So I just came home from an AIGA-sponsored breakfast event with the very funny, very charming Alexander Isley. Alex is an incredibly talented and accomplished graphic designer (and youth soccer coach. But "he is a better designer than he is a youth soccer coach." Amazing what you find out in people's online bios) out of Ridgefield, and today he spoke about what inspires him. His great talk was peppered with things like his mother's copywriting portfolio, Spy Magazine (which he was the art director for), books, posters, and awesome advice ("be terrified."). It was awesome AND inspiring.

It led to a discussion in which people talked about what inspired them, and what inspired them to be who and what they are today. My friend Donna talked about a book report cover that she designed in grade school (that was thoroughly rejected by her teacher), another attendee spoke about the path that led him to photography.

My path to graphic design wasn't a simple, oh, today I'll be a graphic designer. Did I want to go into the arts? Absolutely. Was graphic design an option? Not for me. But due to a financial decision, I ended up in Greenwich (it was SO NOT that kind of Greenwich financial decision. Ironic that I ended up there, though), at a school where my classes were chosen for me, and at the end of the program I would be a graphic designer. The appeal was all of the fine arts classes; originally, I wanted to go into fine art and be this starving (but not really), tortured artist who lived in a loft and wore a lot of black and was just FABULOUS. The program started with drawing, painting, a ton of figure study--everything that appealed to my starving (but not really), tortured artist. Towards the end of the program, the computer was introduced; and I realized what a great medium it was (and is), and how much I enjoyed creating on it.

This morning, at the breakfast, someone asked my friend about her book cover: perhaps the teacher's rejection of the book cover is what led her down the path to graphic design. Some days I wonder what my career would be like if I had majored in fine art like I intended. Would I still have found my way into graphic design?

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