I approach design from the perspective of a curator and editor. Beginning in junior high school, I helped edit their first literary magazine, Crossroads, in 1994. From then on I worked on numerous publications, from newspapers to yearbooks and literary magazines. In High School in Mountain Home, Arkansas from 1996 to 1998 I facilitated the conversion of both the student newspaper, Contrails and the literary magazine, Windows, from a print, wax, and paste operation to desktop publishing for layout and production. In addition to writing for both publications, I was a layout editor and won several awards from the Arkansas Scholastic Press Association all three years for writing, layout, and design.
This early interest in publishing stayed with me and in college at Arkansas Tech University (ATU) where I majored in Journalism. I designed column templates and nameplates for the ArkaTech and wrote editorials and opinion pieces. While at ATU, I also began designing and maintaining websites for various departments and colleges on campus. My background in layout design and my tech-savvy nature helped me excel at figuring out how websites should be presented and organized. My senior honors project took my document design and publishing skills to a new level. I converted the ATU Undergraduate Catalog from a series of WordPerfect files to document management and production software (Adobe FrameMaker) to produce both a printed and online version. Also during this time I was given the opportunity to design the university homepage which was used from January 2002 to October 2004.
After graduating I spent the summer working part-time for the university to create a Adobe Flash-based CD-ROM that was mailed to prospective students. I was responsible for the entire design and production of the piece, from the mailer to the interaction of the CD itself, which was sent to 20,000 high school seniors in Arkansas in 2002 and 2003.
My first full-time job after ATU was as the Academic Publications and Online Editor for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock where I was responsible for editing the Undergraduate Catalog from 2002 to 2007. I did the same conversion to this catalog as the one from Arkansas Tech but I also became more involved in academic committees who’s actions and resolutions created the content so I worked closely with faculty and administrators to make the document more cohesive and readable.
The process of editing the catalog and the desire to continue my education led to the graduate program in Professional and Technical Writing. I also worked on other publications for Academic Affairs and in 2009 I served on the writing team for the NCA 2009 Self-Study Accreditation Report.
Each year, students in the Department of Rhetoric and Writing produce a collection of non-fiction essays in the journal Quills and Pixels (Q&P) and in 2010 I was on staff via a course in Production Editing and took the roll of Layout and Design Editor. It had been a while since my last literary publication and I was excited to take some design principles that I had learned in web design and apply them to print. I had been reading about how a common baseline in a document helps to achieve a consistent vertical rhythm throughout the piece and was lucky enough to apply the principles to Q&P.