Who’s birdie?

birdiebirdie – formal name Birgit – is a gal equipped with a heart for the geekish and for playful designs. Turning 50 didn’t help. At my workplace, surrounded by programmers, I’m 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? Or fountain pens? 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 CSS; I 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 20 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.