A Web Designer Looks at 40

Page Design team

In a fit­ting end to our ret­ro­spec­tive series of blogs, Mike gives us some inter­est­ing insights about his fate­ful jour­ney to becom­ing the lat­est part­ner at Page Design. Thank you again to all of the great peo­ple we have been able to help over the last 40 years. We wish the best for you and your fam­i­lies and look for­ward to anoth­er 40 years of great (Page) design!

In 2003, a Super Bowl par­ty changed my life. I may be exag­ger­at­ing slight­ly, but as I look back, I think this par­ty was a key moment in my career.

At the par­ty, I was talk­ing with an acquain­tance I had met a year or so before. We were both rel­a­tive new­com­ers to Sacra­men­to and we both had a love for graph­ic design so there were no short­ages of things for us to talk about. He had men­tioned how he had recent­ly start­ed work­ing at a design stu­dio in Sacra­men­to called Page Design. This guy was good. I had seen some of the illus­tra­tion work he had done, so I knew any place he chose to work must be top-notch. The next day, I looked up Page Design online and was so impressed with the types of projects and qual­i­ty of the work they cre­at­ed. I dreamed of work­ing at a place like that, but I doubt­ed I had the design chops to work with a crew like that. I mean, look at that stuff! At the time, I was a bit of a graph­ic design pre­tender. I was cre­at­ing lay­outs at a mag­a­zine com­pa­ny, and while my skills were improv­ing, I doubt­ed my skills were up to par. Oh well, maybe someday.

In through the side door

By 2010, I had become a bet­ter design­er, but my main focus had become the web, and I had learned HTML and CSS so I could build web­sites. I still did­n’t con­sid­er myself a real­ly strong design­er, but I knew my way around all the cur­rent web tech­nolo­gies. In Octo­ber of 2010, I was fur­loughed from my job and was con­tem­plat­ing my next move as I worked on get­ting my per­son­al web­site ready to show­case my work. It was almost ready. As I worked to get the final pieces in place, I saw a job post for a web design­er at Page Design. I pan­icked a bit.

“Page Design? A Web Design­er? I can do THAT. But my web­site. It’s not ready yet! AHHH!!”

My pan­ic turned into a clear focus. This was an oppor­tu­ni­ty I could not let slip away. I worked through the night to fin­ish my site and sent in my reply to the job posting.

A few hours lat­er my old acquain­tance gave me a call to set­up an inter­view. After a few rounds of inter­views and a gru­el­ing(?) test I was offered the job I had want­ed for years. I always joke that I got into Page Design through the side door. My design skills alone may not have got­ten me in, but my web skills were the Tro­jan horse I need­ed to get into the building.

It wasn’t just a mirage

Mike Hendry
2011: Two months into my new job at Page. Look at how hap­py I am.

It did­n’t take me too long to real­ize that Page Design was exact­ly what I had imag­ined it was back in 2003. The work that was being cre­at­ed was superb, but the spe­cial ele­ment was a tal­ent­ed group of design­ers who were dri­ven to cre­ate beau­ti­ful and effec­tive designs.

For the near­ly 10 years since I joined the team, I have been con­tin­u­al­ly impressed with the work that we have pro­duced. There have been chal­lenges, humor­ous dis­trac­tions, and some NSFW con­ver­sa­tions along the way, but it has­n’t stopped us from cre­at­ing pro­fes­sion­al work that we are proud to call our clien­t’s best work.

About a year ago, my old acquain­tance invit­ed me to lunch. This was­n’t a strange request since we still worked togeth­er every­day, but I could tell this was­n’t just an ordi­nary lunch. I sat across the table from Eric, my old acquain­tance, turned sup­port­ive boss and good friend. I tried to play it cool as he asked me if I would like to become a part­ner at Page Design. This was anoth­er oppor­tu­ni­ty I could not let slip away.

Page Design team

Looking Ahead

In Decem­ber of 2019 I offi­cial­ly became a part­ner at Page Design. I could­n’t be hap­pi­er. Today, I still see a lot of the things that drew me towards this orga­ni­za­tion back in 2003. We have a real­ly sol­id team who is skilled, thought­ful and cares deeply about the work they do. We have fun and inter­est­ing clients who expose us to new worlds and allow us to apply our craft to new things. These are the things that make me excit­ed to come to work each day.

The last few months have been chal­leng­ing for the world; our lit­tle busi­ness is no excep­tion. With all the chal­lenges we have faced, the biggest bright spot has been the peo­ple of Page Design. Our group has been pos­i­tive, resilient, and is still focused on cre­at­ing qual­i­ty work. I am real­ly thank­ful to have the group we have today, and I am real­ly excit­ed to see what the future has in store for us.

It is amaz­ing to me that a sin­gle, small, graph­ic design com­pa­ny can last for 40 years with all of the shifts that have hap­pened in the indus­try. The way that graph­ic design has evolved over that time is remark­able. We have learned to apply our craft to a wide range of mate­ri­als and devices we nev­er could have dreamed of back in 1980. It will be fun to watch as the indus­try con­tin­ues to evolve and I am excit­ed that Page Design can be a part of that evolution.


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