The Designer’s Notebook

The Chemistry of 2011


Graphic Design

January 2011 is a pretty big month – it marks the official five, count ’em, five year anniversary for Redpoint Design. It marks the end of 2010, in which we saw explosive growth, not in terms of volume, but in terms of technology (social media and all that rabble). And it marks the start of 2011, which we expect will show more explosive growth. It’s also very close to my eleventh year working in design in Red Deer (May is close enough). But for those that voyeuristically follow my life, you would know that personally, I had a pretty terrible December. Ugly details aside, I “gained” some time for a lot of reflection. Let’s say for me, 2010 ended… abruptly.

Sitting here in January, on the ‘other side’, I’m excited about our upcoming 5 year mark, the new year, and all the freshness a new year brings. But it’s been such a reflective time for me, I’m really concerned with other things. I’ve been thinking a lot about how things have changed. I started out making brochures and annual reports. I sent proofs to clients in envelopes, and sometimes spent a full 8 hour day making them by hand. And in the early days THREE people shared ONE computer.

I remember getting the first email account, being terrified to send out that first pdf, and watching is awe (as a pink-eared rookie) as two (yes I said two) people worked for an afternoon doing an 80mb photoshop comp with about 6 layers, based on MY creative. As a cut-and-wax paste up guy, it was as though I was on Mars.

Then the first web guy – to this day the craziest person I have ever worked with. He invented machines, used Napster and was so completely erratic it was hard to believe. Now I’m on Saturn. At least now I use a computer. And I don’t have to share it. But seriously, this guy is nuts.

I’ve worked with so many people over the years, in all kinds of jobs. I’m a big believer in the “dream team”. I’ve had a few great ones. The Sport Chek team of 1995 in college, the climbing team of 1999/2000, and the design team of 2001. Dream teams are cultivated by careful planning, but mostly serendipity. They swing around every so often and create amazing work, and are something to be cherished. Usually you don’t notice how great it was until it’s over. As an employer, I now understand how hard it is to build a championship team. The Super Bowl doesn’t just happen.

The Dream Team of 2001

2001 was an amazing year. I worked at Focus Design under the wise tutelage of Dwayne Holland. We had the most talented creative team I’ve ever been a part of. We had it all. A brilliant junior designer is of course, the corner stone to any creative endevour, so I filled that roll. Dwight Arthur – now of Photek – was photographer, and image editing expert (yes even then). Carson Pierce – now of Ideamarket – was up and coming programmer at the start of the ‘CMS’ era of the web when we had to invent technology since there was no open source back then. Tyler Schroeder – I think at Pork Bean now – creative fireball, animator & living cartoon. Christine watched our backs and took care of the ooky money stuff. If you notice, we had a skilled creative in every possible roll you could want. In Red Deer, where good specialists are sometimes hard to find. We had about two years of superiority, and then life stepped in and people slowly eroded and went their own way.

The Dream Team of 2011

Since I am so passionate about ‘team’, I’ve yearned to develop those very dream teams we all hope for. Redpoint is at a major crossroads, and the exciting thing is, we are at the cusp of creating the next creative dream team. I’m so excited about our staff, the chemistry of our people and the abilities to produce good work for our clients. It’s really rare that I’ve seen the speed, quality and ability aligning in one group. We’re ahead of the curve with many aspects of design, and hope we can capitalize on the wealth of talent we have to offer.

So, 2010 is behind. The recession of 2008 is really far behind. Here’s to 2011, and to serendipity!

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