Giant, animated illustration for City of Toronto’s Metro Works home page broke new ground back in 1995. Took almost two hours to view the animation though..

While rooting around the studio archives for work to feature in our graphic design portfolio (still a work in progress,) came across this piece that I developed back in 1995 for the Toronto Metro Works web site. Based on the style that I had used for my personal portfolio (which was in turn inspired by Apple‘s old e-world interface,) the illustration featured various Toronto locations and landmarks on the site – local folks will recognize The CN Tower, the (then called) Sky Dome and Ontario Place. This was developed as part of a freelance gig for Hoffman & Associates, a Toronto based leading Canadian multimedia company of the day, and served as my introduction to the Internets (shortly before I officially launched The Logo Factory in 1996.) When I was being ‘short-listed’ for the job, I was asked if I knew HTML (didn’t even know what it was) and if I had ever ‘surfed’ on this thing they referred to as the “World Wide Web” (I hadn’t.) It was in the development of this map that I became enamored with the Internet, a love affair that’s been ongoing ever since.

My, how things have changed..

Amusing story about this illustration – when it was added to the Metro Web Site, it was animated using Shockwave. Pretty cutting-edge stuff of the time. A Director based precursor to Flash – which in those days was referred to as ‘Future Splash‘ – had just hit the scene, put out by a smallish Florida software company, who would later be bought out by Macromedia. Who in turn were bought out by Adobe who renamed the gizmo Flash. Anyhoo, it was cool and all, but it required the Shockwave plug-in to run, and this plug-in wasn’t included with Netscape, most popular browser of the day. When the site was launched, and I wanted to view the animation of my work, I had to download the plug-in via dial-up modem (about an hour and fifteen minutes,) find the appropriate folder and hand-install it, restart my trusty Mac, and then find the web page all over again. Total elapsed time – almost two hours. Just to see a bunch of trucks and characters zip around the screen. I was probably among the very few to actually take the time to view the spiffy looping animation that lasted for – get this – one minute and 45 seconds.

You kids do not know how lucky you have it.