In my last post I wrote about how the Macintosh SE/30 was to become my first personal computer. A good friend who was a computer enthusiast and an article in What Micro magazine (see above) had helped me ‘see the light’ and now my mind was made up.
Back in 1989 the price for this model was a staggering £3,420.00 for the basic SE/30 4/20. I knew even back then that I would need more RAM for graphic work and so the 4/40 version was going to be the dream machine for me. (by the way that’s 40 megabytes and not gigabytes).
Although the Macintosh shipped with an elegant operating system (version 6.0.3) and with the wonderful Hypercard software, see my earlier post. I needed far more if I was to begin to use this kit professionally for graphic design work.
Aldus PageMaker was the software for the digital page layout at the time and early versions of Illustrator and Freehand existed but the costs were mounting and besides, a new player had emerged – QuarkXpress.
I took a long look at Quark and decided this was the package for me and along with SuperPaint and WriteNow this became my first computer-based electronic studio. A few extra Postscipt Type 1 fonts and a laser printer for proofing and that was it.
I could undoubtably buy a top spec Mac and throw in all the industry standard design software and peripherals for the same price that I parted with back in ’89 but nothing will replace the thrill of working with this kit back in those days. After producing graphic work with conventional equipment for years this really was akin to magic.
In case anyone thinks that all this expense and time spent teaching myself new techniques and mastering software was just for fun, it wasn’t anything of the sort. It was survival.
At the time there was talk of the end of graphic designers and that compositors would end up doing all our work. In the end the reverse was true. Choosing the right kit in the late eighties and early nineties was a matter of survival and I personally know of companies who went to wall after choosing the wrong equipment.