Tag Archives: Web design

Graphic Design, Web Design and Writing: How I Got Started

21 Mar

I’ve always been a creative person. I was always one of those kids who was excited about art class, always drawing, seeing my artwork on the fridge (thanks, mom). This turned into a love of music as I got older.

I decided that being a rock star was what I wanted to do. In fact, to this day, I consider myself not necessarily working a day job, but instead fleshing out an elaborate backup plan just in case the rock star thing doesn’t happen. Still dreaming.

 

Carvin Ultra V 24-fret Neck-through with Kahler tremolo

High school me, rocking the flying V. I designed the logo on the bass drum and the backdrop behind the band. This guitar makes the sounds in the clip above.

So I played guitar in bands, graduating later to bass, and I was always the one creating the flyers, coming up with the T-shirt and logo designs, and the banners behind the stage. The visual element to music and promotion was something that always fascinated me, and it was something that I just always enjoyed doing. I would cut words out from newspaper headlines, or pictures from magazines, then arrange them into the name of the band and the name of the venue. Little did I know I was teaching myself layout and typography. I was just having fun with it.

I’d kept on making flyers for my bands’ gigs and other bands’ shows, then I get into college. And that’s when I discovered I had a knack for writing. Turns out you have to write a lot of papers in college. In fact, I went to college to major in art, but the program, while good, had a way of breaking you down then building you back up their way, and I just wasn’t having any of that. It took the fun out of creating. But I didn’t know enough about writing to be put off, so I majored instead in English, and along those lines, I was hired by the university newspaper in the features department, reporting and writing a couple of stories each week.

I also minored in communications, which meant more writing. This was while also taking classes like creative writing and expository writing, while at the same time having a story or two due for the paper every week. I found it to be like working out – the writing mindset is a muscle to be developed.

Graphic Design Examples

Some examples of my early print graphic design work.

But amid all this writing, at the newspaper I saw how it was laid out: electronically. You mean you can just scan in a photo, scoot it around with a mouse, then arrange the text in just the right size all right there on the screen? Genius. This was the mid-‘90s, and this turned me on to the world of modern graphic design, using a Mac running Aldus PageMaker (ancestor of Adobe InDesign). And this opened up a whole new world for me, rekindling my love of layout, typography, and all the things I had been doing for years by hand with my gig flyers. Hello, career.

Behance.net Portfolio

My Web Design Portfolio at Behance.net

From there, I just taught myself. I had a passion for this. I would dive into software, using tutorials — that’s how I learned Adobe Illustrator, by going through the exercises on the application CDs. Also, I began recreating graphics and advertisements on my own just to understand their principles and build my portfolio. Gradually I built enough experience and projects to turn my passion into a professional career, including learning html and CSS for web design. And to this day I’ve had a great run as a graphic artist, web designer, and writer.

Just in case I don’t become a rock star.

What do you think? Has your passion led to a career, or the other way around? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Podcast Time! Make Your Own Website, Mobile Photos & More: The Less Desirables

26 Jan
Behind the Mic with The Less Desirables

Behind the Mic with The Less Desirables in Studio 2A

Busy days at rsmithing.com! I’m a featured “guru” of graphic and web design on this week’s podcast of Winston-Salem, NC-based The Less Desirables.

Click to Download & Listen (.mp3)

TheLessDesirables.com

The Less Desirables Site

I’ve had the great pleasure of working with these fellas to design their logo and website (among other projects), and they invited me over to Studio 2A for a chat about graphic design, websites, social media, and what goes into developing all of this (and more) for a business, for a blog, or just for personal enjoyment.

I manage to ramble on about WordPress, apps, Instagram, photography, blogging, and how to use PowerPoint with MS Paint to give your website a professional look (seriously, not kidding). We also review some coffee, Paraguayan heavy metal …and even beer. What’s not to like? This show has everything!

The Less Desirables, In Their Own Words:

The Less Desirables is a weekly podcast by Tim Beeman and Brian Attridge recorded every Wednesday. We cover an expansive array of topics, ranging from current and non-current movies to new music to the latest sports news to doses of pop culture, complete with a “Beer of the Week.” The idea is to give our audience a recap of the previous week’s news, while simultaneously previewing the upcoming week. We have a local, North Carolina flavor geared towards a national audience, but we never lose sight of our community.

You can download the podcast directly from the TLD site, from iTunes, and from a few other places, too. My sincere thanks to Brian and Tim, and to Mr. Eugene Sims, for having me over. It was a great discussion and I recommend the show to anyone seeking a dose of pop-culture, sports, tech, movies, music and a plethora of other fine distractions.

What do you think? Do you listen to any podcasts regularly? Have you ever been on a podcast, and what was that like? If not, what topics would you consider if you were to be invited? What’s your take on the topics covered in this broadcast? Let us hear from you in the comments!
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