Digital Designers and Carpal Tunnel |

For many web designers and digital artists, their profession requires them to sit in front of a computer for many hours each day. Although some may not realize it, this can be very hard on the body. The human body was not designed to sit for hours on end – nor were our eyes designed to stare at a computer screen all day. Our bodies, and especially our muscles, need activity and movement every day. Computer professionals also need to pay attention to how often they are using a muscle in a repetitive motion, such as with mouse-clicking or typing.

Continuous, repetitive motions like this can lead to painful complications such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

I have been a web designer for more than a decade, and during this time, I have come up with some methods that I use to help keep my body as healthy as I can as I work my day job. I want to share some of these tips in hopes that it might help you too.

Use an Ergonomic Workstation

This is one of the most important aspects of keeping your body healthy as you work. If you do not have a workstation that is ergonomic, you could be causing more harm to your body than you realize. There are certain positions that are more natural for our body as we sit at a computer.

If we stray from these natural positions, it can cause irritation to our muscles and skeletal system over time.

There are many resources online that illustrate what is needed to have an ergonomic workstation. It is advised that you try to adhere to these standards with your own workstation. Whether you work from home, or in an office for a company, it is important to make this happen as soon as you can. If you work for a company, and you see that your current workstation is doing more harm than good, you could talk to your boss about some things that can be done to make it more comfortable for you. Some companies will be happy to help with these changes, since you work for them and they want to keep their employees comfortable and happy. Sometimes, no additional cost is involved if they are able to rearrange furniture or take items from their own storage that aren’t being used. It really just depends on what is needed to make your workstation comfortable.

If your company is not willing to help or pay for the necessary changes in your workstation, you may want to ask if they would be able to pay for half of the items you need to purchase. If that doesn’t work, then you may need to pay for everything out of your own pocket to ensure that your workstation is the way you need it to be. If you do this, you will want to document in writing what you paid for, so if you ever leave the company, you can take those purchases with you. (And honestly, if the company you are working for doesn’t seem to be concerned about your comfort level or your health, then you may want to reconsider your employment there anyway.)
Wow. This looks cozy.

Switch Between Different Arm Movements

When you click on a mouse all day with the same arm, you are causing those arm muscles to constantly contract in the same way for many hours each day. Over time, this can be harmful to your arm, hand and wrist – and even your shoulder too. Since many designers and digital artists use Adobe Photoshop and other graphics programs, mouse-clicking is a very abundant movement that we use throughout the day. If we perform this same movement too much, even with breaks, it can still cause irritation over time.

One of the things I started doing is switching between the methods that I use to perform actions on the computer.

I have a Wacom Tablet that I use mainly for Photoshop tasks, and I keep my wireless mouse on my desk to use when I am writing, researching or clicking on links, etc. This allows my arm to change movements and use my arm muscles in different ways throughout the day. When I use the Wacom Tablet, my arm is turned on its side, and my hand is in a pen-writing position. This feels very natural and comfortable. I also have the sensitivity of the pen set to a light click so that I don’t have to press so hard when clicking. This also helps with the strain on my muscles.

In addition to the switching of tools, I also trained myself to be ambidextrius on the computer so that I can use both my left hand and my right hand for using the Wacom Tablet and clicking the mouse. It was much easier to get used to this than I thought it would be. I am originally right-handed, but using my left hand felt just as natural after only a day or two. The same may be true for you if you decide to give it a try. In doing this, I am not only changing the arm movements I am using, but I am also giving random breaks to each arm as I work.

Take Several Breaks Away from the Computer

Breaks are very important for designers and computer professionals. You should take breaks away from the computer as much as you reasonably can. It’s not a good idea to interrupt yourself so much that you become unproductive, but you should have planned breaks every hour or two so you aren’t left sitting at your desk for five hours at a time. This gives your muscles and your eyes a break, and it also gives your mind a way to recharge. Many of my best ideas come from when I am away from the computer screen.

And if you are a designer with a 27″ screen or larger, this is even more reason for you to give your eyes a break.

When I’m working at home, my dogs also help to remind me to take a break. They’ll wake up from a nap and put their little paws up on my chair – tails wagging – and I know exactly what time it is. I make sure to take breaks to play with them at least five times a day. It helps them, and it helps me, so it’s a win-win for all. If you work from home, and you have kids or dogs, you should also listen to them when they want you to take a break – not only for your health, but also for your personal happiness and family life. Kids are only kids for so long, and your dogs are only with you for a short time. You shouldn’t pass up too many of those moments just because you wanted to sit at the computer longer. You won’t get that time back with them once it’s gone.
Thanks for bringing me to the park.

Stretch Regularly

There are several stretches that can help tight, overworked muscles. These stretches help to extend the muscle fibers after they have been contracted for long periods of time. When you are clicking a mouse or typing away at keys, you are constantly contracting those muscles, and if you do this too much, your muscles begin to stay contracted – even when they are resting. If you add stretching to your daily routine, you are helping your muscle fibers to stretch out again and relax after long periods of work.

Get Regular Massages

Regular massages can significantly minimize problems associated with the repetitive nature of typing on a keyboard or mouse-clicking for extended periods of time. Some of the benefits of massage are increased blood flow and nutrients to the muscles, the flushing out of harmful toxins, the stretching of the muscle fibers which are tight due to over-use, and massage also helps with the breakdown of adhesions (knots) in the muscles.

Routine massages are just as important as stretching. Your muscles need to be healthy. If they are not, it can cause more serious medical problems later on. If you can schedule these treatments into your busy life, you can help to prevent problems now and later on. This is especially important if you are already having arm or wrist pain from Carpal Tunnel.

These massages can help to ease the pain that you feel in your arms, wrists and hands.

It is also recommended that you consult with a massage therapist that is skilled in more therapeutic techniques. These massage therapists will be able to assist you with specific issues related to the stress caused by repetitive motion, and the sessions are usually priced around $60 – $80 per hour of treatment (and even less for half an hour). A good maintenance plan would be to go at least once per month and more frequently if you have specific issues you are dealing with.

Exercise Regularly

The human body was never meant to sit still for eight hours at a time, five days per week. Just review our blueprints, and you will see the proof. Most of what our body needs is somehow related to some form of exercise – whether it’s to strengthen our hearts, to provide enough oxygen to our cells and brain, or to keep our muscles healthy and mobile.

Our bodies want to be active, and our muscles need to be mobile at different times throughout the day.

If you have access to gym equipment, you should make it part of your routine to exercise for at least thirty minutes, three times per week – if not more. Or if you can take time to jog, ride a bike or take brisk walks, that can help too. Any type of exercise is better than no exercise at all.

When I worked in an office building all day, I would make time to take breaks to walk up the nine flights of stairs in our building. I did this a few times each day to keep my body active. This wasn’t the type of strenuous exercise that breaks a sweat of course, but it was just enough to get my heart rate up a little and to give my legs a decent workout. This also helped to wake me up if I was feeling sleepy – since sitting at a desk every day can sometimes lead to moments of unintentional dreaming at your desk. 😉

Just Listen to Your Body. It Knows Best.

When you start to feel pain, get up and get away from the computer for a while. Do not ignore this warning. This pain that you feel is your body telling you that’s it’s not very happy with what you are doing to it. If you keep ignoring your body’s warnings, you may begin your golden years with medical issues that even our parents didn’t have. Our generation will have been using computers for many decades by then, and I don’t even want to predict the types of issues that some computer professionals may have if they don’t start taking care of themselves now. The sooner, the better – and what better time to start than now.

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Written by Angela

Angela is a Texas web designer who’s been running The Best Designs and writing articles since 2001. She also loves fine art and photography, and enjoys working on portrait art when she can find the time. Angela believes that in the art and design world, there is no room for anything but the finest, and hard work that speaks for itself. She strives to illustrate this within this website and also in her own work.

What Salary Does a Graphic Designer Make? |


So-you’ve decided on a career as a graphic design professional. What kind of money can you expect to make in this field? First of all, you need to look at what you’ll make when you enter the field versus what you can earn over the lifetime of your career. The American Institute of Graphic Arts found in 2008 that entry-level graphic designers earned on average $35,000 annually, while senior designers having experience and supervisory duties averaged $60,000. Those graphic designers who were creative heads of departments, owned their own designing firms or were partners at designing firms enjoyed salaries of around $95,000 a year.

According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2008 graphic designers made an overall average of $42,400 a year– the lowest-paid 10 percent of graphic designers earned a salary of less than $26,110 annually, while those in the highest-paid 10 percent earned more than $76,660. After considering entry-level versus experienced graphic designers, there are salary differences depending on the industry employed in. Among the five industries employing the highest numbers of graphic designers, computer systems design and related services paid the best at $47,860 yearly on average, and printing and related support activities the least at $36,100 yearly on average.

College education, specifically a degree, has a marked effect on the amount of money a designer can earn. A degree of Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Graphic Design enables a designer to have a median salary of $36,074; earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree gives one a slighter edge of $41,260.

Where you work as a graphic design professional makes a difference in salary, too. According to, the average yearly salary for a graphic designer in San Francisco is about $52,000; the next best city to work in is Seattle-the average yearly salary for graphic designers in that city is about $47,000. Other cities that offer good salaries for graphic designers are New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, and Dallas. And as far as working for a small firm or a large company, when it comes to a graphic designer’s salary, it’s better to work for the “big guy”: those in firms employing less than 10 people earn a little over $35,000 average annual salary, while those working in large companies with 50,000 or more employees see an increase to over $53,000 yearly.

So—how does all this stack up against the average American worker? According to the 2007 findings of the United States Census Bureau, the average salary in the United States is around $81,000 a year, taking into account all types of jobs and experience. If you are a designer with a college degree who has put in several years in a large company, or has successfully created your own design business, you could meet or exceed that average. The future for designers seems to have the opportunity for growth and advancement, especially for those who consistently improve their technological skills and keep their fingers on the pulse of society’s needs and wants. For graphic designers, especially, staying power equals earning power.

Find tips for picking the best graphic design schools. Read articles at on how to select a school that fits your needs and what you are looking for in this career. Learn about how long the programs are and the classes you will be taking.

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Tour of Utah Today at Richfield Utah

Here are the pictures from Tour of Utah Today. Today is stage 3 they’ll be riding from Richfield, UT up Hwy 89, they’ll scale Mt. Nebo and go on what I’d imagine to be a very speedy descent before stopping in Payson, UT for a total of 119 miles. So far today they’ve already gone 20.1 miles at an average speed of 31.4 mph! Pretty awesome.

Starting point of Tour of Utah today in Richfield, UT
Starting point of Tour of Utah today in Richfield, UT
One of the teams accompanying car (lack of a better description)
One of the teams accompanying car (lack of a better description)

The event started August 6th and runs through August 11. It’s 586 miles long and includes 43,624 vertical feet of climing. Tuesday it ran from Brian Head, around Dixie National Forest and ended in Cedar City for a distance of 112 miles. Wednesday’s route took them from Panguitch to Torrey on SR 12 totaling 131 miles. Tomorrow they’ll be riding 5 laps around what is called the “Salt Lake Circuit” which, to my surprise is only 33.8 Miles. Saturday they’ll be riding from Snowbasin to Snowbird for a very mountainous 113 miles. Finally, Sunday they’ll leave Park City at 12:15 and wrap around what appears to be most of Wasatch County, through Kamas and down 189 back on Park City’s Main Street.

A picture of my friend and coworker, Sandy Phillips, taking a picture
A picture of my friend and coworker, Sandy Phillips, taking a picture
One of the teams cars I'm guessing, and some kids head.
One of the teams cars I’m guessing, and some kids head.

For more information and a live feedvisit 🙂

Sandy, Charles, and his wife talking.
Sandy, Charles, and his wife talking.
The beginning of the race
The beginning of the race
The very start of the race as they passed us by
The very start of the race as they passed us by
Riders in Tour of Utah
Riders in Tour of Utah
The end of the group in Tour of Utah
The end of the group in Tour of Utah
One of the cars before the race started.
One of the cars before the race started.

Lucas, Layle & Khryslee Price, My kids were pretty content sitting on the curb playing with rocks in the ditch. We had a pretty good time.
Lucas, Layla & Khryslee Price, My kids were pretty content sitting on the curb playing with rocks in the ditch. We had a pretty good time.


Layla Price
My beautiful little girl on the fourth of July. Layla Price.

So proud of my Layla baila. She’s had to grow up so much. Just turning 5, she’s so excited about school. I’m glad that her family friends were able to make it to her 5th birthday. She’s such a sweethearted brat.

Theme change

Screenshot of my new site theme
Screenshot of my new site theme. The theme is called Expound, created by Konstantin Kovsheninand. Amazingly available for free at

Ugh, I’ve had a fun filled day. My daughter’s fifth birthday. I always hate it when there’s like 60 billion people running around me, everyone yelling over each other/squealing/giggling/fighting. I start getting nervous and grouchy about 2 hours before anyone even shows up … lol. Not to mention the goddamn construction, I mean … Them moving my water meter and outside tap twice wasn’t enough. They start doing really stupid crap to piss me off. First the concrete company (Riverstone) Busted the damn pvc tube that I’m now supposed to access the valve through, and this morning some idiot contractors covered it, and my water meter with dirt. Ugh, beyond over this construction.

But, On the bright side, I noticed that I’m getting some visitors 🙂 So, I gave up on the journey of making my own theme. It was fun, but I couldn’t figure out some of the little quirks and issues and I didn’t want people to have to suffer the ugly layout of the site. I think this new one works really well with what I want this site to do and, I can focus more on creating content.

I haven’t had any new sales I don’t think since my last post. I’m slowly working on a new file for fall. Which is kind of exciting by itself because, I pulled out a pencil, and some paper and decided to sketch out this idea. I used to draw quite a bit, and haven’t at all since probably sophomore year in High School (I got a computer so who needs to draw, right). But, anyhow I think it’ll be kind of neat. Even if it looks like crap it could hopefully open the door for some new ideas and inspiration. Silly for me to try so hard for the 18 cents per download but, maybe someday …


Anyhow, thanks for reading.


Changing color schemes
Changing color schemes
Changing color schemes

Possibly not the best design decision. But, I thought it’d be kind of cool to have random color schemes on page load for the new theme I created. The result is kind of neat.

Happy Fourth of July!

4th of july
Have a fun and safe Fourth of July, File available on Fotolia and other sites listed below


As we grow closer to this years Independence Day I’d like to remind everyone to be safe and have fun.This file is one I created a few months ago, and has been one of my best sellers bringing in a total of somewhere in the range of 60 cents ;). But, at least it gives me something to do.

Also, don’t forget to grab your Independance Day Celebration Guide from the June 26 Reaper. The cover I designed features a beautiful picture Taken by Chad Hunt, the flourish behind the text was provided by Creative Outlet. So all I can take credit for is the font and layout. The section features information about festivities this holiday, as well as advertisements from local businesses.