From an early age I have been obsessed with imagery and aesthetics.
I think a lot of my affinity with visual design was first born out of my healthy addiction to video games during my youth. The first time I played Super Mario Brothers on the Nintendo entertainment system (NES) and saw the way that the colours and graphics perfectly complemented one another really caught my attention and was one of my first conscious introductions to creative interactive design and how it can, when executed to a high standard, bring joy and happiness to people which naturally leads to a valuable product.
It was while at secondary school that I got my Commodore Amiga 600 computer which first introduced me to the potential of digital design. I spent a lot of my time creating graphics and animations on Deluxe Paint 3 and 4 and was part of a mini school graphics scene with my schoolmates. It was great to be able to zoom in to pixel level and edit graphics at their elemental level. To this day, I still have a great fondness of Pixelart.
During my school career I performed best in subjects where visuals and creativity were the main focus which led to me attaining GCSE's in Art & Design and Design and Realisation (product design and development) before moving up to obtain an A-Level in Art and Design. My experience on the Amiga stood me in good stead when I finally moved up to PC-based design packages during my GCSE's. It was during this time that I became a confident free hand artist, often creating portrait sketches of celebrities. Good drawing skills are something which I think are essential to a designer in being able to communicate ideas effectively and creating strong foundations for projects.
The latter part of my school career coincided with the infancy of Internet access becoming widely available to the general public and it was something that caught my attention as soon as I had the opportunity to access it. It was during this time that I created my first homepage using the free webspace that came with may freeserve dial-up account.
After my A-Levels, I opted to go to Art college to take a Foundation diploma in Art and Design. This was a great year for me and really helped to shape the way I think about design projects. It was during this time that I had my first exposure (no pun intended) to professional photography. This was pre-digital but introduced me to film speeds (iso) Aperture control and shutter speed. We also developed out own film in the dark room which was fun.
After completing my foundation diploma, I moved on to the University of Wolverhampton where my chosen area of study was 'Design for Multimedia'.The course aimed to marry the fields of interactive media production with graphic design and digital technologies.
The course ran from 1999 through to 2002 which was a really interesting time for the emerging digital media field. Google was in its infancy and there was still as much emphasis put on creating CD-Rom and and DVD content as there was on Web design and development. During the time of my degree, the dot com bubble unceremoniously burst and a lot of notable companies disappeared.