About David Brooks, Designer, Developer, Writer and Entrepreneur
Hello! I’m David Brooks, an interactive designer, generative artist, electronic musician, and Fantasy Writer from Michigan. During the day I build things as the creative director and owner of a design, app, and game studio I founded in 2010 called Northward Compass.
I’m also finishing up the last bit of my first fantasy novel. Details about that are over at Elerien.com.
Before I started on the web, I attended Spring Arbor University where I studied Spanish. In the last semester of that program I also attended a small Spanish language school in Costa Rica. After graduation, I attended Asbury Theological Seminary where I studied World Missions (Intercultural Studies) with an emphasis on leadership. As you likely figured out, language, and culture really interest me.
How I Got Into Web Design and Development
The truth is, I started on the we by accident. I was building Geocities sites for my bands without a care of how it ought to be done for five years. Then, when I was studying at Asbury Seminary, they were in the process of converting a table-based layout into web standards-focused HTML and CSS. That put them ahead of the game, especially for a large-scale academic institution. But I had no idea what any of that meant. I have Nathan Smith to thank for the hours of time he invested in teaching me how to do things the right way.
After my time at Asbury I took a role at Fry Inc. where I did front-end development work for large-scale eCommerce brands. I wasn’t there long.
Starting Northward Compass
In 2010 my daughter was born and I launched my first web app, Thousand Wires. I wanted to spend time at home and have the flexibility to work on my app so I quit my job and moved to Michigan (then Indiana) to be by family. That kept me busy for a couple of years before I joined the team at Artletic. With the continued remote work we decided to return to Costa Rica for language school.
People ask me why I took a role at Artletic instead of sticking with Northward Compass full-time. The short answer is, at the time I was tired of searching out business. I was still in the process of learning how to run a business and it was a bit draining. Artletic gave me the opportunity to work from home, doing all the things I was good at, without having to land new clients every month.
Florida and Disney
I had been working on Northward Compass projects on the side during the past few years, but after Artletic I re-focused my efforts. That was short lived. Six months later I started a role building apps at Disney. I worked with the applications they use to run the parks efficiently. Taking the opportunity there meant we needed to relocate to Orlando Florida. There I learned how not to hate AngularJS and designed some of my favorite interfaces to date.
When my contract with Disney was complete, I transitioned back to working at Northward Compass full-time.
In my Junior year in College I took a black and white photography course. It was most-likely my favorite course in college. I spent ridiculous hours in the dark, developing photos by hand. The things I learned there helped me take better photos during the following years and also set me up for a foundation in design. I have leaned heavily on well-taken photos in almost every design project I’ve ever created.
Mentions, Interviews, and Accolades
50 Graphic Design Blogs
David Airey Nov 2007
135+ Top Graphic Design Blogs for 2012
The Big List of Lists
The Art Career Project
Camtasia Through the Eyes of a Musician: A Customer Interview with David Brooks
Tech Smith Sep 2012
PsPrint Nov 2012
Top 100 Design Blogs To Follow In 2013 [Infographic]
Tech Smith Dec 2012
Refresh Detroit Dec 2012
Refresh Detroit Feb 2011