print shop

The Print Shop

The Print Shop is a basic desktop publishing software package developed in the early 1980s by Brøderbund. It was unique in that it provided libraries of clip-art and templates through a simple interface to build signs, posters and banners with household dot-matrix printers. Over the years the software has been updated to accommodate changing file formats and printer technologies.

The original version was for the Apple II and created signs, cards, banners, and letterheads. Designed by David Balsam and programmed by Martin Kahn, it became one of the most popular Apple II titles of all time. Versions for the IBM PC, Commodore 64, and Atari 8-bit computers followed, as did a variant for the Apple IIGS. These versions were published in Europe by Ariolasoft.

In 1986 the first Apple Macintosh version was released. It featured graphics by Marney Morris and was the most powerful version at the time. It was popular in schools and contained a unique feature in which graphics could be transferred to or from a MacPaint file.

Graphics libraries were a hot item for The Print Shop, and came from Broderbund and other vendors. Libraries were produced for the original version and continued to be rolled out as late as the 1990s.

The New Print Shop came out in 1988 for Apple II and DOS, and improved on the original. Print Shop Deluxe, for Mac, DOS, and Windows, followed in 1993. Deluxe used a new all-graphical interface still found in Print Shop programs today and allowed for creation of calendars. Print Shop Deluxe Companion added new modules and graphics, and the Ensemble version combined The Print Shop, the Companion, and several graphics libraries on one CD.

Many new versions of The Print Shop followed, such as Ensemble II. Now over 20 years old, Print Shop still generates printed greeting cards, banners, and signs. It has kept with the times by offering new types of printed output, including CD and DVD labels and inserts, iPod skins, and photo book pages. The latest PC version (23) is published by Brøderbund and it is available in both Print Shop Deluxe and Print Shop Pro Publisher Deluxe variants. For Mac OS X, the most recent version is 2.0, developed and published by Software MacKiev.


  • The Apple II version was distributed on a 5¼" floppy disk which, on its reverse side, contained a demo of interlaced hi-res graphic animation techniques that Martin Kahn was experimenting with at the time.

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