September 6, 2009

Illustrator, the forgotten one

Ask people about the key to their successes and they'll often reply with quips like "I never forgot where I came from" or "I remember what it was like when I grew up", or "I owe those who helped me get started". At the same time, we all know how sometimes, things are seemingly overlooked - where credit is given to one person when maybe someone else was really the driving force behind the success.

Illustrator was Adobe's first shrinkwrap software, and along with PostScript, helped Adobe be a part of what would become an industry-changing event with the advent of Desktop Publishing. Yet as someone who has pretty much spent a lifetime standing by Illustrator, I've always felt that Illustrator somehow was always overshadowed by applications like Photoshop, Flash, or Acrobat. There are obvious reasons for this, and as I get older myself, it's easy to see that the younger kids are "cool" and get all the attention.

However, I always thought that Adobe, as a company, would always recognize the fact that Illustrator played a large part in the success of the company - and that Illustrator still plays a large part of that success today. Well, I was in for a shock when I happened upon a document on Adobe's website today. The document is entitled "Adobe Fast Facts" and can be found on the About Adobe part of the company's website. The document, two pages in length, gives a quick synopsis of the company. In a section labeled "Flagship Products", Illustrator is a no-show. In fact, the Illustrator product isn't mentioned anywhere in the document at all.

Don't get me wrong - if Adobe's intention was to list a few "flagship" products, I'd be fine with that. But included in this list of "flagship" products are Photoshop, InDesign, Premiere Pro, After Effects, Flash, and Dreamweaver. Do you really mean to tell me that Illustrator isn't "flagship" enough to be included in that list? Especially when you consider that Illustrator was influential in those applications being on that list at all? Illustrator is practically in every suite that Adobe sells. That isn't flagship?

I'm just sayin'.

Where's the respect? SIGH.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

couldn't agree more, mordy
adobe's lack of good, attentive "support" over the past few versions is a glaring example of their attitude. they wiped the competition off the map and are sailing along with no worries.

patrick foster said...

Especially considering DW and Flash weren't even invented at Adobe. I'm with you... where's the love?

Scott said...

That's a pretty egregious oversight to not include AI in the list of flagship Adobe products. I'm hoping this was somebody's goof, and not intentional. I mean, what would be the point in not including Illustrator? Doesn't make sense.

Franck said...

But if they had added Illustrator, the bottom wouldn't have been aligned... Well, it's not that it's particularly aligned, but at least they did their pdf with inDesign, that's a goot start :)

iddeco said...

Let's face it - Illustrator isn't a flagship product anymore for Adobe, at least in terms of popularity among the non-designer public.

As I see it, this PDF is a sort of press release, and isn't oriented towards the design community.

Still, I wouldn't say they have completely forgotten Illustrator. At Adobe, they do love it, at least so much they spared its life and didn't replace it with Freehand... Because they did so with GoLive, for instance.

I've been an Illustrator user for 13 years now, and
I love it. But I recognise its lack of appeal outside the design world: Photoshop is always all over the news, PDF is the format everyone uses, InDesign is the DTP key, and Flash and Dreamweaver are the software that create those cool webs all around.

¿And llustrator? It has become a sort of a nice plugin for InDesign, Photoshop, and Flash...

Tony Harmer said...

I agree - and I can't help thinking that of all the products in the range that I can think of that illustrator is the only one that has the name Adobe as part of its file extension and mnemonic (I'm not counting AIR).

Bob Levine said...

I gotta think it was an oversight by the individual who wrote it. And of course, it was proofread by someone with no knowledge of the products or company but who found six missing commas and the misuse of that and which. :)

the Count said...

What a shame, Illustrator recieved far more "attention" form the Adobe dev teams when Freehand was still alive. No professional designer would really dream of turning to Corel Draw and so it seems Adobe don´t fell the need to "invest" in not only the first but IMHO the best App they ever built...

Anonymous said...

After Effect was a buy out from Cosa

Esz said...

I agree Mordy! Illustrator has always rocked and its a bit annoying to see it's not as 'cool' as some of the other apps.

Bob said...

Been around since pasting type gallies and inking with a rapidograph pen, when I first saw Illustrator at a trade show in 1987, I WAS FLOORED. Coughed up the $500 bucks right there. This is the product that turned the corner on "DTP", from being a bitmapped toy to turning out professional results, and in my mind, this will always be Adobe's Flagship product . . . along with Postcript, it's what put them on the map. They were so proud of AI 1, Warnock even included a video tape of himself demoing the product.

stanosmith said...

Illustrator is by far my favorite app for design. But I'm kind of glad it's not the mainstream. There are those that know it's the best app in the world, and we know who we are. It's kind of like movie magic. People aren't sure what's going on behind the curtain, but they love the result. Illustrator is for the elite designers who know scalability is more important than "grunge brushes", since we have grunge brushes that we can scale whenever we want and, hey look, no pixelation. Mordy, you rock, and to all 11 people who posted, you guys rock too!

ewrew said...

Illustrator for web design > I use it almost everyday at work. I have tried fireworks and photoshop but always keep coming back to AI > I like using it and am familiar with it. :)

sebaq said...

I agree absolutly. Postscript tecnology with AI
is base, and if you smooth with that almost everything is "visualable".
AI user from version 2, tasted other tools... but Ilustrator rules!
Otherwise Mordy, thanks for publishing books an other stuff to learn from!

Michel said...

Well, OK, and where's Adobe Fireworks?? :-)

Fireworks is not a flagship product, I admit, but it is still a powerful graphic design editor, and (as I could say), for me it combines the best of "both worlds" -- vector and bitmap. It was acquired by Adobe when they bought Macromedia (along with Flash and Dreamweaver). Why mention Dw but not Fw?...

It also ships with most of the CS suites (which is good).

I use more Fireworks in my daily design life (more than Ai, I mean), and this is due to the fact that:
-- I design for screen mostly,
-- Fw is more intuitive for me than Ai (or Ps).

What I see now is that Fw was again not mentioned... along with Ai, of course...

Is Fireworks powerful enough? Yes! Is it well-promoted enough? No... :(

Heinrich said...

A serious oversight if it is that. I've never been able to use Freehand because Illustrator just felt "so right" :)

Martin Schaefer said...

And where's Adobe Director? Director was the foundation, THE flagship, of Macromedia and its success was overwhelming back in the 90s.

thirtyfour said...

Ai users, you may want to check out the following site and see one possible future that may come to pass.

http://freefreehand.org/

Cheers

Mark

Anonymous said...

Seems a bit like Layers attitude to move all the user forums to NAPP. I think it is because Illustrator is harder to define, and has a steeper learning curve.
Anyone learning photoshop will feel even at lesson one that wow I have use for this, and a general empowerment. While in Illustrator often the first feelings are that there is so much to learn before one getts started. Now Many of the ways tool works in all programs have evolved from illustrator. It is those that actually had to do computer graphics the comand line way that remember what a revolution it was to work with GUI and not be bound by coordinate design.