I never set out to be a designer: I was extremely lucky to become one. I have taken an interest in branding and graphic design for as long as I can remember, but the tools available to the amateur were very limited when I was young. A whole new world opened up for me when I used a Macintosh computer for the first time: I had been used to typewritten text, stencils and Letraset; now I discovered scaleable fonts and infinitely flexible page layouts.
According to my teachers I was using the computers all wrong. Why was I putting separate text boxes and free-floating pictures on blank pages, rather than just typing directly into word-processing documents like everyone else? Why did I insist on making logos for everything? Why did I always change the default fonts as soon as I started a document? Luckily for me, it turned out I was doing it right all along!
When I began work for a language school, I quickly became the ‘go to man’ for leaflets and adverts, created new signage for the building at a fraction of the cost that had been expected, completely redesigned the welcome packs for students and introduced a standard style for documents for the first time. My official job was organising airport coaches, but after a few mad years of juggling logistics and design I was told that a new Design and Communications department was to be created to handle all the design work for all the company’s schools and marketing staff around the world. I was to be the sole member of the department… and remained a one-man-band until an excellent assistant arrived, 14 crazy months later.
As a full-time staff designer, my time for work outside my day-to-day job has been very limited for many years, but I have occasionally been able to find the time to offer my services to local businesses and organisations.
Sometimes websites and e-mails just aren’t enough. I am adept at taking disparate information of varying quality and transforming it into appealing, user-friendly publicity material that stands out from the competition.
The LAL brochure from 2012 was a good example of a luxurious publication that was the envy of the industry.