July 1, 2011

My name is Garret Voorhees and I'm a new Senior Designer here at Chapter Three. I come from the world of print, with a BFA in Graphic Design and MS in Print Media from the Rochester Institute of Technology. My graduate studies concerned the experience of reading in digital formats, and especially in web browsers. Through all of this, I never touched Drupal and only had a vague sense of its abilities as a web platform. However, I'm quickly absorbing the Drupal attitude, jargon and workflow and am excited to help Chapter Three create more engaging and effective web experiences. Typography is an ever-present focus in my work; I've studied calligraphy and type design for about five years now, designing my own typeface and practicing hand lettering regularly. The ability to finally render typography in a sophisticated and dynamic manner on the web is refreshing and exciting. Before joining Chapter Three, I co-founded Type Union, a curated online space designed to showcase typographic work from students and professionals. My next side project is Videogame Type, where I hope to build a space for discussion and analysis of typography in videogames. Gaming, like the web, has seen great leaps in typographic fidelity over the last few years but there is still a long way to go. I recently attended the Boston Drupal Design Camp at the MIT Stata Center. As someone who is new to Drupal and unfamiliar with its design community, this seemed like a great opportunity to get acclimated and connect with some like-minded people. What I found was an interesting blend of designers, developers and generally curious people, with a huge range of proficiency and familiarity with Drupal. The conference was structured so that attendees of all skill levels could gain value from the sessions available. Most important was the constant sense that the Drupal community is a family. Attendees were eager to help answer questions at the end of each session. Impromptu help sessions were organized at the end of each conference day to address more specialized topics. As someone who is concerned about usability for users, I was also encouraged by hearing initiatives to address usability in the Drupal backend. In fact, Acquia was conducting usability testing at the conference, gathering volunteers to try out some tasks related to creation of content types. I was one of those volunteers and had the opportunity to provide direct feedback from the perspective of a new user. As Dries himself commented during his keynote, design is going to be the critical factor in the evolution and expansion of the Drupal community. Building a platform that is both robust and approachable is a huge challenge and requires communal effort. Based on what I've seen so far I have no doubts that Drupal has moved beyond the early adopter phase and with community support will continue to grow. Thanks to everyone for a warm welcome so far. I'm excited to be a part of such a critical time for both Drupal and Chapter Three!