The Adobe Illustrator Story

When the then young company, Adobe, decides to expand its product portfolio by selling the Illustrator software, the move proves to be pivotal and launches a new zeitgeist for the world of designers and graphic artists.

Back in the days of French curves, rulers, compasses and rubbing down of texts from a print transfer paper, the process to create camera-ready art was really time intensive, where everything had to be measured out and spec’d, including all the copy. It would be considered a very good day for an artist if the Rapidograph pen didn’t explode or clump up on the page, so the process doesn’t have to start all over again.

After Adobe set the tone for the print industry with PostScript, as a universal description of how to print a page, John Warnock, the cofounder, realized there were no graphics engines that existed to give artists the ability to create arbitrary graphics. Marva Warnock, wife of John Warnock, intimates the reason why he invented Illustrator was because she couldn’t “ink” – of course he meant that in an endearing way.

Although the vision for Illustrator was grand, it was far from perfect when it first came out, just like any other product from a software company. After Adobe started work on the software in 1985 and went into beta, John demonstrated its ability to replicate a hand drawn flower, which was perceived as revolutionary.

Many were initially reticent of their skepticism and some artists even claimed that Illustrator would ruin the industry if anyone could do the same thing that they could. But as the interviewees recount their personal experiences with the earlier versions of the software, it becomes clear why Illustrator has become the de facto tool-of-choice for artists and designers.

Cast & Crew

Producer, Director: Ami Capen
Executive Producers: Jeffrey Severtson, Terry Hemphill, Dan Cowles
Co-Director, DOP: Christian Bruno
Editors: Ami Capen, Louanne Ponder
Associate Producer, Music Supervisor: Kristin Tieche
Key Interviewees: John Warnock, Marva Warnock, Ron Chan, Bert Monroy, Dylan Roscover, Jessica Hische
Post-Production Supervisor, Additional Editor: Christine Steele
Commissioned For: Adobe Systems Incorporated

Ratings & Review

Insightful interviews of contributors, influencers and benefactors of Adobe Illustrator, as it spawns a new breed of designers.
Very Good
About The Author
- Joon Shin has always been an advocate for independent films and is a Co-Founder & Partner for Content of Characters, Board Director for both Dosha Pops and In The Lights PR, and serves on the Board of Advisors for TriplAgent.