Web Design + Culture + VIA Events

20 Years of Design & Digital - 1996 to Today


Jason Clark
Jason Clark

on 11/2/2016

In those early days of the internet, the spark had been lit. The minute computers became interconnected the world changed. We’ve felt the reverberations since that time, and continue to feel them to this day.

In the 1996 world of advertising and marketing, digital was barely a blip on the radar. Back then we couldn’t help you with your social media strategy because social media didn’t exist outside of rudimentary message boards, and it surely wasn’t a buzzword. In 1996 the way to optimize your site for search engines was to repeat your keyword six thousand times in invisible text.

Since that time we’ve been through all the ups & downs our industry has seen, and luckily have evolved with it. We made it through two dot-com busts and a Great Recession. I give our founder, Kelly McKnight, respect for having the vision to create a kick-ass business so long ago when most agencies thought the web was a fad. Needless to say (or is it?), in 2016 digital strategy drives every aspect of a brand, as it should. We’re here to help.

It’s amazing to take look back and see how far we’ve come, not just as a company but as a society. Here’s a quick peek back in time at some trends in technology and culture back in 1996:

The Macarena was the dance sensation sweeping the nation.

A project with a really creepy logo called BackRub was gathering steam at Stanford University. It would go on to become a company named Google.

The UK Wildcats won the NCAA Basketball Championship!

Internet Explorer 3 was introduced with CSS support.

The first clamshell telephone, the Motorola STARtac, was introduced at a mere $1000.

Barack Obama was just 34 years old.

Macromedia Flash was introduced (as Future Splash) to the web. Remember Flash?

Hotmail.com, the first large-scale webmail service, was introduced in July.

DVD’s and the Nintendo 64 were both introduced in Japan. The movie “Twister” was the first feature film to be put to DVD.

Macromedia Flash was introduced (as Future Splash) to the web. Remember Flash?

14 million United States households were online. Today it’s about 270 million.

VIA Studio’s first logo, circa 1998. The world’s first animated gif logo.

Certain milestones require a look back. We stay so busy it can be a real eye opener to see how far we’ve really come. It’s hard to imagine how different the world was 20 years ago. Every day we learn something new. Every day we evolve, just a bit. It’s a joy and an honor to be a part of what VIA has built over 20 years.

Here’s to the next 20!


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