Born in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, in 1962, he spent much of his childhood and adolescence "…. contemplating world domination while mowing the lawn".
After graduation from Northern Illinois University in 1986, he was recruited as a junior designer for Lipmon & Simmons in Chicago, and then as a graphic designer for Kim Abrams Design. He returned to academia in 1987, enrolling on a Masters of Fine Arts programme at the California Institute of Arts where he studied an experimental approach with Ed Fella and Lorraine Wild. He moved to New York in 1992, and was seen as quite a radical for the somewhat conservative typeface community.
Deck has become associated with distorted typefaces, which began to appear in publications such as Ray Gun, Emigré, Wired Eye, and I.D. in the early 1990s. His typefaces came to typify the 'new wave' of the early 1990s and Emigré proclaimed his font Template Gothic as "the typeface of the decade".
In 1995 he set up his own company, Dysmedia, and has worked with Pepsi, Reebok, Nickelodeon, and VH1.
In Deck's own words: "…he continues his effort to help fill the world with interesting, intelligent, idiosyncratic, ironic, beautiful and amusing stuff. And he has no lawn."