Throughout his working life, John Warnock has always dreamed of digitizing the printing press. The employee at the US computer company Evans & Sutherland has been developing this since the early 1970s. After moving to Xerox, he continues to work on a technical solution. Xerox is known for being the first company to mass produce copiers in the early 1960s. Here John Warnock meets Charles Geschke. He is enthusiastic about the idea of developing a universal format that will allow books and magazines to be laid out on a computer in the future. However, Xerox sees no potential in this. Therefore, the two visionaries left Xerox and founded their own company, Adobe Systems Inc., in December 1982.
Adobe Systems Inc. has been around for over 40 years. The PDF format, which has been around since 1993, is also part of the success.
Postscript is the basis for later PDF
Now the development is picking up speed. Incidentally, the company’s name comes from Adobe Creek, which runs behind John Warnock’s home. In the meantime, the format the developer is working on has also been given a name: Postscript.
A first version appeared in 1984. This marked nothing less than a revolution in the areas of printing and layout. Since the invention of modern book printing by Johannes Gutenberg in the 15th century, the printing of books, newspapers and magazines has involved a lot of manual work over the centuries. In the course of time there are presses that work better and better. However, this still takes a lot of time. Quick changes to the layout are hardly possible.
Apple wants to buy Adobe
In the future, the computer will help with the layout with the postscript format from Adobe. During development, Adobe attaches great importance to a device-independent solution. That means Postscript is a universal format that always delivers the same print image on different computers.
This is also the reason why the format is spreading so quickly. A certain Steve Jobs from the computer manufacturer Apple once again demonstrated his flair for revolutionary trends in the mid-1980s. That’s why the Apple boss is making a purchase offer to Adobe.
However, John Warnock and Charles Geschke politely decline the purchase price of five million US dollars. However, the two listen to the Adobe investors and grant Apple a stake in the company. Apple also gets a five-year license to use Postscript.
Also read: The Apple myth about Steve Jobs – chic, expensive, cult!
How does postscript work?
Basically, Postscript provides the basis for what is known as desktop publishing. All graphic elements and fonts are designed as scalable vector graphics so that graphics and printed pages can be displayed without loss on various output devices. Thanks to Postscript, these elements can now be resized to fit the page format. The ingenious thing: Regardless of the size, the graphics or text remain pin-sharp.
At the same time, Postscript still serves as an interface for printers. Printers are controlled via this format. The postscript driver then creates a printout that has the same layout as on the screen.
No PDF without Postscript
does this seem familiar to you? Correct. Nothing else happens when you print out a PDF document. PDF stands for Portable Document Format and also comes from Adobe. In 1993 the PDF is presented to the public. Without the development of Postscript, there would be no PDF either.
Apple in particular is making sure that the new and universal standard for documents is spreading quickly on its Mac computers. However, Adobe also supplies the appropriate software for Windows computers, for example the free Acrobat Reader. At that time only a few private users could afford the main program Acrobat. The software can be used to create and edit PDF files, among other things.
When it comes to software for creative people, Adobe is now one of the leading companies. Photoshop, for example, was released in 1990, before the introduction of the PDF. The program is still considered to be the photo editing program par excellence.
By the way: James Cameron also uses Adobe Photoshop for his Avatar film in 2009 to create concept studies and to design the textures of his mythical creatures. The director also relies on the services of the software for the second Avatar film in 2022.
Also read: Adobe discontinues Flash Player – now properly remove it from the computer
Adobe one of the 100 most valuable stock exchange companies
Adobe has been offering the Premiere Pro program for creative videographers since the 1990s. InDesign appeared at about the same time. This Adobe software has become the standard program in the field of layout.
Adobe’s rise continues unabated. The company does not develop everything itself. Adobe is consolidating its position through clever acquisitions. This was also the case in 2005, when the company took over the software manufacturer and main competitor Macromedia for 3.6 billion US dollars, an unimaginably large sum of money at the time. With the takeover, Adobe is driving the Flash standard forward. Adobe Flash plays an essential role in embedding videos or other interactive elements in the 2000s.
The days of high-priced Adobe programs have been history since the 2010s at the latest. The entire Adobe software catalog is moving to the cloud. A monthly fee is charged to use the programs. Thanks to the Adobe Creative Cloud, many more people are now able to use the creative programs on their home computers.
Adobe recently made headlines with another acquisition. The Figma acquisition will cost the company $20 billion. In return, Adobe gets the company’s accumulated knowledge in one fell swoop. Which specializes in cloud-based design software. With the acquisition of Figma, Adobe hopes to further advance the collaboration of workgroups via the cloud in real time. With annual sales of almost 16 billion US dollars, Adobe is now one of the 100 most valuable stock exchange companies in the world.