I love my job.
Absolutely, no doubt about it — I love what I do.
I have been told that there are some people out there who wake up in the morning, dreading having to go to work. I couldn’t even imagine…
Let’s travel back in time…
My older brother came home from high school in the late 80’s and told my father he was going to take a Graphic Arts elective class.
When it was my turn to sign up for elective courses, I remembered the interesting things I saw my brother created, so I decided to give it a try. The rest, as they say, is history.
I was hooked!
For my entire four years in high school, I spent as much time as I could in that classroom. The Graphic Arts I and Graphic Arts II courses were not enough… I worked in the classroom as a teacher’s aid as well as a production student. Yep, I was the kid who would attend all of my required classes, yet I would turn in my assignments ahead of time so I could be in the room, tucked in the corner, at the end of the senior hall.
The structure Mr. C enforced in the classroom was the same as any job a grown-up would have. You were required to be on time, do your best, and generate a profit for the classroom. All of the local businesses in that small town had notepads, envelopes, and business cards that were designed and produced by the students in the Graphic Arts program of my high school. The business would pay what they thought was a fair price for the quality they received. The amount of money you generated in the classroom determined your grade.
The technology was emerging while I was in school – we had a computer sitting against one wall that we could use to design. However, we could only do this after we perfected how to set and cast type in lead; inlay a paste-up board; shoot a negative with absolutely no shadows; create photo separations with filters on a horizontal camera and tray developed film by hand, making sure to achieve a “solid step three.”
As I was running an AB Dick 890 press one afternoon, Mr. C asked me what my favorite part of the class was, what I liked to do best and what I wanted to do as a job. Without hesitation, I told him I loved it all and wanted to do everything. He pondered a moment, then stated that in order to do that, I would need to own my own print shop.
He planted a seed, and I spent many many years thinking I would do just that. Eventually, I realized that owning a large print shop is not for me. There are too many games that print shops play when bidding on print jobs. Games, that I feel are immoral can be put on a par with used car salesman tactics…
So, I set aside the idea of owning my own printshop – for now at least.
After college, many years, and job titles later, I applied for a job as a Customer Service Representative / Graphic Designer at a printing company in Southern Oregon. I had little experience with software and working in prepress, yet I had many years of running various presses. On numerous occasions throughout my printing career, I mumbled curses to graphic designers who thought just because it looked good on screen, it would print perfectly.
This experience empowers me with knowledge, tricks, and workarounds that most graphic designers will never obtain from sitting behind a keyboard. I do not cut corners when it comes to a design project, but I do avoid elements that will make your product seem less than professional.
I am always willing to share and teach what I have learned to others. If you have questions regarding design, let me know!