Memory Lane: My Road to Being a Designer

Mar 7, 2016 | News, The Business of Design

Originally today you were going to get another post in the Uncovered series. But then I was doing some digital inventory and cleaning, and came across some old projects of mine. And I mean OLD. Like, some are high school, 15-or-more-years-ago old. So of course I have to share them, if for no other reason than a good laugh and a demonstration of how very far I’ve come. Book talk will have to wait; today is a walk down memory lane.

Apologies in advance for some of the small images- computer graphics resolution was not operating at the same level back in 2000-ish as it does today, so these are the largest sizes I have.

3D Modeling

Contrary to what you might expect, my first venture into computer graphics was not Photoshop, or even one of the Macromedia programs. Way back in middle school (I think it must have been 7th or 8th grade) my father gave me a copy of Bryce. It is (or was) a 3D world building/modeling program. As someone who was a sci-fi/fantasy fan even back then, this was the jackpot. It was awesome.

It did not, however, launch me into a career of world-building, the why being evident. I was way more interested in playing around with floating shapes, dramatic monoliths, and light effects than building actual worlds.


Though I did get better:


If nothing else, it helped me explore color schemes and launched my interest in digitally-produced art.


Then in high school, I had a free period and decided to take Art for a second time, which also meant I got to choose my focus for the semester. I chose Photoshop. This was version 5 or 6- yes, a long time ago. I immediately dove into album art and the Effects & Blend panels with equal abandon.

The Rose

Thanks, Mr. K, for indulging my Photoshop whims and still giving me a good grade.


Somewhere in this time period I also discovered fractal programs, and tried my hand at that. It ended up being a passing phase, but produced some fun things:


Growing Up

College saw me getting more into the programs I use today and learning to use them in a more sophisticated manner. Specifically with Photoshop, there is an art to using it subtly, something Younger Me had to learn by doing (a LOT of doing).


Though I had fun, too:


Photo manipulation is still one of my favorite design tasks.

Real World

Aside from all of these old projects, I also came across some photos that have a bit of nostalgia. My first internship and then my first job as a professional designer were at the same place: Pyles Communications, a small design firm in my college town of Marietta, OH.

This is the very cute building where our firm was located:
DCF 1.0
And this was my first office as a professional designer:

I think this is where my love of corner desks was born.

Needless to say, my style and skills have changed a LOT since these early pieces. 10-15 years will do that. But it’s fun to look back every once in awhile. There’s an exuberance to my early misuse of Photoshop in particular that makes me chuckle. If you haven’t already taken a look at my current capabilities, head on over to my portfolio.

How about you? Was there something you were almost embarrassingly bad at in your teenage days that you’ve since mastered?



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