The year is 1987, and the giant-haired version of myself is a sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin. Disillusioned and uninspired as only a 20 year old can be, I find myself hiking across campus to that bastion of black jeans and unfiltered cigarettes, The Art Department. I have found my people. More importantly, I have found my new major.
And so begins my life as a graphic designer. My parents/financiers have no idea what that means, and I fear my funding may soon be in jeopardy. My classrooms contain drafting tables and easels. The supply list includes paintbrushes and razor blades. Am I taking a class or remodeling a house? A laptop is where you put your napkin, a mouse is a small rodent, and Adobe Acrobat is a gymnast from New Mexico… The year is 1987.
In case you are wondering how to identify the illusive “Outstandingly Long-lived Designer” (O.L.D.), here are a few clues:
- Missing tips of two or more fingers
- Has worked with cameras larger than most one bedroom apartments
- Understands that zips and floppies aren’t the latest drug fad
- First computer was a MacPlus or SE
- Knows the difference between tracking and kerning and actually cares
- Remembers when clipping paths were made with scissors
- Permanent lung damage from inhaling too much spray mount (and from smoking in class)
- Has needed at least one unintended haircut due to a rubber cement incident
- Has actually heard of rubber cement and understands it’s not a form of birth control
- Can identify and work a proportion wheel
- Doesn’t think of bikini lines when the term waxing comes up in conversation
- Remembers when a spray booth wasn’t a place to get a tan
- Knows that Letrapress is not a dryer setting
- Can identify and use a French curve
- Understands that Swiss style is not a sexual position
- Would be okay if there were only seven typefaces in the entire universe
- Occasionally dedicates songs to Univers
- Loves the smell of Bestine in the morning
- Has uttered these words: “I won’t be a starving artist, Mom, I’ll be designing record album covers!”
- Knows what a record album is
So, what am I missing? Calling all designers who remember when MTV played those things called music videos… What say you?