Design will always live in my soul. Despite abandoning a career in graphic design a few years ago, I’ve always enjoyed picking up little design projects here and there. I was at an educational crossroads back in 2004. Once I had been disenchanted by architecture and my inability to sufficiently grasp the concepts surrounding physics, my father suggested I explore something more creative—more artful. “You should explore marketing or advertising,” I can still hear him say.
Having returned home from two years in Europe and not able to afford leaving home yet, I decided against returning to University of Oregon and instead enrolled in the next best [local and affordable] thing: Portland State University. I had never really heard of graphic design before—I think I had associated it with computer generated images—but I nonetheless signed up for ART 100, Intro to Communication Design for Non-Majors.
Our instructor, Cameron Suttles, was for me the perfect balance between the logic of business and creativity of art-making. And the culmination of that introductory course, a travel poster using only the name of the assigned country and cut paper, instilled in me a passion and a curiosity about graphic design that was insatiable. That project was my first designed piece (and first typographic design), start to finish, comp to final product. I cannot describe the hours and the muscle cramps that my fingers endured, clutched around an exacto knife, cursing the shapes I had chosen. It still makes me proud.