I think it was Spring 1988. I was sitting in the university counselor’s office, looking over my course credits, double checking to see that I had not forgotten anything that would keep me from graduating the following semester. I had been so diligent in filling my schedules with the required courses, so I knew I was good to go. Well on my way to becoming a real live graphic designer.

As the counselor closed my file she looked at me and said, “You know the future of graphic design is computers.” {blink, blink} WTF? I had just spent the last 4 years saddled with a case full of t-squares, rapidiographs and amberlith. I could flesh out thumbnails flawlessly in Berol markers, spec type, and knew my way around a stat camera, perfecting my prepress skills. I was ready for the bull pin and had the second of my internships lined up for the summer. Did she just tell me the skills my father just paid thousands for me to achieve, were about to become invalid? I thought that she had lost her mind. For 4 years, I had specifically avoided any typing, or computer class not wanting to be pigeonholed into a life as a secretary.

Fast forward to exactly a year later, I had landed a job earlier that year as assistant art director in the marketing department of Southern Living Magazine. After 5 months of using all the design skills that I had learned in school, a hefty putty colored Macintosh computer was plopped onto my desk and I was told this is what we were going to be using now. It was my job, I dove right in. Granted it was years before design was completely moved disc to priniting plate. But that May 1989, my relationship with the Mac began despite the long held foolish idea that as an artist I would never have to go down the that technology path.

As I type this, I am using my 9th Macintosh computer that I have personally owned over the last 22 years. For every job that I have had, I have worked on macs. Short of the PC laptop that my husband owns, I have never owned anything other than a mac. Even through the dark days pre 1996 when it looked like the platform would become extinct, I had a mac. And it was not because of their smashing customer support, the selection of available software, and lord knows, it certainly was not because of the price. Straight up it was because, as that guidance counselor had predicted, there was an entire graphic design industry that operated completely on the mac platform– from the designer’s computer to the software that ripped the files to burn printing plates. Straight up, I had macs because I had to have macs.

But somewhere around 2001, Macintosh was beginning to become more than my workhorse. Internet lines were changing, software was changing and having a home computer was fast becoming as normal as having a phone. It was no longer just for the tech savvy. Apple’s move to create revolutionary entertainment devices that seamlessly integrated with the Macintosh home computer changed not only the way users sought entertainment, but actually changed the way industries produced that entertainment.

And it is no surprise every bit piece of technology that Apple produced from 1996 on was encased in really good looking industrial design. During it’s darkest days, one of the main industries that kept Apple afloat was the graphic design industry. They knew that the people setting style trends were their customers. So, damn it, if that is their target audience, then every new product that they put out better be pretty awesome. And it was awesome. Looking across the internet over the last 10 years, the first people to have the latest Apple technology nine times out of ten are those in the design industry(be is graphic, web, industrial, etc.) And I fully believe this is how Apple fostered a hipster reputation. The design industries is rife with hipsters. Designers use macs.

I tend to not want to blog about the death of public figures as a general rule. This is a personal blog. The death of Apple’s founder, Steve Jobs, is just straight up profoundly personal to me. I am deeply saddened by his death in a way fairly uncharacteristic for me personally. His computers were the tools I used in my 20 yr design career. His iphone, ipad, and laptop are tools I use not just for my everyday entertainment, but to operate my yarn business in an international market. His business savvy and determination is something to be admired, and while he was one of the richest men in the world, I never viewed him as anything less than a down to earth guy with some great ideas that revolutionized the way I work and live. I have heard him compared to a modern day Thomas Edison. I have to say that is exactly the icon status befitting of his legacy. On the news, there have been clips of his commencement speech to the Stanford 2005 graduating class. I am closing this post with that clip. Words to live by.