August 17, 2009

Graphic Post Today

In 1989, my English teacher and writing mentor Sally D. Ketchum showed me the schools new and top secret device: a Macintosh with an early version of PageMaker on it. I think I was allowed to sit in front of it a couple times, but rarely allowed to do anything because the computer and software cost a lot of money.

Yeah, the geekiness is not a new thing. For fun in college, my roommate Chris Bessert and I created a floor newsletter for all of our friends and floor–mates at Larzelere Hall in 1991 and 1992.

A year later, I was a rookie as Central Michigan University. I tried our writing for CM Life, but didn't really fit in with the crew. Maybe I was too young; maybe I was from too conservative of a community. CM Life provided a different view of the world than my 18 years had provided so far. Plus, one of the editors ripped my stuff up. I was covering field hockey. And, I was used to being the editor, so getting my writing ripped ... I didn't stick with it long, but in the process, I discovered a hidden away lab in Anspach Hall that had a few computers with PageMaker and Photoshop.

It's in that lab that I would get lost after class for hours at a time, learning how to use both programs. I asked questions of anyone who would listen, but I dabbled in the programs so I could learn them. They were cool — even these early versions that we would probably laugh at today. You could manipulate everything. I spent a lot of time in that lab during the next few years. I had graphic design classes and learned everything I could.

I had one of, if not, the last journalism minors CMU gave for education students. I taught yearbook (and created a newspaper class within the yearbook class) for five years. I ended up editing the school newsletter where I began my career. Where I work now, my superintendent called me in in '04 and said, "Rick, I'd like you to think about editing our newsletter." I thought it was a great idea and jumped at the chance.

Every issue I create, I learn a new "trick" for design or a new shortcut. I'm in the middle of Issue 1 for the year. It's due to the publisher this afternoon and will be in mailboxes on Friday. I don't know if this is typical of everyone who does this sort of thing, but when I get my copy, I look through with "fresh eyes" and find the errors, which are usually typos. I've gotten better and have created a pretty supportive group of folks who look it over prior to publication.

It started with one computer and one program back in '89. Now, it InDesign rather than PageMaker, but Photoshop is still the program for photo editing. With blogs, wikis, and print resources, there is no shortage of information on how to make these programs work for you!

1 comment:

brad said...

tigers just acquired aubrey huff rick..where you gotta stay on top of this stuff...