Celebrating 30 years of the PDF


5 October 2023


Matt Cochrane


Studio, Updates

To mark the 30th Anniversary of Adobe Acrobat, we travelled back through time to recap the history of the PDF. Our animation tells the story of Acrobat. Following a timeline from its inception, we share the countless benefits the PDF has brought to working life.


Working with an existing developed initial style and timeline of major milestones, we got to work building on the designs to develop an engaging animation that adds clarity and brings the history to life. Adding to the timeline’s iconography and character style, we illustrated eye-catching scenes from different eras with historical Easter eggs nestled in the scenes to look out for. These drive the messaging forward, while tying back to the web page and the static timeline.

Whenever we make an animation, the first step before grabbing the pencil or tablet is always a ‘visual column’ or list of visual suggestions to accompany the script. We then take this and start sketching ideas to get the flow right, in the form of a sketch storyboard. Here’s a small section of the animation with the sketches side-by-side.

It’s a really helpful step for both us and the client to make sure everything’s working as expected before heading into the complexities of designing and animating everything. It also helps with a tight deadline as it’s super easy to amend a sketch compared to when something’s fully animated.


Our designs use a limited colour palette so that the whole film has an obvious Adobe brand-feel throughout. It’s easy to forget the days when desks were stacked full of paperwork and filled with the whirr of printing machines. So we developed a series characters each using PDFs in unique locations to highlight all the ways PDF makes business effortless for everyone, everywhere.

The film lives on the Adobe website and was translated into French and German, celebrating the PDF’s big birthday with press and tech influencers across Europe.

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At the heart of our boutique motion and animation studio is a passion to connect and understand our clients. We’re a small team of dynamic and skilled people delivering campaign changing outcomes. Working together, the partnerships we forge with our clients are effective and long-term.

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