From Tea and Paste-Ups to Synchronized Text
I started my career as a general studio assistant; I made tea and did basic paste-ups and other entry-level tasks. Over the years, I worked my way up the ladder through various roles in publishing until I became art director at Simon & Schuster UK. From there I have become a freelance designer producing book jackets for some major names in book publishing in the United States and the United Kingdom, such as Wes Craven and Jackie Collins. And, I've used a lot of design software in my day.
In the mid-1980s when I began working in design, desktop publishing was just beginning. With all the technology available today, it is hard to describe how we worked back then—everything was all hand-work with film overlays and paste-up.
At the time of all of this, I was working for the U.K. arm of Macmillan Books in the art department. I was there when the company decided to computerize the art department, and installed Quadra 840 AVs, and design software such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and QuarkXPress.
I immediately recognized the breadth of the new possibilities that were available to me. After using QuarkXPress, I realized it was a revolutionary tool that was going to change the way we produced design. I am a fast learner and could see right away a vision of what I wanted to create.
Before desktop publishing, it would take two or three days to turn my concept into something that I could show a client. When I first got my hands on QuarkXPress, I discovered I could turn my concept into reality in a day, without film overlays, paste-up or any of the other mechanical aspects that used to slow me down. With just the click of a button, I could output full-color layouts. I was able to save hours, sometimes days, on each project.