My name is Shelley Howard and I have been in the graphic design field for about 15 years. I studied traditional graphic design and photography, moved on to obtain my Bachelors Degree in Technical Communication & Design, and now I am currently in the ever-lasting process of earning my Graduate Degree in Information Design & Technology. My focus is on Instructional Design and Online Learning.
I can’t honestly say that “I’ve been an artist since before I could walk”, like many other about pages that I’ve read. I’ve always been very creative and had a camera strap attached to my shoulder, but I wasn’t necessarily trying to take creative pictures. I seemed to have this hidden analytical need to document everything and share with others.
Math and art class came easy, while history and science were uninteresting and daunting.
It wasn’t until my senior year in high school when I realized that I was either going to be finished with my classes by lunchtime, or I had to either find some electives or an occupational course to fill my time. That’s when I landed in an Advertising Design program that laid out the foundation for my career. Unlike other artistic fields, graphic design had the just enough of a complementary blend of creativity and analytical thought.
Like many first-born children, I enjoyed playing school with my younger brother and sister, where of course I was the teacher. I would usually attempt to teach them what I learned in school that day. Unsuccessfully. As I grew older, I saw the need of sharing information and teaching others becoming more and more prominent. While working at a bank during college, I found myself assisting the training department multiple times facilitating classes on various processes and procedures. At my weekend waitressing job, I was consistently the one volunteering to train new employees. I found it exciting during college to work on an instruction manual where I could manage both the writing and the overall design. After college, I ended up in the classroom, building lessons and lectures teaching graduating seniors how to build portfolios. I was teaching them both the technical aspects of development as well as helping them revise the design aspects of the content in their portfolios. That’s really when I realized I have found the perfect harmony allowing the creativity of graphic design, the technical process of communication, and the balance of it in Instructional Design.
I am a firm believer that graphic design is much more a science than an art.
Graphic design is solving a problem and communication through design is intended to give the audience a specific message. The message should not be open to interpretation; it’s concrete. Design is not about making something look pretty. It’s about sending a specific message to an audience. If the message is received, and actions of the audience are as intended, then the design is good.
So what am I doing now?
Currently, I work as a graphic designer for an engineering company in Utica, NY. My day-to-day job typically entails creating all the design elements for the company and their various contracts. Examples are items such as: logos, book covers, catalogs, newsletters, advertising, and web or software design.
At home, I have a wonderful fiancé, an intelligent 12-year old son, and a vicious pit bull named Rocco.
Just look at how vicious those eyes are!
Oddly enough, those science and history subjects that I cringed through in high school are endlessly interesting to me today. Some of my hobbies outside of my career are photography, hiking, astronomy, reading, sci-fi television, and gardening. You will likely see me write about them all at some point. So far my fiancé and I have hiked Bald Mountain, Blue Mountain, Panther Mountain, Sawyer Mountain, and Black Mountain. We are working our way up to some of the bigger ones in the Adirondack Mountain range. Take a look at those views!
The purpose of this site is to share my knowledge of design with other creatives. But I’ll also share my experiences and thoughts on other topics of interest. I’m really glad you are here and took the time to read about me. I hope you find this site helpful, and thanks for stopping by! If you’d like to connect on social media, you can find me at several places such as Facebook, Instagram, Behance, Twitter, and LinkedIn.