I grew up in California and England. My education includes degrees in Environmental Studies and Geography from the University of California at Santa Barbara, where I began my design career by creating maps for the Geography department. In those days, we did everything by hand: inking with rapidograph pens, cutting apart waxed type, scribing topo lines on rubylith, and developing prints in the darkroom. The first computer on the market had 64 kb of memory total -- you could write a term paper and that was it.
My interest in environmental studies (and lack of interest in leaning over a desk all day) took me into the Peace Corps in East Africa. Ostensibly, I was there to help with fisheries, reforestation, and fuel-efficient stove design projects. In between, I loved experiencing life in Tanzania, and met many, many wonderful, kind, and hospitable people. Hopefully, I was able to give as much to them as they gave to me.
When I came to the county in 1986, there were no jobs in cartography, and certainly nothing in international work. So I ran an office/lab, and did small design jobs on the side. With the advent of the Mac on the design scene, I went back to school to complement my traditional skills.
I now run a small graphic design and illustration business. My background in design, painting, drawing, illustration, photography, prepress, (and the cartography that started all of this off so many years ago) helps inform and expand my work today. I still paint, and am always looking for ways to involve that more in my life.
I have been supported and encouraged in my learning process by so many friends, teachers, and colleagues. In the classroom, my goal is to do the same for students: to encourage, to share what I know, and to learn from them. It is an interesting challenge to present technical information in a way that makes sense to each student.
Graphic design is about organizing and presenting visual information -- to inform, educate, or persuade. The principles are simple; however, 'simple' is not to be confused with 'easy.' It requires training and discipline to find the better solutions for each design challenge. Further, designers carry a huge responsibility to our society in how information is presented. Designers absolutely have a choice about making a constructive or destructive contribution.
To be a competent designer these days, one needs to learn the principles of design, art, and several computer applications. However, the most effective designers are trained not only in these fields, but also in how our world and society works -- this gives one an informed context for making design decisions. At the very least, a working knowledge of basic physics, economics, math, and geography is essential. Take classes in psychology, history, anthropology, sociology, communications, and business as well, and one's design skills -- and ability to assist one's clients -- will deepen immeasurably. And life will be more interesting, too.
"What you can do or think you can do, begin it. For boldness has magic, power, and genius in it." -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
"Another way to unleash creativity is to redefine the problem in the form of a question. If you move from looking for the answer to looking for the question, solutions present themselves...if you redefine the problem in terms of its possibilities, you maximize your creative possibilities." -- Richard Wilde