(by Emo Risaliti)
I started the profession of graphic designer in 1977 but I was born as a digital graphic designer with Aldus Freehand in 1990. I don’t remember if it was the version 1 or 2. Compared to FreeHand, Illustrator was unintuitive and complicated. One could only draw in keyline mode and the preview of the illustration was just a preview and one couldn’t intervened directly on the path in this mode of view. It didn’t color the tiff file - black&white (1 bit tff) or in shades of gray (gray tiff) - which Freehand could. It forced the graphic artist to color them in Photoshop and import them already colored in CMYK. This meant that the overall dimensions of the TIFF were dramatically increased in size especially those with a “high resolution". The already cumbersome images were also not attached but embedded in the files which created Illustrator files of gigantic proportions for the hardware capability of computers available at that time. To help understand the situation better at that time, I had a Macintosh at the top of the range, a 32MHZ (normal computers had 8 or 16 MHZ) with 8 megabytes of RAM (normal computers had 2-4) and 160 megabytes of hard disk (the normal computer had 20-40). You can easly understand that with the files created by and for Illustrator the resources of the computer would soon be insufficient. Illustrator did not have layers. It managed only small blocks of test. There was no way to create more than one page at a time. In fact, it still doesn’t. Moreover Illustrator did not recognize the Quickdraw language of the operating system used to print a draft. To be able to see a color or b&w proof it required specific expensive devices. Illustrator was, as a result, complicated, opulent, redundant and costly.
Therefore I am grateful and fond of Freehand because it was the intuitive alternative that freed my creativity from the commercial cage that software houses, like Adobe, had already imposed.
Adobe wants to kill a program that has helped thousands of graphic designers around the world to grow and has produced many beautiful artistic results. Not only this, it was Freehand which forced Adobe to improve Illustrator and over the years it included some features of Freehand but not its ease of use or the ability to manage the layout (a function deliberately left to Indesign, software born after Adobe’s acquisition of Aldus Pagemaker).
Adobe in this way is only feeding growing resentment in the graphic designer community who grew up with Freehand.
Adobe’s commercial coercion can force us to buy Illustrator but Adobe will never have my respect until they abandon this destructive monopolistic policy which limits and kills artistic freedom. Above all this narrow-minded marketing strategy doesn’t do it honor. This is not a behaviour of an enterprise which - with the invention of postscript - gave a fundamental, I could even say revolutionary, boost not only to the progress of technology but also to society as a whole.
I therefore ask Adobe to respect the community of graphic designers, while using much of its software, want to continue to be able to express our artistic inspiration with Freehand. By virtue of this I request to Adobe to resume the development of Freehand keeping its original philosophy of simplicity and intuitiveness leaving unaltered its characteristic of multiuse program. If the company plans make this impossible, leave at least its development to others.
I would like to see Steve Jobs, as a symbol of individual liberty to create, who began his wonderful adventure as an ally of Adobe, join in this request.
And I hope too that many other designer will join in this prayer.