Linguists and historians agree: before emoticons came along, pretty much the only way to communicate with fellow human beings without resorting to awkward grunts and whistles was using Clip Art. Whether you were offering directions to the shop or expressing confusion over FDA genomics regulation, Clip Art had the perfect pictorial representation (3D bubble arrows and Silhouette Figure With Question Mark in these two examples).
Now, however, Microsoft has announced that it’s closing down the service for good, replacing Clip Art with a Bing Image search that’s filtered for results with personal or commercial Creative Commons licenses. It makes sense to save costs and boost Bing usage (although most people will hop over to Google Images regardless) but it’s still a little sad to lose the familiar host of cartoon hieroglyphics that made up the Clip Art catalogue. Leaflets everywhere from doctors’ waiting rooms to school hallways will feel the loss.
At least we've still got Word Art.
- The universal symbol for confusion: an Ignatz mouse look-alike with clown feet.
- Could be a camcorder, could be a leaked prop from the new Star Wars.
- Well-documented to have appeared in every Microsoft earnings' call from '92 to '96.
- Often overlooked by art historians, Picasso's 'Clip Art period' was short-lived but fruitful.
- Mainly Clip Art failed because it couldn't keep up with the pace of coffee innovation.
- People think the Mercator projection is a skewed way to map the world, but at least that has the water in the right place.
- Who doesn't keep a spoon with their computer stationery?
- A cassette player or the severed head of an robo-insect supervillain?
- 'Hey Jimmy, you know what might actually be a good idea? Helping out with this presentation instead of filling it with Clip Art.'