I recently wandered into The Urban Dictionary, and to my astonishment found that “Naje,” my domain name, is considered to be an actual word! Here’s the definition:
“It is to make large amounts of money with no effort or ‘a money making machine. ‘That guy is such a naje, he has money in his money with money!'”
Wow! Is that off base!
Due to my good fortune in having a brilliant computer-savvy son, I’ve had a website since 1995, within months of the inception of the World Wide Web. When he first created one for me, I was an advertising art director. It seemed a good idea to be able to put aside the ten-ton portfolio, replacing it with a showing of my work online. This turned out to be a somewhat revolutionary concept, very well received by all of those with an interest in my work. In fact, at the time, before Google, everything was Yahoo. When anyone went there and typed in “art direction,” my site was the first entry to come up for a couple of years. Free lance opportunities abounded as a result.
My domain had to have a name. I tried to get “Jean,” but predictably, it was already taken by a manufacturer of dungarees. So I just scrambled the letters: NAJE.
At around the same time I’d become infatuated with the computer myself. In fact, I quit my job at an agency, one that I hated, to enroll in the School of Visual Arts. I took a course there, learning a number of programs, but not Photoshop. I had the application on my Mac at home, though, so decided to figure out how to design a logo for myself.
Traditional logo design called for something simple, “graphic,” easily reproduced in black and white, and an image that would hold up in drastic reduction. All of these considerations were in deference to the requirements of printer’s ink on paper. It occurred to me that, in this new era, none of these rules really applied anymore.
In Photoshop, it was easy enough to find the brush tool, and to discover how to create colors. I found a reproduction of a magnificent Mantegna painting featuring the goddess Minerva charging a crowd of bad guys with a sword (“Triumph of the Virtues,” 1502). Her determination struck me as applicable, if only she was carrying a pencil instead of a more obvious weapon. It might be a self portrait of my mind-set as an art director.
I sat at the computer with the print on my lap, and just started to fool around. It took about two weeks to do, but has continued to be my logo every since.