Long live Paint!

Long live Microsoft Paint

Loads has changed in the digital industry since Paintbrush was born, 32 years ago, as a part of the Windows operating system. Ergo, one could conclude that it has become obsolete. Who wants to use such a simple 2D computer graphics app when we have more sophisticated software? Then, last night, when Microsoft announced Paint will no longer be available on Windows 10, the answer came loud and clear: WHAT?????!!!! NO WAY!!!!

R.I.P Paint

It’s not dead, it’s resting

Perhaps it is nostalgia or the certainty of knowing that simplicity always wins. In any case, Microsoft received an avalanche of comments on social media and had to quickly confirm they were not killing off Paint: it will still be available to download for free from the Windows Store.

Art history

Come with me on a journey back to the eighties, when the first version of Paint was born. Why did we call it “Paint” if it was commonly used for drawing?

Back then, applications based on strict geometry were more precise, were used in a professional environment and were known as drawing programs. On the other hand, programs like Paint were not precise, but better to capture free-form gestures. These were known as painting programs.

After more than 30 years, and perhaps due to light development and lack of economic motivations, Paint is still characterized by its association with the mouse and its bitmap-based nature. Somehow it has remain imperfect – we know it can not compete with Photoshop – but we love it anyway.

BMP-maniaI personally have to admit I do not use Paint on a daily basis, but I felt utterly happy this morning when I found out that not only was Paint’s funeral not taking place but that, instead, it was loved and more alive than ever.

Josemi Paint artwork

2D is plenty

Microsoft was quite naïve when, last year, it unveiled Paint 3D. Maybe they thought “It supports 3D objects, so people will love it”. Unfortunately, there are plenty of applications out there with more features.

Bill Gates by Pat Hines on MS Paint

What we love about Paint is not its dazzling array of features but the opposite. In a world overloaded with information, we truly appreciate its simplicity. It offers a playful interface and has inspired artists who use it as a tool to create their work. We do not want it to die because we believe in the cultural role of computing. MS Paint has a cult following, and has clearly become an icon.



Leave a reply

You can use these tags:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

  1. Marta Yubero says:

    I can tell this blog-post was born from Maria… Excellent!

    Love from Spain to the Manifesto Team!!

Sign up for the Manifesto newsletter and exclusive event invites