Dumb Questions for Smart Designers with Christopher Ayres

Dumb Questions for Smart Designers – Christopher Ayres

From boot camp to burritos, Christopher Ayres thinks about designing in terms of pop culture, and who he would want to eat and talk with, using references to comedians like Aziz Ansari, or the films of Johnny Depp. He has become a go-to champion of rebranding major identities.

Christopher has dedicated 13 years to the publishing, design and advertising industries. He has worked with some of the most iconic brands in the world, including Visa, Nike, Coca-Cola, JetBlue and Crayola. He was the Creative Director at MRY, then went on to oversee a complete overhaul of design and brand strategy for celeb-favorite Barry’s Bootcamp, transitioning them from a niche boutique fitness company to a full-fledged lifestyle brand.

From New Yorker to California, he says he still feels like that gawky, small town kid from Kansas at heart. Christopher has come a long way. He now serves as Creative Director for Taco Bell, and is the man behind the company’s recent logo evolution. His reasoning behind it is simple, “Because tacos.” Read More

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When the Going Get’s Tough, the Tough Go to Conferences


We all suffer from the kind of head-down, get it done routine that enables us to operate in a fast-paced, growing business. It is both an inevitability and consequence of getting through your slog of emails and daily to-dos. And while it is easy to recognize the pattern, it is a challenge to change it. Then, a friend (Jenni Schwartz) tells you about a little thing called the Front-End Design Conference in St. Petersburg, Florida, and the clouds seemed to clear a little.

In full disclosure, this conference was happening in a place very convenient to our office, only a three hour drive away, and in a city that I had never visited, but was high on my list of places to check out in Florida. So, it did not require much arm twisting to get me to say yes when asked if I was going to attend. The convenience of the event was outdone by the hair-raising, eye-opening, fresh air buzz that the conference was to deliver.

Unbeknownst to me, the Front-End Design Conference was going into its ninth year in the town of St. Pete and presented its fortunate attendees with two days of speakers who expounded about the design industry, usability, prototyping, programming, dealing with clients and semantics. The variety of speakers kept the conference from, at any, point going stale, deftly switching from general discussions about industry trends to accessible HTML to prototyping your work. Read More

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Dumb Questions for Smart Designers with Chris Costello

Dumb Questions for Smart Designers – Chris Costello

You may have never heard of Chris Costello, but you definitely know his work. He is a graphic designer, illustrator, typographer and he just so happens to be the guy that created the font Papyrus. Yep, that’s right, the typeface used on billions of computers worldwide was created by this man and sold for today’s equivalent of $2,500 when he was 23 years old.

However, Chris Costello is so much more than a sometimes celebrated, often times insulted font. Chris is also an Artistic Infusion Program Artist for The United States Mint. Since 2010, Chris has contributed drawings to over 30 United States Mint coin and medal design programs and is credited with the designs on 14 U.S. coins and one Congressional Gold Medal.

Chris has created several other original font designs, as well as logo, illustrations and custom lettering for clients including Random House, Simon and Schuster, Oxford University Press and HarperCollins. As a fine artist, he enjoys drawing and painting historic architecture, landscapes, and portraits, as well as sculpting in clay and plaster. He also used to do Tae Kwon Do and can probably beat you up, so watch what you say about Papyrus. Read More

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The Story of Create Day, and How to Do Something You’ve Never Done Before

Part One: The Idea Behind It & How It Came About

Create Day came to us last year. We were writing an article about the design of holidays, especially made-up holidays, taking into account the superficiality of Valentine’s Day and the wackiness of Groundhog’s Day. This led to everyone in the office brainstorming new holidays we could invent, and we came to one mystifying conclusion. There is no holiday solely dedicated to art and creativity. Read More

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Dumb Questions for Smart Designers with Joshua Taylor

Dumb Questions for Smart Designers – Joshua Taylor

Joshua Taylor is a prolific digital product designer and startup advisor who helps companies launch new creations. He works across user testing, high level UX and UI design, interactive and motion prototyping to design products that are incredibly easy and delightful to use. More than desirable products, he helps design successful and sustainable companies.

Born and raised in Orlando, Florida, he has evolved into the go-to design guy for massive brands such as Evernote and Airbnb. At Evernote, he was a Design Director, and at Airbnb he worked on major new features across their web app, as well as Android and iOS. He really knows when the sweet details amount to something spectacular.

Joshua’s design philosophy is to move fast, make and finish things. He revels in getting to know users and talking to leadership in order to figure out what a product should be. In short, he builds products for the people that actually use them, making their experiences more rich and engaging. Read More

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Dumb Questions with Jared Erondu

Dumb Questions for Smart Designers – Jared Erondu

Jared Erondu is a young man of many talents. First and foremost, he is a designer, but he is also a startup advisor, a prolific writer and a talented photographer.

He has managed to uniquely set himself apart in the design and tech industries, starting with his role as creative director during the early days of Teespring. He has worked with companies like MIT, Sparrow Mail, Omada Health, Treehouse and Y Combinator, just to name a few.

Jared has served as a mentor to some of the most prestigious venture capital firms, including Andreessen Horowitz and Greylock Partners. He is wrapping up the building of a design community tool called Playbook. The one place for all the best design thinking, Playbook organizes meaningful questions from the design community, also giving designers a simple way to respond.

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Dumb Questions for Smart Designers with Zac Petit from How and Print

Dumb Questions for Smart Designers – Zac Petit

Zachary Petit (known as Zac) wears a lot of hats. He is a freelance journalist, magazine editor, photo dabbler, and lover of all things writerly, design-ish and nerd-like. He is the content director of HOW magazine, and editor-in-chief of the award–winning publication PRINT, but he is also the self-made force behind a ton of his own professional and truly artistic devices.

Zac has published numerous photos and thousands of articles, covering everything from the secret lives of mall Santas to creative legends. His words regularly appear in National Geographic, Mental_Floss, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and many other outlets. He is the author of several books, including his most recent, Treat Ideas Like Cats, which came out in the Fall of 2016.

Zachary Petit is many things, and we are thankful that he took time out of his being-many-things schedule to answer our dumb questions.

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Dumb Questions for Smart Designers Nicole Jacek

Dumb Questions for Smart Designers – Nicole Jacek

To say the least, Nicole Jacek is determined. Her slogan is “It’s not about how good you are, it’s about how good you want to be.” She is also a thinker, and her work thinks big, because, like Nicole, it is fearless, fresh and hyper-focused. Nicole Jacek could be considered an avant-garde designer, and all it takes is one look at her website to see that she bucks the trends in every possible way.

She has learned at the hands of the masters, including Stefan Sagmeister and Ian Anderson. An award-winning graphic designer, with honors from the Type Directors Club, ADA, Print magazine, D&AD, and Red Dot, Nicole embodies the spirit of design that pushes the envelope. Born in Germany, she has lived in the UK, New York City, and set up shop in Los Angeles to start her own studio.

Nicole’s visceral work has been published in numerous magazines, newspapers, books, and websites all over the world. She works or has worked with brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Coca-Cola, 55DSL/Diesel, Harvard University, Vitra, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, among many others. Now on to the good stuff.  Read More

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Civil Society Brewing Anniversary Design

Our Designs in the Wild

How Civil Society Brewing Co. tapped AR Design to Celebrate One Year

For their first anniversary, Civil Society Brewing Co. celebrated by hosting a blowout block party. They invited 50+ breweries, both local and national, bands, food trucks and over 500 of their closest friends and supporters. And we pretty much designed everything from the tickets, to the can labels, to the t-shirts, to the glasses.

What a proud feeling it was to be at an event and knowing that so much of the supporting material was designed by us. At any given moment, everywhere we looked, we were surrounded by our own designs. We even brought our wives and children to bear witness to our creative contributions in what was a huge day for Civil Society. Read More

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