09/12/2021

074 – Desktop publishing – 1985

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The digital revolution is far more significan’t than the invention of writing or even of printing.
Doug Engelbart

Paul Brainerd’s parents had a photographic business and as a keen photographer he earned his publishing spurs as editor of the University of Oregon’s newspaper where he learned about the business and technical aspects of printing and publishing.  While at the University of Minnesota studying journalism he worked on the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Brainerd joined Atex specialising in the computerisation of newspaper production and writing a word processing system but when Kodak bought Atex he moved on.

Learning of Apple’s plans for a laser printer he co-founded the Aldus Corporation to create what he was the first to call desktop publishing.

The company name was taken from a 15th century printer based in Venice – Aldus Pius Manutius the Elder.  He introduced inexpensive books, precursors of today’s paperbacks.  He also developed italic type and established the modern usage of the semicolon. A good choice of name then for a DTP business.

In July 1985 the Aldus Corporation launched its DTP package PageMaker.  It did not have the field to itself and was beaten to market by Boston Software releasing MacPublisher during 1984. 

MacPublisher lays claim to being the first DTP package   available.  Manhattan Graphics too launched a DTP package called Ready, Set, Go!  These programs allowed users to design, review and print pages using text and graphics.

When the Apple LaserWriter, Adobe Postscript and Aldus PageMaker were combined, desktop publishing became the killer app for the Apple Macintosh.  Only Apple could offer this full DTP solution.

1986 DTP was available as a home computer application with packages released for all the platforms.  Suddenly members of clubs and associations had the means to prepare professional bulletins, press releases, newsletters and brochures.

The first IBM PC package for DTP was Ventura Publisher in 1986, later to be acquired by Corel.

The whole DTP revolution was so powerful that the pre-press market inevitably had to bend and accommodate it.  Linotype was the first professional organisation to offer Postscript with its typesetting equipment, the others followed.

It became quite popular in the PC market to have a name beginning with A
– Acorn, Adobe, Aldus, Amiga, Apple, Atari… 

The five letter length proved popular too
– Canon, Cisco, Corel, Eidos, Epson, Intel, Lycos, Quark, Psion, Sharp, Skype, Xerox, Yahoo!…

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