IgnisArt Creative Design is a sole proprietorship own by Rachel Wilcox de Quinonez.

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Graphic Design

A brief history

This is a brief history of how things began. My background is in web development, graphic design, and fine art.  Things don’t always start the way you think they might, and backgrounds are important for understanding perspective.

I started doing web design in 1993 on a purely personal scale. The web had really only just gone live for the general public and the biggest civilian audience had to be the colleges that were starting to offer web access to their students. Web access in 1993 didn’t mean the same thing it does today. Primarily it meant a telnet connection and the ability to linx out to sites as text only and research with Veronica and Archie in the land of Gopher. Email was done through a Unix account in Pine or Elm, with Pine being the vastly superior choice. No bias on my part is leaking through, here, of course…

The world wide web in a visual form was incredibly primitive.

The primitive days

I was fortunate enough to get interested at just the right time. The early pages online were not anywhere near as complex as today’s websites and early HTML syntax was quite simplistic. Even though I was in high school, I had an older sibling already in college who provided me the ability to tap into the internet. I used to study source code for pages I liked and then try to reproduce the effects with my own coding experiments. By the end of 1994 I had designed my first website and put it online in the then fledgling Geocities (then called Geopages), which was still in the infant stage which required you to encode your files and email them off to the man who started it to be put into your account for you.

It was also in 1993 that I was given my first taste of graphic design software in the form of Adobe Photoshop 2.5. I didn’t have the best computer system to run it on, so it often locked up the system, but it was enough to hook me in completely. Even without layers and without undo (that’s right), it was an amazing piece of software. I can’t begin to say how many hours I spent in it during summer vacation teaching myself how to use the tools, as well as learning the meaning of patience!

Fast forward to now

These things are now many years in the past. The web, Adobe, and I have come a long way together. As they added features, I added skills. By the time our local university had added it’s first web course I was already designing websites for a living. In a way, I think it has been better this way. My knowledge and understanding has grown organically, just like the web itself, building a brick at a time as the bricks were made. I’ve seen the evolution of the technology and software from a development side which I think has given me a unique perspective not only on how excellent the technology of today is and how exciting the tools we have are, but on how those tools and technology work together with people to accomplish their goals.

I tend not to take for granted the things younger web designers do – not because I’m smarter, but because I’ve seen what really happens in real world situations and I’ve seen enough go-rounds of versions and technology, trends and their application, to recognize potential pitfalls and potential strengths that are easy to miss if you only know one way of doing things. I’ve also come far enough along to be confident in my abilities and I’ve seen first hand just how true it is that there are many ways to accomplish a goal. One designer means three solutions. Two? At least seven! And, it has been my experience that project completion time can be shortened and quality goes up when you are able to stay in close communication with your end client. The better a client communicates, the better the end result.