Before I can talk about mobile and social, I need to give some background on myself. Unlike the vast majority of the folks in my cohort, I grew up in a pre-digital world.
I knew that I wanted to be involved in communication design well before I was aware of it as a profession. As a kid, I’d created a logo and ads for my own clothing line. As a young teen, I attended summer programs at my county’s vocational/technical school and spent a week in “commercial art” class, then another in “graphic arts” class. This was well before computers were in widespread use, so everything I learned about then was manual, analog. We learned about pasting up mechanicals, making marker comps, about stripping film and making printing plates.
In college, I majored in Communications and minored in Advertising Art. I began to learn more about the printing process; I designed and helped produce a summer course catalog for the university, which we used all in-house equipment to create. We used a typesetting program on a PC that allowed us to do copyfitting automatically rather than have to manually calculate it, although you could not see the layout on the screen. It was all coded.
I’d discovered that I had a talent for hand-lettering, which I used at my summer job in a grocery store. When the manager learned about my love of lettering, he put me to work making signs to announce sales and specials (which was SO much better than cashiering duty!). I’d also gotten an internship at a small marketing firm where my main role was creating hand-lettered mockups of Yellow Page ads that the owner used to sell ad space (as in, “Look at this great ad that could make your business more visible! I can sell you the space!”)
My first job after graduating was in a small printing company, where I honed my paste-up, typography, film stripping and hand-lettering skills, but it was clear that the manual processes were beginning to be replaced by digital ones – the emergence of Desktop Publishing. I enrolled in a program to learn what was at the time the Holy Trinity: QuarkXPress, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe Photoshop.
A few years later, having gained more experience in marketing, design, print production through full-time and freelance gigs (wow, I worked A LOT in my 20s), I landed a role in an in-house “Pre-press” department of a credit card company, where we pumped out direct mail campaigns like .
One score and five years have passed, and through several mergers, I am with the company that evolved from that direct mail volcano. I’ve had many varying roles, and every one of them has dealt in some way with communicating to customers. I am passionate about getting the right message to the right audience at the right time.
The thing is… so much of my background is based in the print communication world. And while I firmly believe there is still a need for print communication, it is just one element of the multi-channel way we all receive and distribute information (stating the obvious here, I know).
Though I have made many lateral moves in the company where I have learned more than I’d ever imagined about many aspects of the business, I’ve not been able to land a role that’s allowed me to learn about and manage those other channels of communication. To be honest, I’ve not even tried for many of those roles, thinking that I wouldn’t even be a contender, given my lack of digital experience.
Which is what brought me here.