line drawing easy and fun. I guess a program gets pretty close to perfection when it’s 25-years-old.

Adobe announced yesterday the 25th anniversary for Illustrator. The program launched on March 19, 1987 as the first program from a younger Adobe, who had previously only worked on PostScript. While it was originally meant to be a drawing tool for PostScript, Illustrator took off as a program wholly unique to itself.

Adobe Co-Founder John Wamock reflected on the impact Illustrator has had on the world in a post on Adobe Blog:

“Most people have no idea how many things in their lives were created in Illustrator. It’s not just packaging and logo design, it’s maps, car dashboards, shoes and watches,” said Brenda Sutherland, product manager, Adobe Illustrator. “From paper dolls to online avatars, from animated cartoons to collectable characters, Illustrator has touched us all.”

According to the blog post, Illustrator had two major impacts on the world of graphic design. It gave designers tools that let them “focus on what they wanted to create rather than how to do it.” They attribute this success to the use of vector graphics that made it easier to draw objects.

The company also sees Illustrator as having a major role in the digital publishing revolution. It helped graphic design go from a 20,000 employee industry to millions of people being able to create designs and graphics for products from food to toys and everything in between.

For a blast from the past, here’s the original demo video for Adobe Illustrator 1.1 from 1987. It’s pretty awesome to see how far the program has come from 1987 to 2012 when I was using it to build graphics for newspapers.

Here's to 25 years, Adobe Illustrator. Hopefully we'll be celebrating its 50th anniversary when it helps graphic designers make holographic images.