freehand v illustrator

Lord knows I've tried, but after 15 years I'm more than ready to admit defeat. You can take illustrator and shove it where the sun don't shine!

I say that for a few reasons, firstly I have to come out. I'm an old Freehand user. Actually I'm still a Freehand user. I use it almost every day. I know it's been officially dead for about 5 years, but it still works. It's an old friend, it's not going to make fun of me or embarrass me. I start it up and the two of us just get on with the job together.

I don't use Illustrator because it usually has to go make a cup of tea and have smoke before it decides to turn up to work. Looking at the stats it's no wonder. It sits on my desktop hogging almost 800MB of office/desktop space. If my Mac were an office block, Illustrator would take up an entire floor and have a dedicated elevator to Photoshop and InDesign on the floors above. They'd have extended lunch breaks together, leave the lights on when they went home and never empty the bins. Pesky little Freehand sits at the hot desk on the ground floor along side CSS Edit, Text Edit, Text Wrangler and Preview.

A few examples. When masking elements in Freehand you have a piece of artwork and the shape of the mask. Select the artwork and cut, then paste inside the mask, and off I go to the next task. Illustrator books an ad in the local paper and puts the work out tender. Ultimately the sub contractor has misinterpreted the spec and you get a piece of abstract art.

So I'm drawing a map and want rivers roads, text and etc on their own layer. Freehand does just that, I've all roads on 1 layer, all rivers on another and so on. Illustrator contacts the Layers department at the end of the corridor where a crack team place every item on it's own layer and because they're trying to impress the boss, create a series of sub layers for everything in that layer. So instead of 3 or 4 layers I've now got 300 of the things.

It does some jobs better, like the Trace function but not the "meat and potato" jobs. The Trace function is the equivalent to that little parsley garnish on top of the meat and potatoes, it looks nice but I'm gonna lift it and leave it on the side.

So I'm championing Freehand, it's classic app man. Like vinyl is classic music, gibson is classic guitar and Leica is classic photography. It gives you that look, sound and feel. Like film cameras, it's outdated, defunct and unsupported by that doesn't mean it's unloved.

Written on: July 06 2009
Filed under
: tech :

…Illustrator would take up an entire floor and have a dedicated elevator to Photoshop and InDesign on the floors above.

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