beige rant (was Re: IBM 5150 with red case on ebay)

William Donzelli wdonzelli at
Fri May 13 17:20:39 CDT 2016

> I was so disgusted with IBM and other TLAs who I won't name for fear of
> being flame-blasted for the "beige orthodoxy". Most companies always acted
> like doing any industrial design or adding color would scare off their
> business customers.

Do not blame the computer companies, blame the customers. Beige and
gray were the colors they wanted. The bright dazzling colors of the
1960s and early 70s were gone, the earthtones of the late 1970s were
phasing out, and the boring colors of the 1980s were starting to come
into play.

IBM did offer a choice of colors for much of their machine line (not
the PC line, however) until the mid 1980s - blue (default), gray (2nd
default), red, white, and yellow, and later brown and green (I have
never seen either brown or green in the wild, but they are options in
the catalog), but most customers wanted blue or gray. If so few
customers wanted the other colors, it is easy to see why they were

> In the 1980's and 1990's SGI was a bright shining exception and I love
> them for that early middle finger to the beige box priesthood.

Keep in mind that while most of us think SGI's designs are super
great, most of the customers outside the machine rooms thought they
were, at best, "interesting". "Interesting" is a funny word...


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