Legacy Designs

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I have been doing this for so long and I have so many old designs that I would never allow to be used today, but I wanted to share my evolution as a designer.

There was a clear delineation in my career where I had to quit and work in food service to support my daughter and myself.

I was a single mama, and while I was really talented and designing websites, I was also self taught. At that point “designing websites” also meant creating the “branding” for it, although I didn’t understand that at the time. I would design and code the website layout from scratch, literally raw HTML and CSS, but I would also design the logo, choose the fonts, and pick the color palette.

Check out some of the work I did before I learned the ins and outs of not just brand identity design, but business too. Because you can’t be an effective brand designer without having a keen understanding of what makes a business work.

So take this work with a grain of salt, this is before I knew better folks.

DZNROKR (2000)

I also was (am) a bit of a fangirl.

So naturally, I also designed a TON of fan sites in the early 2000’s. And I did this under a silly name that no one could pronounce. (It was pronounced Design Rocker)

Neon Lights Studios (2000)

This was my baby business, the one that got me started. I was still in high school when I started selling websites.

I named it Neon Lights Studios because I wanted to put my client’s “name in lights”.

I don’t know what happened to the screenshots I had, but it was a dark mode style website way before dark mode was a thing (we’re talking 2002ish, baby). I used a tiny block font for everything, and the turquoise on black color scheme was most definitely awesomely jarring. Let’s be glad these designs are languishing on a hard drive, and I can’t be bothered to find the 20 year cords to hook it up.

But, I had no idea how to actually run a business, so I went to work at McDonald’s and devoured everything I could find about how to design effective brands. I didn’t really understand my own problems back then, but I knew I LOVED the creative part of websites, which truly was the brand identity aspect.

I caught a break and got a job with a local agency.

Unheard of in my small town. But they were a toxic startup, and I learned that I’m not made to sit in someone else’s office.

So I quit and went back to McDonald’s. And I was paid about the same for a better working environment, too.

It wasn’t until I dipped my toes in a few years later that I began to create real brand identities. See what came next…

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