In high school my grades were lousy but I became a virtuoso doodler.
In the early 90’s I designed a rogue exhibition management database that curators were still using when I returned more than a decade later.
In the early 00’s I worked for information design guru Edward R. Tufte, seen here in a photo that I took. My main motivation was to learn how he made his three beautiful books, which I did by seeing every stage of production. In the process I made a few shekels and helped him research a fourth book. The essence of ET’s WIT (whatever it takes) design approach is serving the content through the layering and integrating of words, images and data.
In my 2003 doctoral dissertation I embedded image captions in footnotes. That may have been a first.
In my six years as curator at the National Gallery of Canada I worked closely with designers and technicians in reinstalling the entire European & American collection, totalling some 20 rooms of paintings, sculpture and decorative arts from medieval through modern times. Some of the changes involved major reshaping of the spaces through the removing and building of walls, and the whole experience taught me everything I needed to know about paint colour, lighting, sightlines, labels, cases, bases and frames. I also worked on temporary exhibitions including my exhibition of Richard Hamilton prints, which toured Canada.
In January 2013 I led a seminar/studio of talented architects in the production of twenty multimodal projects that can be seen on my Design Incubator website, where I describe my own role as that of a design producer.
Feeling uncomfortable teaching things I hadn’t tried, I re-taught myself web design, and I launched the sites you can see on the home page. Most of those are personal products in which I served as web designer, author, photographer and audiocast host/producer. All of which makes me a little more entitled to an opinion about design, which I flout most publicly on my Slow Ottawa Pinterest board.
More recently I’ve done some product design at Small Museums Canada. You can purchase the products here.
Those bottles haven’t sold yet because my Small Museums partner and I have moved into other things. But learning how to print high-quality weatherproof labels paid, off, because I’m able to thank Vision Zero Canada spnosrs with these bumper, bike and bin stickers.