[thechat] What do *i* do?

Dave McLean thechat at dwcreative.com
Wed Apr 11 00:35:42 CDT 2001

Well let's see...

Currently I am an in-house freelancer for a local advertising agency that
has been in business for almost 50 years. I work on all manner of projects,
but I was originally brought in to support the Web endeavours of the only
Art Director in the house that knew anything about the Web. She's a great
Art Director and is learning Web dev as fast as I have been since 1995.
We're good partners on projects and she motivates me to keep up my visual
design skills.

I am a hack.  Not entirely afraid to say it to you all, but afraid that
someone at the agency will find out.

I am a generalist. Let's go through my background. When I was a kid I wanted
to be an Air Force pilot. I was an Air Cadet in Canada and even got my
pilot's license, but when it came time to apply for ROTP (similar to GIBill
in US) I decided that my grades weren't good enough and went to regular
University. I took Computer Science and Math.  I always had a thing for
computers. Failed math.  Switched to General Studies and found an interest
in Communications Studies learning about Marshall MacLuhan et al. Started my
own Web company and volunteered for the Web site of the Student newspaper.
Wrote articles, mostly opinion-based. A lot. Still have my pilot's license
and finished my B.A. (2000) in five-years of study, mixed with work and
running my business.

In winter '99, hooked up with some rebels from the monkeyjunkies mailing
list and became an evolt.org admin member, before we even had a name, logo,
or Web site. Fast times. Can't believe it's spawned five-odd mailing lists,
three significant sites and hosts under 1500 members now. I remember the
days when I begged my friends to sign-up for thelist so they could ask
questions and generate discussion.

Anyway... I digress... what do I do all day?

I surf, mostly Mac advocate sites, and read the hundreds and hundreds of
emails a day that these lists generate. I try to read them all.... alas I do
actually have to do some work.

Some days I work on taking designs from the art director and make them into
functional sites, other days I build sites from the ground up using my own
designs. I learn new stuff everyday. And some days I make corrections in
Quark all day long. I find this most boring.

Recently I worked on a Multimedia presentation for a major national
telecommunications client and flexed my Flash muscles. I like challenges,
but can't get into learning code (well... I do know HTML and now CSS).  Is
it possible for a designer to really get into coding? Am I even a designer?

Is anybody still reading?

I really want to run my own Ad agency and in three years I plan on doing it.
There are many things that they do where I'm at now that I think could be
improved upon. Then again, what do I know, I'm just a hack.

"Technically, Windows is an `operating system,' which means that it
 supplies your computer with the basic commands that it needs to
 suddenly, with no warning whatsoever, stop operating. "

       --Dave Barry

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