Back in 1995, we launched the first issue of Computer Arts. And 17 years and 199 issues later we’re still going strong. To celebrate, we’ve compiled what we think are 200 of the best design moments within our lifetime. Do you agree?
01 THE LAUNCH OF COMPUTER ARTS
December 1995: The first issue of Computer Arts is a hit, looking at software and hardware for people passionate about creating imagery using a Mac or PC, and showing them how to do it. The striking cover image here relates to one of the main features – a quirky guide to image manipulation.
02 NEVILLE BRODY AT THE ROYAL COLLEGE
Internationally known, thanks to his work on UK style magazines The Face and Arena, Neville Brody oversees a redesign of The Times as head of Research Studios. He designs numerous typefaces in his illustrious career, and in 2011 is appointed head of the Communication Art & Design department at the Royal College of Art, London.
03 JEREMYVILLE X COMPUTER ARTS
The eclectic Australian illustrator has inspired fellow creatives worldwide with a style reminiscent of old Disney and Popeye cartoons, picture books and the California low-brow scene. Today his repertoire includes T-shirts, bags, trainers, toys and work for outstanding clients including Computer Arts. He creates our cover in June 2006.
04 TRAINSPOTTING POSTER DESIGN
1996’s Trainspotting provides an influential book, film, soundtrack and attitude for the late 1990s. Part of this package, in terms of graphic design, is the movie’s promotional poster by Stylorouge. Simple and clean with monotone profile shots of each character offset by bright orange, and white line and type work, like the film itself, this poster attracts many imitators in the future.
05 SHEPARD FAIREY’S ‘HOPE’ POSTER
From drawing on his skateboard and making stickers bearing the face of Andre the Giant, Shepard Fairey becomes one of the most influential graphic designers in the world. Shrouded in controversy, his 2008 ‘Hope’ poster – a three-colour screenprint of Barack Obama – is hailed as one of the most effective political illustration in generations.
06 RIDING WITH WYLD STALLYONS
Pixelsurgeon founders Richard May and Jason Arber pool their talents once again, joining Chris Sayer to form moving image production house Wyld Stallyons in 2006. The following year they release their own short film, The Doll. May leaves, but the team grows to include six more directors, developing a veritable Who’s Who client list before closing its doors in 2012.
07 THE HEALING BRUSH TOOL
Photoshop’s layers panel changes the look and feel of digital illustration in the late 1990s, but with Photoshop 7 in 2002, image enhancement comes to the fore with the healing brush tool. By sampling the area around a blemish it can ‘heal’ a tear, fold, spot or wrinkle with a few clicks of the mouse. The application receives a new painting engine, too.
08 MYFONTS LEVELS THE PLAYING FIELD
Despite the democratisation of type thanks to FontLab and Fontographer, it’s difficult to really compete against the big foundries. MyFonts launches in 1999 and provides the answer: anyone can upload a font and sell it directly to designers. It also creates the innovative tool What The Font – scan and upload a piece of type and it’ll tell you what the font is.
09 FLASH ON THE BEACH
Flash maniacs from around the globe have been making the trek to Brighton in greater numbers every year since the founding of flash on the Beach by John Davey in 2006. Sometimes they leap into the sea once they get there, but most of their time is spent listening to inspiring creatives who share their flash design skills, ideas and more. in 2012 the event is rebranded.
10 SAGMEISTER’S COINS
Stefan Sagmeister, along with Joe Shouldice and Richard The, creates a huge mosaic in an Amsterdam square in September 2008. The phrase ‘obsessions make my life worse but my work better’ is written in different coins on the pavement, then left to the vagaries of Dutch life. Some try to steal the coins; others protect the artwork. Police eventually remove the installation.
11 PHOTOSHOP COMICS
During the 1990s, English artist Dave McKean redefines the way comic books can be created. He uses Photoshop to montage handmade elements, imagery and textures in his work on Neil Gaiman’s groundbreaking graphic novels, The Sandman.
12 DAVID BOWIE’S HEATHEN
In 2002, Jonathan Barnbrook turns to Priori, a typeface he co-designed, to create the album artwork for David Bowie’s Heathen. It fits perfectly with the religious/ anti-religious theme used in the work, alongside a slightly supernatural-looking photo of the singer.
13 HEAD, HEART AND HIPS BY BIG ACTIVE
2005’s The Big Active Book of Sex sees an array of the designers and illustrators signed with this creative agency collaborating on 208 visually charged pages that explore seductive and sexy commercial artwork, including bespoke images for the book.
14 VAULT49 MOVES TO NEW YORK
Having established a groundbreaking visual style combining illustrative and photographic elements with vibrant colours, Jonathan Kenyon and John Glasgow take their creative practice across the ocean in February 2004 for continued success in the US.
15 :PHUNK STUDIO’S CA COVER
Classmates Alvin Tan, Melvin Chee, Jackson Tan and William Chan form the Singapore-based collective in December 2005 and rocket from being teenagers pushing the parameters of their software to the rock stars of the entire Asian design scene.
16 THE FACE: RIP
After 24 years, legendary British style mag The Face finally closes up shop in May 2004. It was a vehicle for trendsetting type expert Neville Brody from 1981 to 1986 when he designed and art-directed the title.
17 PETER SAVILLE DESIGNS SUEDE’S COMING UP AND PULP’S THIS IS HARDCORE
Having been the key designer at Factory Records in the 1980s, Peter Saville’s influence on the look of Britpop in the 1990s includes his striking yellow and black cover for Suede’s Coming Up in 1996, followed by the artwork for Pulp’s This Is Hardcore in 1998.
18 MARK PORTER FOR THE GUARDIAN
In May 2005, with Mark Porter leading the way, the Guardian’s new look is one of the most influential newspaper redesigns of all time. He changes it to a smaller format – the Berliner, brings larger colour photography to the fore, and commissions Schwarz and Barnes to create its typeface.
19 TOY STORY INSPIRES 3D REVOLUTION
John Lassetter’s dream of creating a feature film entirely digitally puts Pixar on the map in November 1995, and soon it becomes one of the most influential production companies in the world, leading the way in character design, 3d animation and visual effects.
20 IPAD SAYS “TOUCH ME”
In April 2010, wonderful screen resolution and iPad’s multi-touch functionality brings a new layer of possibilities to UX design for digital designers. for everyone else, the iPad changes how we consume media from films to games, music and more.
21 HELLO AIRSIDE, GOODBYE AIRSIDE
Founded in a London basement by three creatives with their Macs, Airside proves the perfect definition of a design studio in the digital age. While old-school agencies and production houses do things big and expensive, Nat Hunter, Fred Deakin and Alex Maclean offer their clients efficiency without scrimping on creativity. Well known for its collaboration with Deakin’s band Lemon Jelly, the studio also does hugely successful work for Virgin Atlantic, Greenpeace, Sony and others. Set up in 1998, it nearly goes bust a few times with the industry’s ups and downs, but the team finally part ways, tearfully, in March 2012.
22 DIGITAL EXCELLENCE WITH AUTUMN WHITEHURST
Few mainstream publications realise the potential of digital illustration until Autumn Whitehurst comes along in 2002. Her fashion imagery proves to art directors that they can employ digital artists to craft auras and sensations that the camera can’t capture. Sleeker silks, smoother skins and shinier sparkles – we take the road to hyper-reality.
23 COMETH THE IMAC
Computers need to look better, and Apple knows it – so British product designer Jonathan Ive is hired. With a futuristic 1960s plastic look and feel, the iMac replaces beige and black boxes in 1998 with curvaceous, colourful, translucent machines that hark back to the Mac Classic with their all-in-one form. Today’s iMac is the staple of studios all over.
24 AND IT’S BYE BYE TO FLASH?
In 2011, Adobe announces that it will stop developing the Flash Player for mobile devices. “HTML5 [is] the best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms,” the company says in a press release. Of course it doesn’t mean Flash as an authoring platform is dead, however. In fact, far from it…
25 CRAIG WARD’S WORDS
British typographer Craig Ward inspires a new wave of creativity in 2009 by constructing letterforms out of just about anything: horses, people, shards of glass, torn paper – you name it. He also forms pictures of just about anything using type. Jessica Hische, Steven Bonner and a whole range of other creatives have joined in with this reassessment of letterforms.