Kelly Sims

Musings on life, web design, beer and what happens when they collide.

Learning New Tricks The Same Old Way

I’ve started work on my first mobile app recently, and the process has been a familiar one.

Almost 15 years ago I was struggling to find work after making a move across the country back to Los Angeles. I’d been teaching myself web design at night, mostly for fun. I had no idea back then you could make a living doing this stuff.

At the time, my step-mother was looking to bring creative power back within reach at her publishing company. She asked if I would like to work as in-house graphic designer creating magazines and advertising. I jumped at the chance, and without much thought dove into it. I had no background in print design, and was only self-taught on the web and my aging PC. I had some work ahead of me.

A street map I created for a local chamber of commerce back in 2007

This was the start of where I am now. Under deadline, about 45 days if I recall, I had to learn QuarkXPress, print design concepts, layout, and typography. CMYK? What the hell is that? Bleed? Overprinting? Learn it and learn it fast.

The first publication I put out was horrible. I still have 2 copies, and it makes me cringe to see it every time. And yet, it worked. More work came in and with every publication and every advertisement, I learned. My step-mother/boss was an amazing resource and guide. I was a sponge, spitting back out magazines.

Once again I find myself learning a new thing, under deadline, and with a new set of tools. And once again I’m feeling that same rush of excitement and fear. This time in a very different medium, although so many of the concepts I learned so long ago are still important.

I’m an old dog in this industry; I’ll be 46 this March. I don’t worry too much about whether I’m too old for this work though. I just do the work, use what I’ve learned, and keep on learning.

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