In scrolling through my bloglines this morning, I came across Jon’s Hicksdesign family album – a screenshot history of his personal site. At the end of the post was a call out for all designers to bring their skeletons out of the closet, so to speak. “Ok,” I thought, “I can do this.” So I remoted into “The Box” at home and started browsing through my archives. Like Jon, I managed to find all but 1 of the previous incarnations of my personal site…and it wasn’t pretty. In particular, the homepage that I created during my senior year of high school is REALLY BAD. So bad in fact, that it might make you wonder how I ever became a normal adult, much less a website designer. In the interest of inspiring the young, and preserving historical accuracy, here is the homepage that was once hosted on Geocities and the Pegasus servers at UCF from sometime in 1998 through about the middle of 2000:
This homepage came only a few short years after I discovered the internet in the form of dial up BBS servers and telnet. Back then, I dove head first into the web, starting my own BBS in Jr. High school and spending hours “on-line” playing ASCII and ANSI games like Trade Wars, Legend of the Red Dragon, and Kyrandia. These were the days when the whole world existed on Geocities, and Angelfire. Way back when my only real connection to the internet was through Net Zero (which I hacked to hide the ads), and when I was searching for the latest and greatest filters for Photoshop 4. Man, was I a nerd. A high school wrestling, grocery store bagging, Airwalk wearing nerd.
I loved doodling and creating digital artwork. I just didn’t know a thing about art. When I started college at UCF, something changed in me. I got a proper education in art history, painting, drawing, ceramics, graphic design, and somehow the light bulb came on. I went from creating website designs like the one above and MSPaint doodles like that nice Spam image to producing gallery worthy artwork and website designs like the one below which I registered the name jasongraphix.com with in 2001:
I said before that I found all but one of the previous designs for my homepage. The missing link was a design that I came up with after the one above while I was trying to learn css. Inspired by meyerweb, stopdesign, and zeldman, I worked hard to merge my knowledge of design and color theory with this “zen art” of css design. After a short time, I gave up on that design, toyed around with blogger for a while, and eventually merged the structure of the layout reservoir’s 3 column layout with my newfound skills with php and mysql to create my first blog in December of 2003:
I stuck with that design through graduation, and blogged with it for about a year. In October of 2004, I decided that I was starting to grow out of that shell. I had a much better knowledge of css, design, and programming, and my home brew blogging software was so under featured that it wasn’t worth developing. I actually got to a point where I was too embarrassed to even post my domain on other designers blogs. That was when I started working on Jasongraphix v4, the 1900’s theme you see below. Even though it was recently featured on CSSVault, I’ve had the design up since November of 2004. I really love the look, but as a designer, I’m cursed to always seeing where it can be improved. I would introduce it as the design you see here today, but I’m sure change is coming. Definitely not today, and probably not for a few months, but I’m itching for a redesign already. For that reason, here’s a screenshot:
So, what kind of skeletons are hiding in your closet?