I have a lot to thank the University of Oregon for, but I’d like to specifically acknowledge one thing. I almost walked out of a class sophomore year because the professor of a course on design software opened by saying her course wasn’t going to focus on learning the software. Rather, she was going to focus on art concepts and fundamentals. She made a point of saying by the time the course was done, Adobe would have changed half the buttons and introduced new ones. It’s just part of the process, and we’d be required to keep up with it on our own.

At the time, this distinction frustrated me. I believed mastering the software itself was paramount. It would be some time before I began to grasp the philosophy emphasized in that course, but now I think about it daily. My original mindset was that of a budding guitarist who just wanted to learn how to play Free Bird while skipping over learning how to play scales, notes, and chords. Believing that fundamentals matter has been one of the more important tenets of my career.

Matt Haliski