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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