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Kate, at 5 years (or so)
KATE SIEGEL, senior creative/wordsmith

I suppose it was inevitable. Remember those standardized aptitude tests we took as kids? Well, I scored high in art and math, and they told me I'd have to choose one or the other. So I did both instead.

I'm a creative geek.

I was reading before I was in kindergarten and devouring college-level books in 7th grade. I graduated at the top of my high school class at age 16 with academic and music honors.

When I go to a restaurant, I critique and often re-design the menu before I can even think about ordering. There are books I've never finished because wading through the bad grammar and poor proofreading isn't worth the story. Perhaps that makes me a snob, but I believe you should make it easy — if not enjoyable — for someone to invest even a few minutes of their life on your behalf.

plastic lettersI've been working in graphic design & publishing for 30-ish years. It started with a journalism course and the monthly newspaper at a private college in Wisconsin, and then a job at the Badger Herald, UW-Madison's independent student daily broadsheet (back in the Varityper and X-Acto knife days), while pursuing a BS in chemistry. Eventually, I became the Herald's night editor, supervising weekly summer production and the 70+ page registration week issue.

After getting my degree with distinction (their version of cum laude — I was actually in the top 12%) and moving to Atlanta, I tried going corporate as an administrative assistant at a small software development company. Part of that job included creating several marketing pieces and drafting and reviewing correspondence, and I also put together a couple of newsletters and flyers on the side. A few years later I was wooed to Kinko's to fill the newly created position of Desktop Publishing Support Specialist for the Atlanta Region, and, following a management restructuring, I took over as Computer Services Manager in a high-volume store. Those four years provided a wealth of practical experience in design, production, technical and hardware support, and people skills.

plastic lettersIn 1997, I moved into a loft downtown, bought my own Mac, and went freelance. That was the genesis of Kartouche.

I've participated in Adobe Photoshop and Quark seminars and other software classes, in a "plain language" seminar with health literacy expert Helen Osbourne, in continuing education through the Evening at Emory program, in management training, and in Communication Courses offered by Landmark Education. There are three dictionaries, a thesaurus, a grammar guide, and an AP Stylebook within arm's reach of my desk. And I'm not too proud to read the manual either.

In my spare time, I play 2nd flute and piccolo with the Atlanta Philharmonic Orchestra and perform in a flute duo, advise friends on interior design (and help them with painting), occasionally cook Indian food, and crusade for recycling, greenspace, and walkable neighborhoods.

If you're looking for someone to simply do what she's told, keep looking. If you want to work with someone who will do what it takes to develop a piece that we can both be proud of, we should talk.

Thanks for stopping by.

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