« CSInsider | Design - The Appearance Panel in Adobe Illustrator | Main | CSInsider | Design - The Blob Brush Tool in Adobe Illustrator CS4 »

Meet Adobe Illustrator 88 (1987) - History lessons

I finally got my hands on the video of which I talk so much about in my presentations: John Warnock in person, presenting Adobe Illustrator 88 back in 1987 [thanks to Terry Hemphill for sending it to me]. For our "younger" users, John Warnock, together with Chuck Geschke, was one of the founders of Adobe Systems.

The concept behind Illustrator 88 was so new that it needed a video tape to explain what it did and how to use it. For example, how would you have known how to use the Pen Tool, had you never seen one before? How would you have known about direction lines and anchor points? The Pen Tool is now available in most graphics applications, and we almost take it for granted.
Check out the computer he is using, and how he talks about a "scanner hooked to the Macintosh"; it's a real treat and a lot of memories for me. This was the beginning people! John Warnock wanted a way to draw PostScript, and Illustrator was his answer. And look at where we are now as far as vector graphics are concerned.
The "Tutorial" part of the video is extremely interesting as John Warnock takes us through operations such as opening the application itself, and shows all of the available tools and how they work.

This is the full 34 minute version of it (divided into five parts). You can find the whole series on my YouTube Channel, or click on the links below to access individual parts directly.

Meet Adobe Illustrator 88

  • Part 1/5 - Introduction and Demo on how to create art using a scanned drawing as a template. [00:06:20]
  • Part 2/5 - Demo on how to create a drawing from scratch without scanned template. [00:07:27]
  • Part 3/5 - The Adobe Illustrator Tutorial. John Warnock starts with: "Now is the time for you to learn how to use Adobe Illustrator". [00:07:25]
  • Part 4/5 - The Adobe Illustrator Tutorial (continued). [00:05:47]
  • Part 5/5 - The Adobe Illustrator Tutorial (continued). [00:06:36]
Note: I have corrected the audio with Adobe Soundbooth CS4, to remove the hiss and make it slightly louder.

If you want to know more about the history of Adobe Systems, the book "Inside the Publishing Revolution: The Adobe Story" by Pamela Pfiffner is a great read. When I got it back in 2003, I read it all in one go. Go figure...

Enjoy and make sure to comment. Anyone among those who actually watched the original tape?


Hello Rufus,
this is great, thanks so much for sharing.

Talk about a blast from the past! This is great seeing how much it has changed. Also, we can now stream these videos online ;-) so no more "TAPE."

Thanks a million for this Rufus,
Takes me back d;-)=

I guess this really dates me to say, but I remember those days very fondly. Illustrator was such a radical leap forward from MacDraw, and look how far it's all come since then. Thanks for the post and the trip down memory lane.

Thanks, Rufus! I saw this video tape here in Oslo in 1990, when Illu88 was the reigning Mac vector tool. Around that time I also tried CorelDraw 2, which was in some ways more advanced than Illu88: it could easily punch a real hole in a circle, like in an "O" -- instead of the weird, complex path operations we had to do in Illu88!

Some of us even remember Illustrator before Illustrator 88. :)

Thanks for sharing!

This is brilliant a real blast from the past. As a printer and designer I really appreciate the time you have taken to shear it with us. Thanks.

Talk about a blast from the past.
I'm embarassed to say I remember all this!
I used corel draw, photoshop and Quark .zero...
Thanks for putting all this together, it must have taken a while. Much appreciated. And enjoyed.

Well, thank you Jo for passing by. ;-)

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)