26
Sep

The Desktop Publishing Revolution, circa 1990

macquadra950

Just the other day I was talking with some finance guys about my new business "From the Creator's Hand" which is my faith-based graphics venture. So the conversation turned to my career history and what I'm currently doing and how I started. Like they say in the movies "It all started way back when..." (fade to a vignette of the past). 🙂

In the year of our Lord 1984, I had just finished my Associates degree in Commercial art at New York Technical College, Brooklyn, NY and started my first graphic design job in New York City. It was a very busy art studio on 41st and Lexington in midtown. I was using all the skills I had learned in college plus the new real world abilities I needed to know in this fast-paced high-pressure environment. We used drafting boards for paste up mechanicals, stat cameras for images, Rapidiograph pens for lines (a REAL craftsman skill) and ordered type from typography companies. Then I started School of Visual Arts at night to complete my BFA. The everything changed!

Who remembers Apple's breakthrough commercial in the 1984 Superbowl? The IBM Big Blue dreary conformity audience listening to the a Big Brother brow-beating tyrant on the screen - then the full-color Olympic athlete runs up the main isle and hurls a sledgehammer into the screen, breaking it! Then fade in the words "With the introduction of the Apple MacIntosh 1984 won't be like "1984"...That's exactly what happened. Enter the desktop revolution! But desktop publishing didn't start until the late 80's - early 90's.

It happened that I was still in college when the Mac desktop publishing (DTP) went from "The crappy ascii printout will never replace REAL artwork" to " DTP is the future!" with everybody rushing to make DTP hardware and software the latest cutting edge output. At first computers scared me...I had trained so hard on the conventional art creation. Then I saw one of the first computer games - global nuclear war! Boom!, there went my fear, because now I was fascinated by computers. It was just a simple USA state grid with missiles shooting from the east and west over the country, but it map computers fun!

So, I was able to convince my boss to move into the computer age. Then came the price tag. I opted for the biggest and the best to stave off upgrades as long as I could - the Mac Quadra 950. With a whopping processor speed of 33 Mhz, a 1GB hard drive, and no RAM it retailed for $7200.  Each 32MB RAM module cost more than your standard laptop nowadays...$1500! 4x 32MB RAM for a total of 128MB caost almost as much as the computer - $6000! Today computers come with 4GB, 6GB, or 8GB standard! Add the $2200 20" monitor (CRT, ofc - big as a house) and another $2500 for a 2MB graphics card; and your software - QuarkXpress, Photoshop, Illustrator, fonts, and utilities - all for a price tag of $25,000! The HD was SCSI, still almost as fast as USB 1 and able to chain as many devices as you wanted.

There are so many "I remember when" stories about the early age of computers - AOL CD coasters and terrible service; costs of hardware, no "www", no css -only pure html websites, the battle of the browsers, and so on. These days ask people if they remember the days before Facebook and Twitter. lol But through it all I have grown and am still learning. There's a lot of cool things on the web. I happen to be sad that Flash is in decline due to mobile smart phone and digital tablets.

The Bible tells us in the last days knowledge will increase dramatically, and you can see that all around. Change that used to take years now happens almost daily. I strive to keep up, but no one human can know it all. That's why we need the Creator - still.

Thanks for reading, if you made it all the way through. 🙂

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