Tag Archives: SE/30

Apple of my eye. Part 2

What Micro Magazine April 1989

What Micro Magazine April 1989

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).

Macintosh SE/30

Macintosh SE series

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.

My Hypercard software disk

My Hypercard software disk

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.

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Apple of my eye. Part 1

Juiced up Apple

Juiced up Apple

I came across the April 1989 edition of What Micro while moving things around from our studio to a second office we have recently acquired. At first I couldn’t work out why I had kept this dusty old magazine (although I’m pretty bad about hoarding stuff, just ask my wife). Then I caught a glimpse of the small image on the top left hand corner. A picture of a Macintosh SE/30. Even today I can still feel the nerd-like excitement that the image gave me. An ‘anorak’ moment.

With the news that Steve Jobs had just resigned as CEO at Apple this little piece of synchronicity got me thinking.

What Micro article on the Macintosh SE/30

Flicking the magazine open I realized this was the original review that I had read on the SE/30 which had convinced me I needed to go out and get one. Back in those days I worked – like most others in our business – with a drawing boards, markers, pencils and all the traditional instruments of the graphic designer, including the ubiquitous Cow Gum. I had heard speculation of course but remained convinced that these new-fangled machines were strictly for computer geeks and not for me.

Then while visiting a friend who was interested in computers, he even built his own! Now that was impressive, particularly back in those days. (If you’re reading this you’ll know who you are). He also happened to own a Mac Plus. It was an epiphany. The all-in-one design, the graphical interface, the mouse. I was convinced – this was the future and I had to be a part of it.

More next time…


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