FREEFREEHAND.ORG – About 3 months ago, a new website was launched at www.freefreehand.org to try secure a future for the FreeHand application. Soon after Adobe Corporation bought out Macromedia, it appeared like FreeHand’s days were over when the software giant decided to stop further development of FreeHand in order to encourage users to switch to Illustrator. Currently Adobe still sells FreeHand, but without support for future operating systems it will be destined to work only on current and older computers.
The FreeFreeHand.org website was put together by Thomas Thü Hürlimann (graphic designer & multimedia artist who has worked with FreeHand since 1987), Jabez Palmer (from Bez Design, Seattle – founded 1997) and Mark Gelotte (book designer and illustrator).
The FreeFreeHand.org website currently has about 4000 members and is currently on a membership drive to increase its numbers to raise awareness about FreeHand and to campaign for its future. Membership is free. If you would want FreeHand to be viable for future operating systems and would like to see it have a good future, then please feel free to join and at least get on their mailing list so you can keep up to date.
My Personal Experience With FreeHand
FreeHand has been around for a long long, time is still used by many designers. I remember the first time I heard about FreeHand. I heard about it from an art instructor who was hired to do a photo shoot of an industrial product line for a new catalog. At the time I was just getting started and I was planning on buying Illustrator (Illustrator 7 had just been released that year). He said that most graphic designers used Illustrator but that those who were “really in the know” were using FreeHand – indicating that the real insiders preferred FreeHand over Illustrator.
I bought Illustrator as I planned, but shortly afterwards I also bought FreeHand 8. I used Illustrator mostly, but only a couple of years later I was involved in a book publishing project with a whole team of people. I was doing some technical drawings for the project. It was during this time that I began to use FreeHand on a regular basis for a couple of reasons – first, it was just faster and simpler to work with than Illustrator and second, we were dealing with sub-contractors who had very specific requirements for how they wanted files to be handed off. Their specifications called for all line art to be done in FreeHand format.
When I found out that FreeHand was bought out by Adobe, it looked like it was the end of my favorite drawing program. Then I found out about the FreeFreeHand.org website and signed up. If there is a chance that through their efforts, they can keep FreeHand alive somehow, then I am for it. I hope all designers who love this program will sign up. I don’t know exactly what the outcome might be, but if there is a chance Adobe could be persuaded to allow FreeHand future development and support, then that would be a good thing.