1976 to 2021

This website is a historical portfolio of my career not only in graphic design but also as an illustrator. It reflects my transition from the drawing board to desktop publishing in 1995 (after 19 years with pen, ink, type scale and PMT camera). This was a ‘seismic shift’ for graphic design and especially reprographic production. It required re-training and certification in desktop publishing as once again I found myself returned to college at the age of 40 - something of a shock and surprise as I acquired new skills in 'desktop publishing' and software applications to re-enter my chosen career.

Twenty six years on from 1995 - the speed and development of hardware and software together with the internet now provides a totally new creative avenue for graphic designers with online web design, 3D animation and motion graphics - now all achievable utilising our ‘swiss-army-knife’ of software applications.

For myself and graphic designers ‘of a certain age’ that experienced the transition from the drawing board to the software screen was at first frustrating. At the time, the often spoken opinion was that a graphic designer was not a ‘computer operator’. Traditional skills acquired by decades were very shortly performed by the new technology. Part of this experience relating to the transition of design and production skills before desktop publishing is described in my ‘CV’ from the period of 1980.

What our technology today provides is the ability to design, produce and deliver ‘online’ more quickly and efficiently than ever before - but that speed of creation comes at a price. Design requires ‘incubation’ and before the ‘desktop revolution’ that time would be available to produce preliminary thumbnail concepts with the client that then evolved into page layout that then proceeded to visualisation before final press-ready artwork - involving multiple stages of production incorporating typesetting, illustration, photography, line art and full CMYK specification. Now in 2021 - with free ‘online’ software, design templates and digital production tools available to everyone - content creation has in many instances resulted in a visualy bland homogenous style.

Alternately - today’s graphic designers can and do produce cognitive and clever, balanced and effective advertising, campaigns, print publications and a myriad of online graphics - all utilising the traditional disciplines of layout and typography which is as relevant today as it was 45 years ago when I started my career.

Just think for a moment - the ‘concept today’ of sending a motorcycle messenger with your layout design for approval, (no faxes then) to your client 50 miles away - to be returned with comments via ‘red-star’ mail delivery - which you would pick up from you local rail station. One of the many working practices that is thankfully, no longer required from the past.

I would not go-back to the working production procedures required from the 1970s or early 1990’s. Embracing software technology and acquiring new skills expanded my horizons on what I could achieve. My work in feature film title sequences and later ‘CGI’ would not have been possible before 1995.

This then is an introduction to my career. Throughout 2021/22 I will be up-dating my website with articles that cover over 4 decades. In the 1970’s I qualified as a photographer (commercial and industrial) after a three year apprenticeship. That period 1970/1973 defined my decision to go to Blackpool College of Art and Design (1973/76) after which I commenced my career as a graphic designer.