38/52: The Evolution of Storage

Everything is in the cloud now.


Each week for a year, I’m designing a shirt and releasing it on my Threadless store. This is the design for week 38.


My first computer, a Commodore Vic 20, actually used cassette tapes for data storage. We upgraded to a Commodore 64 and it used a 5.25 inch floppy. So did the TRS-80 at school and the IBM PC at my dad’s office. When I got to high school, the 5.25 in drives gave way to 3.5 inch floppies. And while I was in college, the 3.5 inch floppy was replaced by a Iomega Zip drive that held an “amazing” 100 MB. Zip drives were popular until writeable CD-ROM drives became commonplace. Writeable DVDs seemed to be the natural next step, but USB thumb drives were cheaper and more convenient. Now, everything pretty much lives in the cloud.

There were — of course — storage devices that never caught on… I remember 44 MB and 88 MB SyQuest Drives. Iomega had a 1 GB Jaz Drive and introduced a 250 MB Zip drive to capitalize on the success on the 100 MB Zip Drive. Portable hard drives are still popular with people who need a lot of storage, but USB thumb drives are getting cheaper and increasing in capacity. Writable Blu-ray discs are expensive and take forever to burn.

I’ve watched computer storage evolve over the last 30+ years and now, we’ve reached a point where everything is in the cloud and there is very little reason to have physical media at all. There’s a part of me that misses carrying around all my files and projects and a collection of Zip disks, but I won’t miss the fear of losing a disk or having one fail catastrophically. Now, all my files are available to me on pretty much any device at pretty much any time.

This week’s shirt, “The Evolution of Storage” is a look back to the changes of how we store our important files and projects. Starting with 1.2 MB and spanning to the now seemingly infinite cloud.

You can purchase “The Evolution of Storage” on my Threadless store.


Bob Wertz writes about design, technology and pop culture at Sketchbook B. Bob is a Columbia, South Carolina-based designer, creative director, college instructor, husband and dad. He’s particularly obsessed with typography, the creative process and the tools we use to create. He's currently in the middle of a project to design a new shirt a week for an entire year. Follow Bob on TwitterInstagram and Micro.Blog.