One of the highlights of my career while living in The Netherlands was giving a design symposium at the Delft University of Technology, to Media & Knowledge Engineering first year students. While employed at Atos (formerly Atos Origin), an IT service company, I was approached by the university for my knowledge of print design. Many of the students were focused on the latest design technologies, but also wondered how designers worked pre-computer.
Here’s where I came in. I created a lecture that started with my design roots in high school, carrying over into a four year university design degree. In a pre-Mac world, I was taught lettering and typography, offset printing techniques, 3D rendering, layout design, etc.
The switch over to an electronic workflow was by sheer necessity as more of my clients were after Quark XPress and Adobe Photoshop knowledge. Right between the time of job postings with “computer skills desired” and listing software program skills needed, I made the decision to go digital. From a tiny SE/30 to my current-day assortment of iMacs, laptops, and displays, QuarkXPress, Illustrator, and Photoshop were the “must-have” skills. Compare that with today’s list of desirables, and many designers are faced with a lot of outside training above and beyond what they’ve been taught.
It was around 1993 that I would start to ask about getting more web design projects under my belt. I worked for a health care company in the Bay Area that was strongly print-focused, and it was a hard sell at the time. Luckily, I found a great position at a software plug-in developer company (that worked closely with Quark XPress), so I was on my way to working in web design. Those early days saw me designing web icons and a few banners for the company website.
In my talk, I also explained why Macintosh was the preferred platform for designers. In many European countries, the cost gap between Macintosh and Windows-based PCs are even greater than in North America. While at Atos Origin, I worked on a PC platform (but that’s another story).
This series continues next week…