February 18, 2008

Meet Adobe Illustrator (1987)

As promised a couple of weeks ago, I’ve uploaded a copy of the VHS tape that shipped in the box with Illustrator 1.0, hosted by company co-founder/president/Illustrator developer John Warnock:

Many thanks to Andrew Keith Strauss for digitizing the tape. Of the video Dr. Warnock writes, “That video demo tape was shot live, with no editing. We didn’t have video production tools at that time, and we didn’t want to pay for a professional to do it, so I did the demonstration.” It’s fun to contrast this tape with the Illustrator 88 video made just a year later.

Posted by John Nack at 4:44 PM on February 18, 2008


  • Nathan — 6:13 PM on February 18, 2008

    OMG!! Baby Illy!!

  • M Gomez — 5:30 AM on February 19, 2008


  • jimhere — 7:10 AM on February 19, 2008

    That’s pretty impressive. Toolbar to the left, Pen Tool icon hasn’t changed in 20 years, an undo function. It’s like science fiction. Hopefully today’s promos would use better background music.
    [What, you’re not feelin’ the faux-Steamroller? ;-) –J.]

  • George Penston — 10:06 AM on February 19, 2008

    This really takes me back (and makes me feel old). I remember loving how Illustrator felt at the time. It just had a fine-touch about it. The bezier curves took some time to get used to but this application was one of my favorites. And running it on my SE/30, it screamed. I also loved the idea of spec’ing color on a B&W 13″ display.
    [Yeah, I remember begging my folks to buy a Mac back in the day, but just a 12″ color monitor cost something like $3,000. I finally talked them into an Apple IIgs–2.8MHz bad-boy that it was. –J.]

  • George Penston — 7:59 PM on February 19, 2008

    Sorry, I meant to say 9″ display which is kinda like design through a ship’s porthole. It wasn’t for a couple more years before I got to see PageMaker C.E. on those color monitors to grasp the idea of spec’ing color and seeing it on the screen. I worked at a service bureau so we had to have the fairly latest stuff.

  • Jay — 12:25 AM on February 20, 2008

    Wow that video must’ve taken forever to stream back then.:-P

  • Klaus Nordby — 10:01 AM on February 20, 2008

    Wow, John, thanks for posting this piece of great digital history! I first used Illustrator 88 in 1990, so I go way back, but I never saw or used 1.0 — nor this video with Dr. Warnock, who’s a hero of mine — he’s certainly one of the greatest inventor-businessmen of the 20th century, and a man whose beneficent impact on my own life just cannot be overstated.

  • john sterney — 5:53 PM on February 20, 2008

    What is depressing is that designers with a v1 of Illustrator can create art that I can’t do with version 11! :)

  • Johnnie Manzari — 7:55 PM on February 21, 2008

    Wow, thanks for posting this!

  • Blue Buffalo — 6:12 AM on February 22, 2008

    That’s a great vintage clip. Illustrator…you’ve come a long way baby!

  • Murrey Walker — 8:33 AM on August 18, 2009

    After Pagemaker 1.0, Adobe Illustrator 1.0, became my second software purchase.
    Wow have things changed! I can still remember using the Apple Imagewriter with a scanning device in place of the ribbon to scan logotypes, and then draw them in Illustrator.
    Thanks a million, Adobe!!!

  • D. Nathan Rice — 12:50 PM on December 03, 2009

    I’ve got a vintage Mac SE FDHD sitting in my office. Already have fun running the “Fish!” module of the After Dark screensaver, but would love to run an old version of Illustrator on it for some more old-skool kicks. Any idea where I can find a version that will run under System 6?

  • tanja — 4:02 AM on April 13, 2011

    hey, i’m desperately looking for the old illustrator icons. beginning with version 1.0.
    no problem with getting the icons from versions cs2 to present, but google couldn’t help me out with the older ones but a v10.0 icon in pretty bad quality.
    it would be really great if you could help me.
    thanks a lot!

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