You’ll Never Believe 1999

The year was 1999. The Buffalo Bills exited the playoff on the worst non-call ever, the forward lateral pass by Frank Wycheck to Kevin Dyson. Who knew it would be 17 years before they would make another appearance.

A lot has happened since then, which made me think about where I was during this time 17 years ago—probably rolling out of bed in South Buffalo, putting on a shirt and tie and heading off to class. I was a senior at Bishop Timon St. Jude High School. I was part of the first graphic design class being taught in the newly renovated art department on the fourth floor. It’s where I got hooked on the idea of graphic design as a profession. Man, how technology has changed since then. Here’s a little trip down memory lane:

BitStream Inc., a type foundry that was making digital typefaces launched a little website called on a still pretty new thing called the World Wide Web. The website was created as an independent retailer of fonts. The most popular font downloaded from the website that year was House Script.

Adobe was going through major updates to Illustrator and Photoshop. Things like “Save for Web,” “Smart Guides” and the “Pencil Tool” were being added to the software, tools that designers today couldn’t live without. There was also this thing called ImageReady that came bundled with Photoshop, which if you remember, could be called the Godfather of GIFs.

Macs weighed 40 lbs., had handles, were clear and eventually came in 13 “flavor” highlight colors. They were equipped with 32 to 512 MB of memory, a hard drive of 6 GB and, depending on when you last upgraded your OS, you’d be running Panther, Tiger or Leopard systems. Big cat phase happening during the late ’90s. Rawr.

Storage space! Backing up your computer with these things that weren’t floppy disks but kind of looked like floppy disks, called Zip Disks. They stored somewhere between 100 and 250 MB of data. One Zip disc cost around $20 back then, but now you can get a 10 pack for $40. They were crucial to have as a designer. I know I used them constantly to back up all my projects so that I wouldn’t wind up filling the storage space on the clear bondi-blue iMac G3s. Lack of storage space is maybe the one thing that just doesn’t change.

1999 was also the year that Cher’s song “Believe” was the No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. And maybe it’s some kind of a sign, but I don’t think anyone around these parts ever stopped Bill-ieving.