We bid farewell to the Adobe co-founder and creator of the PDF format
The Adobe story began in December 1982, when Charles Geschke joined John Warnock in founding the company which would make design software like Acrobat, Illustrator, Premiere Pro, and Photoshop a reality.
Last Friday, on April 17, Geschke passed away at the age of 81.
Before founding Adobe Charles Geschke and John Warnock worked together at Xerox Parc. The pair’s first collaboration was on PostScript language, the programming code most commonly used today to tell printers what to print and how. However, Xerox Parc rejected their proposal and didn’t want to market it. “Technology is like fish, if you handle them soon they get bad," Geschke said about the experience, which inspired him and Warnock to leave Xerox Parc and forge their own path.
That’s how Adobe was born. The company took its name from the stream that ran behind Warnock’s house and the original logo was designed by Warnock’s wife, Marva Mullins Warnock, who was a graphic artist.
The first challenge the new company tackled was the limitations of dot matrix printers, which were common at the time. Using printed dots to create shapes, the printers struggled to precisely print typography and images. However, thanks to the PostScript code that had been rejected at Xerox, the pair were able to create a solution for the next generation of printers. It was their first of many successes.
Photoshop is undoubtedly the company’s most important product. Since 1989 it has been the world’s leading photo editing program, a must-have for designers because of the creative possibilities it offers.
Four years after releasing Photoshop, Adobe Systems launched a PDF (Portable Document Format) desktop publishing software created by Geschke, which soon became the new global standard for text documents.
The Adobe family also includes Illustrator. This program is different from their other offerings because of its vector system, which makes it possible to scale images to any size and format. It was officially launched in January of 1987.
InDesign is another of Adobe's oldest products. It was created in 1999, and over the last 20 years it has become one of the most popular desktop publishing applications for designers and editors around the world. Since its launch, it has stood out from the competition thanks to its advanced tools.
Creative Cloud, The Adobe Collection
Another of the company's important releases is Creative Cloud, which groups together more than 20 applications and services that can be used for photography, graphic design, video editing, web development, and more. It works on a monthly subscription system that allows people to access either a specific number of apps or the entire collection. One of the main advantages is that because everything is in the cloud it allows you to access your apps while using different devices.
A Student's Advice to Adobe's Co-founder
In the early 1970s, when Geschke was a mathematics university professor, a student convinced him that there was a great future in computing. In 1972, Geschke received his doctorate in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University, intent on the goal of finding a way to democratize the industry through innovation.
Adobe's founders never lost sight of their founding goal: to digitalize the world of graphic art. At the time when they founded their company, no professional was using computers, so this decision was also a risky one. But it’s clear that the risk was worth it, and that Adobe owes much of its impact to Charles Geschke’s forward-thinking.
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