My Journey Into Graphic Design

As I say in my tagline I have ten years of experience in graphic design and logo design.

You might wonder, how did I come by this experience if I didn’t go to school for graphic design?

The answer is dedication, a whole lot of determination, and ten long years of trial and error.

I started using Adobe Photoshop 7.0 in late 2003 when I acquired a copy to help a friend with his website development business. At the time I was fascinated with Photoshop filters and often downloaded new ones from the Internet to experiment with photo manipulation. I soon branched into adding text to the photos and attempting small projects for websites. I didn’t know anything about making websites, but if a task was set before me that would help complete one, I was game! It was fun, and it felt exactly like discovering a new hobby.

For the next year I experimented with the filters and with various aspects of Photoshop—steadfastly avoiding the more complicated yet extremely important tools such as the pen tool!

In early 2005 I met my now-husband and, eager to impress him with my design skills, created my first real graphic design project—his business card. Funny enough, I had no idea that what I was doing had a name. I thought it was just using my computer skills to create. I did not know I was a budding graphic designer!

In the spirit of honesty, when I find this card and scan it in I will post it here so we can all get a good laugh….

Throughout the next few years I continued using Adobe Photoshop 7.0, completely oblivious to the fact that Adobe was releasing newer versions. At the time I felt, why mess up a good thing? I had become intimately knowledgeable of 7.0 and had no wish to upgrade. I designed business cards and further altered photographs, dazzling my close friends and family with skills I grouped together with being able to blow a bubble gun bubble inside another bubble—I saw it as a skill that I would never use in a professional setting.

Fast forward to 2009 when my 6-year-old Gateway laptop was starting to show signs of being obsolete. 32GB hard drive?! It was UNHEARD of! I ordered my shiny new iMac, put the laptop in a storage bag and said I would never look back.

Except I did. Look back, that is. When I realized I couldn’t magically transfer my Photoshop 7.0 to the iMac, I was incredibly disappointed. I don’t know how many times I dragged out the old, heavy laptop with the 1024 x 768 screen resolution and brought up 7.0 to work on a project for my husband or family member.

In April of 2011 I finally decided to make a change. I had discovered Adobe Photoshop Elements, a smaller, much less involved version of the true Photoshop included in Adobe’s Creative Suite. Since the CS version came in a suite of programs and I didn’t have $1,500 to drop on a brand new copy (and although at the time I was attending college at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, no one had told me about the miraculous “Student Discount”) I purchased the $99 Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 and WENT TO TOWN.

Seriously, I felt like I was on top of the world.

My projects were coming out nicer, I was able to pay better attention to detail and to use layer styles, and going from a semi-complicated version of Photoshop (7.0) to this Elements 9 proved to be an amazingly smooth transition.

Purchasing Elements 9 really opened the door to creating some beautiful graphic design projects even though—get this—I was still unaware the term Graphic Design existed. I know. Shocking.

At this time in 2011 I was working on an Associate’s degree in Accounting from the University of Alaska Community and Technical College. I was about 2 years into the program (as a part-time student) when I discovered that wonderful title, and was able to come to terms with the fact that I didn’t want to be an accountant for the rest of my life. I could make a living doing something I love—GRAPHIC DESIGN!!

Needless to say I couldn’t just waste two years of school so I finished the program in two more years and graduated with the Associate’s of Applied Accounting. I then promptly changed my major to ART.

I quickly found a Photoshop class to take (and at the same time an InDesign class) and it was then that I found out Adobe offers a student discount, so I purchased the CS6 suite of programs. It was like Christmas every day, opening the new Photoshop and seeing all the shiny new buttons and options I never knew existed!

So here I am today, still on the same gorgeous iMac with the beautiful CS6 Photoshop, starting my graphic design business with the official title of (as it says on my business card!) Graphic Designer.

For all of my current clients, thank you for choosing me for your graphic design needs! I of course wouldn’t be where I am today without your business, as well as the support of my friends and family.

Thank you for reading my story!

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