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Default Where It All Began: Images From Wired's Early Days

</img>: CNN introduced Wired magazine in January 1993 by saying it was "a combination of high technology with rock 'n' roll delivery." Rossetto & Co.'s initial advertising campaign -– wild postering and bus signs in five cities -– had the tagline: "Finally, a Magazine for the Digital Age." Here, Wired's cofounder Louis Rossetto talks with CNN in December 1992, just before the launch.
Photos courtesy of Louis Rossetto
</img>: Creative director John Plunkett (left) and his design partner/wife (and soon to be HotWired creative director) Barbara Kuhr (center) examine proofs of the magazine on the press check for the first issue in Danbury, Connecticut, in late December 1992. The duo already had an established graphic design firm, Plunkett+Kuhr, when they joined Wired to create its look and feel. (Their firm remains in business today and recently designed the TED 2008 program.)
</img>: Executive editor Kevin Kelly collates Wired's heuristics from assembled senior staff during Wired's first retreat soon after the 1993 launch. On the list were a number of business and editorial standards, some of which were revolutionary for the magazine publishing industry back then and remain so even today: "a place people want to work," "entrepreneurial spirit," "should look like a large home office," "no editorial calendar, not marketing driven," "lead, not follow," "stay lean and mean," and "legendary contributor relations."
</img>: A man falling into a seemingly never-ending city appeared on the cover of Wired's third prototype. The collage is by artist Stuart Cudlitz.
</img>: The January/February 1980 issue of Language Technology, Rossetto and Metcalfe's first magazine venture, was published in Amsterdam with a small global circulation. Rossetto edited, and Metcalfe directed ad sales. The art director was Max Kisman, who would later join Wired TV and design many of its stunning visuals. Language Technology was about the people and companies creating and using technology to handle word-based information, from word processing to machine translation of natural languages. Kevin Kelly saw in this magazine what eventually happened with Wired: "It wanted to be bigger."
</img>: The cover of "The Wired Manifesto"—the first prototype of the magazine—featured one of its earliest and most prominent contributing writers, John Perry Barlow. The prototype was put together in a four-day charette in April 1992 by Rossetto, Metcalfe, Plunkett, and Kuhr in photographer Neil Selkirk's New York studio in Chelsea. Wired was one of the first publications to put writers on the covers, beginning with Bruce Sterling on the very first issue.
</img>: The magazine's first offices were located in the South Park area of San Francisco's SOMA (South of Market) neighborhood. The figure at the desk in the foreground is then-managing editor John Battelle, who later founded The Industry Standard, and more recently Federated Media. Kevin Kelly is silhouetted behind him by the window. And creative director John Plunkett is over to the left. The current Wired office sits not too far away along Third Street in SOMA—an industrial and tech-heavy neighborhood.
</img>: HotWired, which launched in late October 1994, was the first Web site with original content and Fortune 500 advertising. Rossetto's answer to the Web magazine, HotWired was editorially independent of the print publication and generated all its own content. It was also visually conceived by Barbara Kuhr and John Plunkett. The icons are by Max Kisman.
</img>: The lofty, technicolored HotWired office was located one floor up from Wired.com's current location at 520 Third Street in San Francisco. At its height HotWired employed 125 people &mdash; average age 24. Suck, the first blog, was born here, too.
</img>: The stock certificate, from when Wired Ventures attempted to go public in 1996 contained (in very tiny type) the quote from Alfred North Whitehead: "It is the business of the future to be dangerous." The Goldman Sachs-led IPO failed, but the innovative and complex design was a clear success. The certificate was designed by Erik Adigard and art directed by John Plunkett.


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