There’s Always a First

“Every artist was first an amateur.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

UBC Logo

While digging through some old files, I came across the first logo I ever designed. The year was 1971. The Beatles were still advising us to “Let It Be,” while The Brady Bunch was showing us “how to be.” I was a senior at Arlington High School in Arlington, Texas, when I designed this logo for University Baptist Church. The ICHTHUS was a popular Christian symbol at the time (thanks to the Jesus People), so I combined it with a cross and the church’s initials. Our minister of youth, Davy Henderson, liked it so much he had it made into car window decals we sold to raise money for a mission trip to Michigan. It would eventually find its way onto business cards, stationery, signage, T-shirts and more.

Little did I know when I showed Davy that crude drawing, executed on a piece of typing paper with a cheap ballpoint pen, I would be setting the course for my life’s work. Such are humble beginnings … and the path of the true amateur.

Dictionary.com defines an amateur as “a person who engages in a study, sport, or other activity for pleasure rather than for financial benefit or professional reasons.” That was me. And if you dig a little deeper — back to the word’s origin — you discover it’s French, from the Latin amator (lover). That was me, too.

It’s been almost 46 years since I created that first logo, and I still find immense pleasure in what I’m doing. And if I had to, I’d still do it for nothing. Now, that’s love.