February 10, 2012
Why I am a designer

So my previous post about where the members of the e/n scene ended up ties in quite closely to my career. When I first got on the internet, I briefly hung out on forums and perused awful late 90s band webpages before deciding that I wanted some of that sweet website action.

I ended up teaching myself html (2?) at the tender age of 13 and put up my first webpage on tripod, i do believe. It was full of rainbow bars and stupid animated gifs, but no use of , because even then I knew that was tacky. CSS was still a long ways off, I’m not even going to pretend my early websites looked like anything other than huge steaming piles of angsty teenage girl diary-esque shit.

However, web design was a fun distraction when I wasn’t pursuing other creative endeavors, or maxing out my 56k trying to download music. Once I hit high school, I even made a fair amount of money coding sites for college students trying to coast through their web design classes. However, by then coding had gotten a lot more complex and through that experience I realized that it wasn’t something I really wanted to do for other people consistently.

One day, a representative from the Art Institute came to my high school art class to talk us in to going there. They didn’t offer fine arts, which is what I was most interested in. Fun fact for those who didn’t know me back then: I’m a painter at heart. They did offer something called graphic design, and from what the recruiter said, it was the broadest applied arts field to go into.

Broad sounded good to me, especially since I wasn’t 100% sure was “graphic design” was. I had a vague idea, I had been collecting magazine ads that I liked since I was in middle school and was pretty interested industrial design/architecture, and obviously web design. I was thinking that it’d be like the best parts of web design without the coding.

And it was! I ended up majoring in graphic design with a focus on web design. I knew that I wasn’t to do primarily print, due to the lack of frustrating coding, but couldn’t quite give web design up completely.

My first real job, I worked exclusively in print on the clock. However, my boss would hire me on as freelance to build flash for him. During this time I worked freelance, mostly for magazines doing print layout.

My second real job, I was hired on as an interactive designer, but spent most of the time doing print work. I also laid out html sites, flash banners, and a new skill: dvd menu production. During this time, I was freelancing pretty much half and half print and web, mostly setting up and administering content management systems. I taught myself the basics of php and javascript, and started learning html 5.

My current real job, I was hired on as a graphic designer, and spend most of my time doing interactive and motion work. I animate in flash, after effects, and premiere; as well as shooting and editing video/audio. Not to say I don’t also do a lot of print work, it seems to be cyclical. Right now, I’m in the middle of a bunch of non-print related work. My freelance now is more maintaining websites and high-level design work, like coming up with campaigns. Also, a fair amount of print making. I bought a press last month and have been busy learning that aspect of the production process. It’s nice to do some production every now and again, which is one of the only things I miss about my last job. It’s good for the soul to xacto away a few hours now and again.

So that is how I started out in web, moved to print, then back to web (along with print), then to other types of interactive, to animation and video production (and print). You couldn’t tell me in that art room back in high school that in 10 years I’d be editing videos, creating training modules, and building brand identities — but here I am! And I can thank my mother for leaving me unattended for hours with an internet connected computer in my bedroom, where I was traumatized by the darkness of the internet and simultaneously inspired to begin my life as a creative professional.

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4 Responses to “Why I am a designer”

  1. Jason Clark says:

    It's difficult sometimes to think back to Tripod and realize how long ago that was and how much has changed.

    • fuzzdecay says:

      It really is hard to wrap my head around, the internet is completely different now. Who ever goes to chatrooms to talk to people they don’t know anymore? It seems like most people just chat on facebook with existing friends. Most people don’t seem to use the internet to meet people except through dating sites anymore.

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