Tonight I made a logo. This isn’t a new thing for me, but it has to be said, this is not something I’ve done in a while. I used to spend a considerable amount of my time playing around with logos, themes, designing graphics, building complementary colour schemes and the like. In a previous life, this was, indeed, part of my working life. This was one of the parts of my working life that I did quite enjoy. It was a time where I could be a little creative, play around with my graphics program of choice, kick back and hack away.
Back in the day (all those years ago…) at the relative dawn of the internet, there weren’t that many really good programs that complemented each-other in such a way that ensured the workflow both worked and flowed. The packages of choice, for a good number of my peers at that time (that time, was around the turn of the millennium, by the way) was made by a now little-known company called Macromedia. You might have heard of one of their more popular legacies… Flash.
Yes, Flash (which a number of years ago was used extensively for creating those rich, colourful, flowing, interactive web experiences we now take for granted) was not actually the invention of Adobe. Back in perhaps the mid 2000s, Adobe bought-out Macromedia and all their rather nifty tools.
There were a couple of notable tools that were a part of my (mostly) everyday workflow:
Dreamweaver and Fireworks. I’d not be a bit surprised if any person reading this was in some way familiar with Dreamweaver. It was a very popular product that enabled a great number of ‘common folk’ to make websites. This (lest we forget) was a time before things like WordPress. A time before a thousand websites that purported to be able to build you a website in just a few clicks. A time when, if you wanted to build something for the internet, you actually had to do a bit of work. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking WordPress – it’d be a little self-defeating if I did since this blog is built using it, but before frameworks like this existed, you really had to work quite hard at it.
Now, to be fair, I out-grew Dreamweaver after a couple of years, and moved on to do most of my actual coding in proper IDEs with PHP etc, but that’s perhaps for another blog post. The package I mentioned before, as being part of my daily workflow, was Fireworks.
Fireworks, you’d be forgiven for having not heard of it before, was the gem of Macromedia’s line of web-focused productivity tools. Fireworks was a weird (but really, really well positioned) combination of vector graphics and raster graphics editing program. It allowed you to draw things using curves, splines, vectors and whatnot, but these lossless lines, had a bitmap element to them, which scaled up or down to whichever output you were creating for. It’s difficult to describe if you’re not familiar with this sort of technology, but believe me, it was a genius product in a niche that no-one realised was there.
I’m a recent new subscriber of Adobe Creative Cloud. This monthly payment allows me to have access to a huge array of graphics and video production tools. It’s the de-facto package and has been for any number of years for aspiring Youtubers and professional artists alike. When I signed up for Adobe CC, I did it knowing that I’d have to learn how to use new packages. I was fully prepared to learn to use Premier Pro, their video editing suite (which is really cool, and rather easy, it must be said), and I was also, begrudgingly aware that I’d have to reluctantly learn to use Photoshop, for the times I’d need to build graphics (which I’m still adamant is the wrong package!). But needs must.
The reason for putting myself through this pain is simple. Adobe killed off Fireworks, very unceremoniously back (I think) in the mid 2010’s. The last version of Fireworks I owned was version 4. That version stopped working on modern hardware a number of years ago, some-time after I stopped using it due to changes in career. I remember the rather small, but vocal group of active users of Fireworks being quite distraught at Adobe for the cull.
So, today I installed Photoshop. I spent at least 15 minutes getting quite frustrated at it not doing what I wanted it to do. I appreciate that I could well be metaphorically barking completely up the wrong tree and Photoshop shouldn’t be the program I should be using to build a logo anyway, but hey, I tried.
So after being frustrated for a short time, I did what any self-respecting individual does when faced with the impossible task of learning to use something I didn’t want to use: I searched the internet for an alternative!
So I searched google for “Adobe fireworks replacement”.
There was the normal thing you expect to see on the internet, and quite frankly, although it wasn’t what I really wanted, I was prepared to go and sniff around, and see what other Fireworks refugees were using
But just under that, obviously useful list of actual alternatives, was this webpage. I wasn’t expecting any sort of quick resolution to the Fireworks shaped hole in my heart (now a that sounds like a terrible new-years-eve celebration gone-wrong, out of context…). The google-engineered excerpt certainly didn’t prepare me for what I actually got out of it:
Anyway, I clicked through and, in short (I appreciate it’s way to late to throw in little quips like “in-short”), I was given very precise instructions as to how to download the very last version of Fireworks that Adobe ever made! Adobe Fireworks CS 6.
I now spent an evening using a very out-dated and much superseded graphics package, that the parent company saw-fit to retire more years ago than my daughter has been alive (she’s 6). But I was happy. I was able to be creative, without getting all het-up about learning new stuff. I made my logo! It wasn’t meant to look as oriental as I think it probably does, it’s just three letters, one of the next, over the next (and one rotated).
I also did a rather dubious header for Youtube. It’s fine. It does what I need it to do. It says “ZXCXZ” in the only real way you can. It’s yellow, which clearly is a must for any self-respecting ZXCXZ sign. Take a look for yourself on Youtube if you like.
So where does this leave me, at just after one in the morning?
- Feeling accomplished (mostly) for having done something
- Feeling like an old friend has come back from the dead (albeit for a somewhat limited time)
- Feeling slightly tired, and a little concerned about the looming 6:30am alarm call
How should you end a long, winding meander like this?