Design is a very broad term. I came to it through the back-door of technology, merely having an eye for what others missed. But I’ve completed enough projects to call myself a designer, creating and building over thirty websites – including graphics, content, and coding. I also dabble in graphic design and even some gardens and interiors. So yes, I’m a designer, but I like to take my ideas all the way through to completion. And don’t ask me to draw a perfect circle, as I never got into that part of it although I much admire those who can.
The graphic elements of my web design work were always a minor part of the budget, because I mainly worked for small businesses, interest groups and individuals. I always urged them to focus on delivering their essential message rather than playing with graphic elements. But yes, we played with those as well.
I built my first website in 1999 for my husband’s writing. He bought me a new computer and said “Here, learn this,” so I did. Early days then and such things were actually possible. Today’s internet is so complicated that I would recommend an expert – or one of the many DIY solutions, where all the technicalities have been resolved on your behalf. That’s what I do. I’m now on my 7th platform and left hand-coding behind long ago. This site is built on WordPress. Why reinvent the wheel?
Books and Printed Materials
Occasionally, I design books – from concept development to graphics. A template, DIY program or DTP specialists help me with pre-print formatting, but it’s doable and I love printed books. I designed and type-set thirteen books for my husband. I also did a privately published coffee-table book showcasing an award-winning villa and its architecture. Of course, I have designed various brochures, business cards and posters for my own projects and events.
Interior Design and Digital Art
MagnaGarden (my digital art) is largely an interior design project, where we work on-site and create renderings to help clients envision their future spaces with my art on their walls. It’s also my first project where the graphic presentation and branding was properly developed and I feel it really fits the theme.
In terms of interior design, I have considerable personal experience, although I don’t practice the profession. My husband and I executed and supervised a number of home renovations – I’m good friends with drills, saws, jackhammers, laying lino, carpets, painting, tiling, building furniture and even some basic electrical work. This goes way beyond 3D graphic renderings or matching curtains and pillows. Our renovation projects included four homes, our summer cottage, a pub, a sweetshop, two galleries and project supervision on four flats. That’s our most hands-on and dirty-jeans design experience to date.
And, last but not least, I love landscape design. Because of my husband’s thirty-year career as a professional landscape architect in America, this is one area where I must often second-chair. That said, together we helped form or maintain six private gardens, including one in Italy and another in France. The one I own is still an uphill struggle, literally. It’s located in a former vineyard that overgrew with briars and my parents turned into a garden some thirty years ago. It feels like it will take another thirty to bring my vision into reality.
I currently don’t offer my design skills as a service, unless they are a part of a larger project as one of its elements. But I’m easy to seduce if your project is interesting or I might know the right person. Not surprisingly, I ended up writing and translating a lot about design, because my primary clients are glass design companies, furniture designers or restorers, and artists, as well as universities teaching art and design.