Who Is This… Belafonte?

Who Am I? (the really short version)

I am Aaron M Baxter, a.k.a. Aaron Belafonte, a.k.a. "the Belafonte". The name comes from the early days of MSN Instant Messenger. I used it as a screen name back in 1999 and decided it had a certain ring to it. So, naturally, I went to the cell phones of every member of my immediate family (and some of my friends), and changed my name in their phone books. So if any of you are interested in changing your name, that’s pretty much how to go about it.

I graduated with an Associates of Fine Art from Angelina College in 1999. I started out in the print industry with my first job at The Lufkin Daily News. I was there for five years when i took a year-and-a-half hiatus from the full-time world to freelance in 2003. In ’05, after a brief return to the newspaper, I eventually moved to Houston where I currently reside.

The Belafonte vs. The Interweb

Now, I’m doing this whole web thing. I work for an internet marketing firm and am a fairly active participant in events in Houston’s Web community.

I started studying and using CSS in ’03 with a book from Eric Meyer and have since been evangelizing the benefits of CSS and web standards to anyone that I see getting close to the keyboard. I have a lot of know-how on the subject, but I know that there’s always more to learn about anything. So, I’m always testing, breaking and pushing my design to see what kind of shape it will take.

If you’ve ever heard me speak, you’ll know that I firmly believe that all designers should make an effort to be artistic, in addition to simply designing. It’s not a necessary element, but I think it’s the only real way to separate one designer from another, because everyone’s artistic ability is unique (even if you can’t draw).

My style is usually minimalist, and I have a few principles that I’ve always tried to follow during my time as an artist and designer:

  1. Learn the Rules
  2. Bend/Break the Rules
  3. Notice Trends and Use them to Your Advantage– Sparingly
  4. (With #3) Avoid Contributing to Visual Clich├ęs – In other words: Know when to step away from the eye candy

Another thing about me is that I believe in empowering others. People warn me about giving too much information away, but I don’t mind. Heck, if it wasn’t for people freely divulging information, I would never have learned what I know now. This goes back to my idea that as long as you have that ‘something’ that separates you from your peers, then there’s nothing to worry about.

Feel free to drop me a line.

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