Before working here in the university as staff and part-time teacher, I was once a graphic designer/artist focusing on print and editorial design. I worked for magazine publications, a design office, and a post-print production house (which, for me, was my first-hand preview of hell). I also did the occasional freelance gig (I got paid with siopao and iced tea once).
Though a graduate of Creative Writing, I also took subjects in graphic design (“info design” as the school has labeled it) which had somehow sparked the “visual” side of me. In fact, I was quite into typography and book design. I went nuts over Jan Tschichold’s layout theories, and since I love books it wasn’t difficult for me to dive into into the realm editorial design. My knowledge in web design is zero though, and as much as I tried to enter the gates of HTML land I found it challenging to sift through the program codes and other wawawa jargons.
Anyways, back to my college musings: there I learned how to handle Adobe CS2 software and learned some composition/production techniques (we used to call it “Mad Skillz”). I was, however, in love with Adobe InDesign. In fact, I learned how to use that program first before Photoshop (the second one was Illustrator). My first major design project was the interior and exterior layout of our CW batch book Salamin.
What I love about the design program of AdMU is that they value theory first. Technique merely follows. Sir Ali, one of the first few teachers of Info Design, introduced us to various design principles and the people behind them. We learned how to appreciate function — every color counts, every type matters, every single adjustment in measurement could change the way we respond to things. To design is to bring order; to design is to provide solutions using research, dialogue, and of course, common sense.
I miss the ID peeps. I was the only CW person in the group and somehow I got “adopted.” Everyone had his or her DeviantArt account and we all had our distinct voices when it came to style and execution. Vector art was the rage back then, and each one would pop open Adobe Illustrator in the morning to finish some personal artwork, to be uploaded preferably on the same day.
We also had this design lab at the third floor in CTC where we used to hang out (eMacs yo!). Sometimes we had the occasional overnights in the lab whenever a deadline was lurking around. And the bonding moments were awesome too. We went to Mister Kabab (West Avenue) at least once a month to gobble a plate full of special chelo kababs and ox brain (don’t forget the Mountain Dew and extra rice).
After graduation not everyone took the designer’s path. I worked in one of the university’s publication office as a newbie grad. I then resigned after six months, went home, then went back to the Metro — specifically in Makati — to test my mettle.
We Were Designed
The static spark on the door knob,
The makeshift beddings made of cardboard
(though we once had a foam and blanket),
The silent taps from keyboards —
The shy clicks from mice.
The silly conversations revolving around style,
theory, technique, artist, DevArt,
and the occasional gossip.
The creative conflicts, the resolutions,
The monthly trip to Mr Kebab,
The semi-monthly drinking binge at Lech’s place.
Our spirits are weaved in vectors,
Our minds are composed in layers,
Blame it on function,
but never on form.
*Pics are from Ali Figueroa’s multiply page. Uploaded with permission.