Who’s birdie?

birdiebirdie – formal name Birgit – is a gal equipped with a heart for the geekish and silly. Turning 50 didn’t help. At my workplace, surrounded by programmers, I am the only one decorating my desk with designer art toys. And then there are my markers. And black felt tip pens — can’t have too many of those. Did I mention my Faber-Castell coloured pencils? Entering a well-stocked paper store is a blissful experience that can make me all teary-eyed..!

Ever since I can remember, I have been drawing, colouring, and taking pictures. My dream was to enter the National Academy of The Arts to become an illustrator, but my parents urged me to pursue a secure income career in health services and save the doodling for my spare time. I still eagerly grabbed every opportunity to express myself artistically. My physical therapy study notes resembled illustrated textbooks. I made brochures for my sports team, painstakingly transferring Letraset letters to paper – this was before computers became household items. If anyone needed a poster made, I was the go-to person.

At the start of the millennium, I became a mother and stayed home with the boys for a few years. I dived into a world of HTML and later CSS, got my hands on a copy of Photoshop, and spent every spare moment (and night) teaching myself how to design websites. When I returned to the workforce, my newly acquired skills landed me a job with an advertising agency. For the last 17 years, I’ve worked with design – for the web, mostly.

So why enter school if my skills were already sufficient? Teaching yourself a skill will inevitably mean skipping some steps, and I hope to mend this by following a structured curriculum provided by – and under the guidance of – experienced designers. I am looking forward to being able to call myself a Graphic Designer, confident that I have acquired the skills for the title.