- I grew up in Toronto
- I’ve lived in New York, Paris, Dublin, London and Basingstoke.
- I now live in Vancouver.
- I have a beautiful wife and 3 incredibly well adjusted adult children – who I enjoy spending as much time with as possible.
- I like movies, live music, a good pint of Guinness, the odd whisk(e)y, a glass or two of Riesling or Syrah (depending on the mood), good food and travelling.
- I sometimes like to mess about with photography – some of which you’ll find here.
- I enjoy working on projects with creative people and have been doing so for the past 13 years at Graphically Speaking.
Straight out of High School…
I secured a job out of high school, creating hard copy sales presentations generated using HP 8 & 16 pen plotters. DOS batch files (remember DOS?) sent via modem, one-at-a-time to a DEC 2060 mainframe in New York City.
Hardly a Personal Computer
The disk drives on the DEC2060 were the size of a small washing machine and held about 450 megabytes of data. If the file was correct, the plotter produced a page every 20 minutes or so. If there was an error the file had to be searched to discover the problem. We’re talking 1 colour monitors – no visuals on the screen – just code. It could have been a “91” typed instead of a “19” that caused the problem.
Toronto to NYC and back
After one year in Toronto I was transferred to New York where I continued to produce plotted marketing materials. However, paper was starting to give way to film. Companies like Management Graphics in Minnesota and Genigraphics in New Jersey had developed proprietary systems to create 35mm computer generated slides.
a LOT of film
Each slide required one file and allowed for a whopping 16 colours per slide, quickly evolving to 32, 64 and 128 colours (oh boy!). We even had the ability to create graduated colour. This allowed backgrounds to go from light blue to dark blue AND dark blue to light blue.
At first, there was a lot of trial and error…
From paper to film
Returning to Toronto, I found work for a company using a Management Graphics TTS (Table Top Slide) system to design slides imaged to a QCR pin registered camera.
Time to travel
Itchy feet and a yearn to travel took me to Paris. The TTS system was popular in North America but, because the software was in English, there was only one company using it in Paris.
For them it was both a “pro” – a unique system unlike anything else in Paris at the time, putting them ahead of the pack … and a “con” – the lack of English speaking operators to produce the work. Being and english speaker with a year of experience, I was hired on the spot.
Paris is home for almost 5 years
I loved Paris so much I decided to stay and continue working.
By the late 80’s, the German company DALIM had developed a European slide system. It was far more robust in its design capabilities and colour management using thousands of colours at this point and allowing for greater creativity. Files were also portable, so to speak …
OK, maybe not portable…
The system operated using 8 inch floppy disks that stored about 4 slides per disk.
Backing-up an 80 slide presentation was sometimes be a bit of a trick.
A chance New Year’s meeting and an 18 month long distance relationship between Ireland and France? There could be only one outcome…
We were married in 1988.
My experience with the Dalim system allowed me to continue to live and work in France, however the language proved a barrier to my new wife’s carrer goals.
So it was time to travel again.
We moved from France to Ireland and, after a brief stint in Dublin, I landed a new job in the heart of London, so it was off to England.
A son, a daughter and another son all made appearances during 5 years in the UK.
I continued in the slides business producing presentations for couple of different companies and on a freelance basis … but in the main – it was 5 years watching a family grow.
durring the time in England I was completely unaware of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or anything they may be doing to completely disrupt the status quo…
The development of PowerPoint in the mid 90’s changed the presentation graphic landscape forever. A $3500 PC or MAC could do more than $75,000 DALIM. The Monolith systems with their huge price tags were gone and the 35mm slides business followed closely behind.
The end of tactile … the beginning of digital
In the fall of 1994, family in tow, I returned to Canada, settling in Vancouver.
For the first 5 years I embraced PowerPoint and established myself developing high-end presentations. It was a natural progression from the days of 35mm slides without the hassle of chemicals and film.
The rise of “The Net”
The internet started to make and appearance. So while I continued to produce PowerPoint presentations I started teaching myself how to design for and build web pages.
It was very rudimentary in the begining…
Haven’t looked back
In 2006 I was fortunate enough to find a job designing for the web full-time and have been doing so ever since, constantly learning and evolving with the industry.
Paper charts and graphs, 35mm slides, PowerPoint and the Internet!
The Communications Design Program at
The School of Life!