One of the first successful electronic clip art pioneers was T/Maker Company, a Mountain View, California, company, which had its early roots with an alternative word processor, WriteNow, commissioned for the Macintosh by Steve Jobs. Beginning in 1984, T/Maker took advantage of the capability of the Macintosh to provide bit-mapped graphics in black and white; by publishing small, retail collections of these images under the brand name "ClickArt". The first version of "ClickArt" was a mixed collection of images designed for personal use. The illustrators who created the first "serious" clip art for business/organizational (professional) use were Mike Mathis, Joan Shogren, and Dennis Fregger; published by T/Maker in 1984 as "ClickArt Publications".
In 1986, the first vector-based clip art disc was released by Compuset, a small desktop publishing company based in Eureka, California. The black-and-white art was painstakingly created by Rick Siegfried with MacDraw, sometimes using hundreds of simple objects combined to create complex images. It was released on a single-sided floppy disc.
In 1986, Adobe Systems introduced Adobe Illustrator for the Macintosh, allowing home computer users the first opportunity to manipulate vector art in a GUI. This made the higher-resolution vector art possible and in 1987 T/Maker published the first vector-based clip art images made with Illustrator, despite widespread unfamiliarity with the bezier curves required to edit vector art. However, graphic designers and many consumers quickly realized the enormous advantages of vector art, and T/Maker's clip art became the gold standard of the industry in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In 1994, T/Maker was sold to Deluxe Corp and then two years later to its main rival, Broderbund.
With widespread adoption of the CD-ROM in the early 1990s, several pre-computer clip art companies such as Dover Publications also began offering electronic clip art.
The mid-1990s ushered in more innovation in the clip art industry, as well as a marketing focus on quantity over quality. Even T/Maker, whose success was built upon selling small, high quality clip art packages of approximately 200 images, began to get interested in the volume clip art market. In March, 1995, T/Maker became the exclusive publisher of over 500,000 copyright-free images which was, at the time, one of the world's largest clip art libraries. This licensing agreement was subsequently transferred to Broderbund.