In 1984, Brøderbund Software released “The Print Shop,” a pioneering desktop publishing app that allowed anyone with a PC to easily make large banners, signs, and greeting cards at home for the first time. Here’s what made it special.
It’s 1983, and you need to make a banner, poster, or sign for a birthday party. You might use stencils on a poster board, or you could paint letters on a large piece of fabric. If you wanted more than one copy, you could design something by hand and have it photocopied (if it was small), or go to a print shop to have them craft something professional.
Only one year later, you could use a computer and your desktop printer to do that task for you automatically thanks to Brøderbund’s The Print Shop. Using its menu-driven interface, people without graphic design experience could print greeting cards, banners, and letterhead using the dot matrix printers that were common at the time.
The Print Shop originally launched on the Apple II for $49.95 (about $130 in 2021 dollars) in May of 1984. Publisher Brøderbund soon ported it to other popular PCs of the day, including the Commodore 64, Atari 800, IBM PC, and Macintosh. It included hundreds of basic clip-art-style drawings (which some have compared to primitive emojis) that you could use to illustrate your creations.