is a blog about design, technology and culture written by Khoi Vinh, and has been more or less continuously published since December 2000 in New York City. Khoi is currently Principal Designer at Adobe, Design Chair at Wildcard and co-founder of Kidpost. Previously, Khoi was co-founder and CEO of Mixel (acquired by Etsy, Inc.), Design Director of The New York Times Online, and co-founder of the design studio Behavior, LLC. He is the author of “Ordering Disorder: Grid Principles for Web Design,” and was named one of Fast Company’s “fifty most influential designers in America.” Khoi lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with his wife and three children. Refer to the advertising and sponsorship page for inquiries.+
My first thought when I heard this morning that Adobe has agreed to buy Macromedia was: poor Freehand, always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Though I long ago stopped using that drawing program in favor of Illustrator, it was nice to know that it was still kicking around. Freehand was my first introduction to the Macintosh, and so I carry a quiet little torch for it. For me, anyway, if Adobe decides to finally kill it, it will be like the end of an era. Of course, there’s the possibility that the program’s owners — who licensed Freehand first to Aldus and, when that company was bought by Adobe many years ago (notice a pattern here?), then to Macromedia — will valiantly try to find yet another new publisher. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.
Anyway, regarding the merger itself: I’ll just echo everyone else I know and utter an incredulous “Holy shit!” as an official reaction. This is a huge deal, and there are all kinds of implications for the design community, both good and bad. I won’t dwell on any of the negatives here, but positive things I’m looking forward to include: some long needed parity between Macromedia’s products and Adobe’s user interfaces, the possibility for more serious, design-savvy business tools to edge Microsoft out of the digital publishing market altogether, a marriage of PDF and Flash technologies, and of course whatever satirical take on this marriage the Internet manages to serve up over the next few days.
Also, here’s hoping that Apple is smart enough to treat both Adobe and Macromedia — neither of whom have been incredibly enthusiastic embracers of Mac OS X technologies — with extra special care and attention starting immediately. They’d be foolish not to.+