Graphic design: Why Mac?

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by potassium, Jan 5, 2006.

  1. potassium macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    #1
    Hey everyone. I'm a newbie here

    I use Windows and Mac and am not really inclined towards one over the other. i use them both for different things. (Although I have slightly more of a fondness for Macs!)

    Anyway I was wondering... why are Macs more widely used/preffered in the graphic design industry over PCs? I've seen and slightly dabbled with programs like Photoshop etc on both OS's and they seem pretty similar on both, so it made me wonder why Macs have such a reputation for being better for design work? Is it to do with hardware, the greater stability of OS X etc..? Just curious
     
  2. stevep macrumors 6502a

    stevep

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2004
    Location:
    UK
    #2
    Historically, Macs were always the choice of professional designers, and it probably started with programs like Paintbox (I think that's what it was called) and desktop publishing programs. Nowadays the difference is less clear cut, with many programs giving good cross-platform compatibility (like the Macromedia and Adobe suites).
    Designers and other creative types being what they are though, have an appreciation of good design, and generally speaking the modern Mac just looks right in a studio.
    At the moment I'm typing this on a Mac Mini, linked to a KVM switch, linked to a WinXP box. I prefer the looks, quietness and stability of the Mac and its OS, but occasionally have to switch back to the PC for a few native windows apps. I know which I prefer.

    Edit: Paintbox was actually the name of a graphics workstation, made by Quantel I think, not a Mac at all. But the early Macs had better screen res than their PC counterparts, and a decent mouse with an OS that used it.
     
  3. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

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    Oct 21, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #3
    Originally, because Macs actually had WYSIWYG. It was something the PC just couldn't do. Now, that's not as true as it used to be, so having Macs is not a sure thing.. but for some, it's kind of a legacy thing.
     
  4. Xeem macrumors 6502a

    Xeem

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    Feb 2, 2005
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #4
    I'm not a graphic design professional (my dad is), but one thing that I think factors in is that graphics professionals prefer a more visually pleasing interface, and Macs deliver a much better interface in almost every case. Use Photoshop on a Mac and then try it in Windows… you'll see what I mean. The Mac version seems clean, and the Windows version cluttered. This is true in every Adobe program, and in fact most multiplatform programs in general in my opinion.
     
  5. Moof1904 macrumors 65816

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    May 20, 2004
    #5
    For me, with roots in print publishing, the Mac's early adoption of PostScript made a huge difference. Even now, PostScript seems like a reluctant afterthought on Windoze.
     
  6. Cooknn macrumors 68020

    Cooknn

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    Aug 23, 2003
    Location:
    Fort Myers, FL
    #6
    My case is a little different. Before I bought my Mac two years ago I was an IT Manager supporting a network with a bunch of Windows PC's. Of course I had one at home as well. Then I bought my first Mac and for some reason it unleashed the creative side in me. Now I have my own Photography business and I'm also the Director of Marketing and Advertising for a local company. Trip eh?

    Not sure why or how it happened. Maybe once I stopped dealing with all the problems associated with Windows PC's and actually had time to *use* my computer, I was able to utilize the creative part of me that had no free time before I got my Mac :p
     
  7. radiantm3 macrumors 65816

    radiantm3

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    Oct 16, 2005
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    #7
    Not to mention how each OS handles it's windowing system. The fact that all documents are contained within the main application's window (in Windows) is a huge flaw for creative work and general usability.
     
  8. Mitthrawnuruodo Moderator emeritus

    Mitthrawnuruodo

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    Mar 10, 2004
    Location:
    Bergen, Norway
    #8
    Check out Wikipedia's article on Desktop Publishing:

    Desktop publishing began in 1985 with the introduction of Aldus Pagemaker software and the Apple LaserWriter printer for the Apple Macintosh computer. The ability to create WYSIWYG page layouts on screen and then print pages at crisp 300 ppi resolution was revolutionary for a personal computer system. The term "desktop publishing" is attributed to Aldus Corporation founder Paul Brainerd, who sought a marketing catch phrase to describe the small size and relative affordability of this suite of products in contrast to the expensive commercial phototypesetting equipment of the day.

    Hope that explains it. ;)
     
  9. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    Jun 25, 2002
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    Gone but not forgotten.
    #9
    It's about precision and legacy.

    Originally, it was the fact that Macintosh had square pixels--so you could count on printed things looking a lot like the image on screen. 512x384 resolution wasn't much but compared to 640x200, 640x400, 720x480, and later 640x350, images on x86 and a few other systems didn't look quite right.

    We had come from non-visual word processing, even on machines that supported graphics well. If you wanted something italicised, you used control-I before and after it. Many systems, including x86 PCs, showed you an inverse I front and back or they shaded the display of the word with certain attributes (e.g. blue with a red background) to differentiate italics from bolding.

    When Aldus PageMaker and PostScript came along, it was quite phenomenal to see a (then) realistic curve instead of a bunch of jagged dots pushed together from a noisy dot matrix printer.

    Of course, there were competitors. Digital Research's GEM provided another precise graphical environment and ran on most x86 PCs of the time, as well as Atari machines. Ventura Publisher was available for GEM but of course, the longer the document, the more you tripped on the 640 KB barrier. The Ventura people could have also developed it for the Atari ST series which used up to 4 MB of RAM easily but chose not to do so.

    It wasn't until the mid-1990s that anyone in the publishing industry really tried to use Windows because 1) it wasn't precise, 2) it wasn't stable 3) no matter how good it looked, it was still off a bit between display and paper.
     
  10. dornoforpyros macrumors 68040

    dornoforpyros

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    Oct 19, 2004
    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    #10
    I'm gonna go with stability as far as modern day is concerned. Heck the other day my PC at work crashed and all I did was open a photoshop file. This was first thing in the morning after I turned it on.
     
  11. Dane D. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2004
    Location:
    ohio
    #11
    Just my thoughts

    I'm in advertising/marketing and we use Macs. For one thing, the older generation of artists here would of never picked up the Windows way of computing, hell I don't get it either and I'm relatively young (between 40 and 50yrs old). The Mac is intuitive and the programs are cleaner (read less clutter). Plus all the problems assoicated with Windows, downtime = no work. IMO the platform works well, the programs are very good, the ability to have pre-press RIP your files without crashing their system and the quality of the end result all contribute to the Mac being a superior graphics platform. One other thing, I've run some Photoshop tests are our Macs and then duplicated the test on PCs, the Macs are faster. Just my two cents.;)
     
  12. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

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    Oct 21, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #12
    Vindication!
     
  13. Mitthrawnuruodo Moderator emeritus

    Mitthrawnuruodo

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    Mar 10, 2004
    Location:
    Bergen, Norway
    #13
    Oh, yes, 100%... :)

    Lots of people I know worked in advertising agencies in the 80s, and they almost gets tears in their eyes out of pure happiness and nostalgia when they talk about the world that opened up to them when they got Aldus Pagemaker 1. Before that making a newspaper ad or brochure or whatever had been tedious work, now they got machines that could do all of their work for them. No wonder they stuck with Macs.

    The only thing is that "we" lost a few in the mid 90s, when the PCs caught up, Quark/Pagemaker/Photoshop for Windows started to actually work and for a while looked like Apple might even go bankrupt, which made some IT departments nervous. (100.000 viruses later they must feel stupid... :D)

    Now, the only problem is those designing for Web, who have to at least check their work on IE under Windows, to see what problems Microsoft's poor support for standards has caused, and adjust appropriately... :rolleyes:
     
  14. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #14
    Have you ever actually used Windows to produce documents for public distribution? You will find that it is a blunt instrument. It is true that the Mac got a jump start on MS-DOS/Windows in publishing. It is also true that developers have spent an enormous amount of resources to help Windows catch up. But, close does not win the cigar and more often than not, close is not really close at all.

    The Mac is the standard for font-handling. This is particularly important in the case of errors such as missing fonts. This is linked to the widespread use of PostScript on the Mac. Windows users tend to regard PostScript as an expense. Mac users tend to regard it as an asset.

    ColorSync is a Godsend. It ensures the fidelity of colors from creation to final output.

    There are many other Mac and MacOS/MacOS X facilities. They are available to all applications. On the Windows side, there may be similar facilities, but it is likely that they are created by developers who roll their own. Interoperability is not expected.

    Then there is the devices between the keyboard and chair--users. Mac users get it. Windows users, not so much. Talk to the staff in your local print shop. See if they can top the story about the guy who typed an entire novel into a single Excel cell and brought the file into the shop to be printed.
     
  15. stevep macrumors 6502a

    stevep

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    Oct 13, 2004
    Location:
    UK
    #15
    Must have been a small novel with only 32,767 characters in it.......
     

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