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When I was seven years old, my family went on vacation to Germany. Before we left, my parents bought my sister and I each a disposable camera, telling us we could take pictures of anything we wanted. This was a new power to us; we had the opportunity to create our own memories, to choose what gets preserved and what becomes forgotten. But we had to be frugal; we would be in Germany for two weeks and could only choose 24 moments to preserve. We snapped away, filling our film rolls and returned home with full cameras. After turning in the camera for development and receive the finished product, we were expectant and excited to see how our photography skills fared. My sister had taken plenty of photos of other members of our family, some of the large German castles we visited, a few restaurants we visited and the food we ate, various traditional vacation photos. I had 24 pictures of German road signs. I wasn’t aware of design’s omnipresence until I was in a foreign country where, while the road signs served the same function, they were visually different.

The next memory I have of design is being in middle school and I was helping someone create a graphic of a fish by taking a photo of a fish and removing the background. I was working in MS Paint and going pixel by pixel, separating the fish from the background. I should say that I enjoy teaching myself new software, but I only ever seem to learn by necessity. Three hours in and I realized that my doing-design-with-MS-Paint plan was flawed and I needed to learn Photoshop. Similarly, a year or so later, I wanted to create an animation for a website, so I created each individual frame and compiled them into a GIF, which had worked several times for me before. This animation was more ambitious and the resulting GIF was about 8 MB. I realized this was ridiculous and decided it was time to start playing around with Flash. This was back when it was called Macromedia Flash.

Despite an affection and interest for design most of my life, after high school I went to University of Michigan and majored in mathematics and computer programming. I had had classes in these subjects in middle school and high school, and enjoyed (and enjoy) them. In my unique sense of stupidity, I hadn’t realized that people could actually make a living as graphic designers, or it just never really clicked as a possibility for me. Two years into a Math degree and I realize that, while I am enjoying my classes, I won’t enjoy a lifetime of the potential jobs for me: teaching math or being an accountant. (This is an exaggeration, I know.) I left, and find myself here at the College for Creative Studies.

5 to 10 things that inspire me (in no particular order)

5 top websites

I use Google Reader to aggregate any website I would regularly visit, so I mostly only visit two websites: and With that said, these are some of the feed I look forward to seeing the little bold number of unread posts next to: