As Adobe celebrates 10 years of Acrobat, pP takes a look at how PDF is used in packaging.
TEN YEARS AGO on June 16, Adobe Systems launched the first commercial release of Acrobat, and with it delivered the Portable Document Format (PDF). For years before, the company had used the program internally for mundane things like annotating memos and printing corporate phonebooks. Today, you can't be in the graphic communications business without touching something PDF every day.
Just how did this software—originally designed as an office tool—become so ubiquitous in the graphic arts industry? You might call it a brand loyalty thing. Because, according to Adobe Print Scientist Dr. James King, "...the market we were after was one we didn't have very good connections to. [But] our loyal [Illustrator and Photoshop] customers bought this thing that didn't really satisfy their needs. So we did the natural thing: We fixed it."
King made the statement in an interview with PlanetPDF Editor Kurt Foss published online June 10 ("Adobe's Jim King talks about first Acrobat and PDF decade," www.planetpdf.com). He was in the midst of preparing to address the inaugural European Seybold PDF Summit in Amsterdam, where some of our brethren across the water would be initiated into the PDF vision, some would celebrate the accomplishments of a decade, and others could no doubt reflect alongside King on what a "long, strange trip it's been."
A tenth anniversary is a good time to take a look into any technology or idea. At a glance, Acrobat and PDF are healthy and thriving in the printing industry. Adobe has partnered up with the graphic arts community and given us, in due time, the features we need. Third-party vendors have exploited the specification and built tools for PDF workflows. Trade groups are actively advocating and lobbying compliance.