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Fart & Craft23:48 with Justin Pervorse
Justin Pervorse shares his story and advice learned over the course of his career. From early days working in a print shop to designing for MailChimp and Dropbox, Justin talks about lessons learned and shows off some of his favorite pieces.
[MUSIC]. 0:00 Hey guys. 0:05 >> Hey. 0:06 Really honored to be here. 0:09 Super excited to share this stage with such amazing people. 0:10 And been talking to such awesome peers here. 0:16 Before I get started, I want everybody to give a huge round of 0:20 applause to Mackie and Mike, and Daniel and everybody else involved with this. 0:22 [NOISE] This is a really cool thing to have here in Georgia. 0:30 And it's, it's good to be back in the South. 0:34 So yeah, I'm, I'm in San Fransisco, actually Oakland. 0:38 Some thug cred. 0:41 [LAUGH] I work at Dropbox. 0:42 I have an amazing team there. 0:48 We're at about 25 people right now, company-wide, it's almost 600 and we have 0:49 four office and it's, it's, it's a really great place to be. 0:55 I've been there about three months now. 1:01 I'm super excited to continue on there. 1:03 But now let's talk about my life. 1:07 So I was a total badass when I was a kid. 1:10 [LAUGH]. 1:12 >> Really into dune buggies and cool shorts. 1:13 [LAUGH]. 1:15 >> I really loved donuts. 1:17 This is actually one of my favorite donut shops. 1:19 It's in Michigan. 1:21 I was actually born in Grand Rapids. 1:23 And all my family is there, so it's, unlike 1:25 here, you can still smoke in most restaurants in Michigan. 1:29 So it's just a lotta old 70 year old dudes hot boxing and eating donuts. 1:32 But the donuts are really good, so if 1:36 you're ever in Flushing, Michigan, go, go to Donna's. 1:38 I love Waffle House. 1:42 [LAUGH] I'm actually a Waffle House local. 1:44 Or I was until I moved to California, cuz it's not there. 1:48 And I died inside a little bit, but, I love Waffle House. 1:50 It's a really, really good experience for breakfast. 1:55 I'm married to my lovely wife Elizabeth. 2:01 This was right after she came out to join me in California. 2:03 And my adorable son Henry he's gonna be trouble. 2:09 [LAUGH] This is my dog Wilbur he's a total pain in the ass. 2:14 [LAUGH] But I love him, and he's really awesome companion. 2:19 I love motorcycles. 2:25 This is actually my bike, I rebuilt this a 2:27 few years ago, and then I immediately wrecked it. 2:30 So this was kind of one of the first 2:35 examples of failure I wanted to share with you guys. 2:39 And the shit is little because when I wrecked my stomach went up into me. 2:43 So I was a little scared. 2:47 That's what I was wearing, my wife was off though, on the bike with me. 2:49 So three months ago, I traveled to San Francisco by car, stopped at the Grand 2:54 Canyon, I really love to travel seeing new 3:02 places like this is really inspiring to me. 3:04 And I, words can't describe this, and 3:08 like, even this picture doesn't do it justice, 3:11 so if you haven't been to the Grand Canyon, you should go to the Grand Canyon. 3:13 This is my friend Jake. 3:16 I love him, he's one of my best friends. 3:20 He's a real estate agent and has no fucking clue what I do for a 3:22 profession so it's kind of cool to just not talk about design with him sometimes. 3:25 I really love music, [LAUGH] and I like to laugh. 3:30 So yeah that's a little bit about me and where I come from. 3:40 So now I'm gonna kind of go into how I get on with design. 3:46 So actually started getting into art a lot in High School. 3:49 I took a print shop class kind of my freshman year, I 3:55 think that's when I first started, and I learned a lot of really 3:58 cool techniques there, letter press and offset printing, and all of the finishing 4:02 techniques that come with that, and I didn't really take the class seriously. 4:06 We printed a lot of stuff for local businesses. 4:12 Primarily one of our biggest customers was the Sheriff's 4:15 Department, and I made some business cards for myself. 4:17 [LAUGH], I got away with it, luckily, I also managed 4:21 to sneak my name into the graduation program my junior year. 4:25 And it made it through, so I graduated early. 4:31 [LAUGH] 4:33 But along with that I took a lot of art classes. 4:36 I love to paint. 4:39 Photography classes, I got to learn how to work in a dark room. 4:41 I use film. 4:46 I know nobody knows what that is. 4:46 But I used film, and it was great. 4:48 But it's still kinda hadn't clicked with me that I could do that for a living, 4:51 like I could be an artist and make 4:55 money doing that, and be creative for a profession. 4:57 I was really just absorbed in playing music. 5:00 Pretty cool, right? 5:04 And I actually actually delivered pizza for my day job. 5:05 And I still to this day say it's my favorite job ever. 5:14 I worked for Pizza Hut for three years, delivering 5:18 pizza and I experienced some of the weirdest shit ever. 5:21 [LAUGH] But, you know, it was fun, but after high school I graduated, and I 5:25 finally realized that I needed to get a job where I could make some good money. 5:32 And I started working for my family's business. 5:37 And it's a weird experience to work with, with your family. 5:40 My dad owned a company that he recently sold a couple of years ago. 5:46 And he built these worldwide. 5:51 Climbing towers and ropes courses indoor climbing gyms and he built them in 5:55 Russia and even Japan in the middle of the jungle in Mexico. 6:02 And that's the hardest work I've ever done. 6:09 15 hours of work in the rain, and in the heat is brutal. 6:13 And hanging in a tree [LAUGH] trying to get a giant telephone pole 6:19 to line up perfectly so you can drill a bolt through it's pretty challenging. 6:24 But one thing I really took from this is that, my dad designed these, 6:28 and it, it was kinda really unique to me to think about designing that way. 6:32 And the, the main thing I took away from that 6:37 was working hard is good but working harder is better. 6:41 And my dad knew that I liked to draw a lot, 6:45 and he offered me a chance to re-design his company's logo. 6:49 I'm not gonna share cuz it's terrible. 6:52 [LAUGH]. 6:54 But it was, it was really cool for me to do that 6:55 cuz not only it was for my dad, but it was like, wow, 6:59 this is, okay, this is kinda fun and like, I'm actually making something 7:03 for a company that, you know, is doing something all over the world. 7:06 And that led to more work for him. 7:11 Brochures and a catalog and for the most part, I was 7:13 doing it all on his time, getting paid a really shitty salary. 7:16 And then he offered me a chance to work on a very big project. 7:22 I think he gave me $400. 7:26 But it was a cool experience, and like, I still kind of look back 7:30 on those days and kind of miss hanging on the trees and being outside a lot. 7:37 I really love to be outdoors, and it was it was just, it was different. 7:42 But it, it was kind of like my kickstart into a career of freelance design. 7:48 So after doing that, I decided to join an agency. 7:55 And they didn't like my work enough, so I had to downgrade to a sign shop. 8:02 And sign shops suck ass. 8:09 [LAUGH] 8:11 But luckily enough, they caught on that I had kind of a 8:13 hankering for branding and they let me work on their marketing team. 8:16 And I got to learn a lot of really cool stuff. 8:20 You know, I got to learn how to gold leaf and we had a really amazing sign 8:24 painter on staff, and I would just go back on my lunch breaks and watch 'em paint. 8:27 And he hand carved signs, and it was just 8:32 like this medium that I'd never really thought about, 8:34 like when I thought of a sign shop, I 8:37 thought about yard sale signs and you know, car graphics. 8:39 It just never dawned on me that people were still doing 8:43 these things that were hand-made for you know, store front signage. 8:45 But there are a lot of sales people that 8:51 work there, and I don't like working with assholes. 8:53 I really don't like working with assholes. 8:56 So I did that for about two years and then I 9:01 moved onto an agency that was actually partnered with the Sun Shop. 9:04 Where I did a lot of branding and actually development Flash, which, 9:09 you know, nobody knows what that is like everybody else has said, 9:13 but it, it was, it was a good experience and I learned 9:16 a lot and I, I don't regret any job that I've ever had. 9:20 But it, it just wasn't for me, I worked with a 9:26 team that, not everybody put in enough effort, and the biggest thing 9:30 for me was that I wanted to feel like I was working 9:35 with a team that cared as much as I did about everything. 9:38 And, at the end of the day, this is how I felt. 9:41 [LAUGH] So I started asking myself where I could have fun. 9:44 So I started working on portfolio and reaching 9:50 out to a lot of local agencies in Atlanta. 9:53 I was actually working outside of Atlanta at 9:55 the time, and it was just kinda like this 9:57 weird bubble and no one knew who, who I 10:01 was and I didn't even know what dribble was. 10:04 I didn't have a website at the time, and I started finding out 10:08 about all these new things and that's when I was introduced to MailChimp. 10:10 MailChimp is a very unique company. 10:19 I had a lot of fun working there but the biggest 10:22 thing about MailChimp is that it 10:26 completely changed my perspective on design. 10:28 From going to designing for a client, I 10:32 had to think about designing for millions of people, 10:36 and also designing for a tech-based product that 10:39 was this tech-based product that nobody could quite understand. 10:43 And the challenge of making something like that feel human was very intriguing to me. 10:47 so, one of one of the things I wanted to do with this was just 10:53 share some of my favorite projects that I worked on when I was at MailChimp. 10:58 The first one is a vinyl toy that I made of our Mascot Freddie. 11:02 This was a two-year project and it was a 11:07 lot of hurdles to jump through, but in the end I'm very proud of the way it came out. 11:13 We worked, in collaboration with Super 7 in San Francisco, 11:18 and it was just a really great experience to see it go from simple sketches that 11:24 we collaborated on together, to these clay sculpts, and then 11:30 into plastic casts, and then we would get paint masters from the manufacturers, 11:34 and then we got a huge order of these at our doorstep. 11:40 And, it was just really cool to, to see like all that hard 11:45 work, like, pay off, and we got a lot of good feedback from them. 11:49 A lot of people were making videos with them. 11:54 Stop animation videos and some people were even 11:56 painting them and making custom versions of them. 12:00 But for me, that was, the best part about it was that, not only did I 12:03 have fun with it, but all of the people we gave it to had fun with it. 12:07 This is a project I worked on with our UX team. 12:13 Greg Bernstein and then the photographs are by Jason Travis. 12:15 If you don't know him, you should check him out. 12:19 He's really awesome. 12:21 But I wanted to have the photos of, of these 12:22 people feel kind of weird but almost like they're, they're fake. 12:25 And it was just, there was a lot of experimenting involved 12:31 with it, but we tried to have a lot of fun. 12:36 And these were supposed to represent personas of our customers and I hand-drew 12:39 all of the text around them, and most type designers in here are probably 12:46 judging the hell out of me right now, but, I want her to feel shitty. 12:51 I wanted her to feel human. 12:56 [LAUGH] And more fun like the idea of these people doodling 12:58 these words on a piece of paper sitting at their desk. 13:02 These were, these were actually things that these people considered themselves. 13:05 As well as things that we picked up on with interviews with, with 13:10 the people that we kinda gathered that would, would fall into these personas. 13:14 But it was a really fun project. 13:18 We did 10 of these and I only shared about five of 13:19 them, I can't share the rest, but these were my two favorites. 13:23 So the first project I actually worked on 13:30 when I started at MailChimp was a coloring book. 13:32 And it was a huge challenge for me, because I had to sketch a lot. 13:34 And it ended up being a lot bigger in 13:41 the beginning, and came down to be a lot smaller. 13:44 But I spent a lot of time trying to make Freddie look younger. 13:47 And they wanted him to be a baby, but, it just really didn't translate 13:52 for this baby to be playing with blocks and be on a school bus. 13:56 So I had to kind of think about a toddler. 14:02 But we added some activities to it, and it was a 14:05 really fun experience to see it from you know, start to finish. 14:08 I was the only designer that worked on it. 14:12 And I got to go do all the press 14:14 checks and pick all the materials for the coloring book. 14:16 And the biggest challenge that I had was, in the end, 14:20 was actually making all this space for kids to color in. 14:24 I tend to try and use a lot of detail 14:27 in my illustration, so this was a huge challenge for me. 14:29 But it was a lot of fun, 14:33 and the biggest thing I took away from that is that failure is important. 14:36 There's nothing wrong with failing, in my opinion, because you learn from failure. 14:42 And as long as you're having fun 14:48 and focusing on producing the best quality, failure 14:50 doesn't matter, because you at least tried it and you can say that you tried it. 14:53 So, I also had to make these really simple things 14:57 seem fun, like packing tape from boxes, super boring but just adding that little 15:03 bit of character to it, giving it some illustration, like makes all 15:08 the difference when you send a box of stuff to a client. 15:12 We had speakers come and talk at the office a lot, and I 15:15 tried to make these posters very personal to the person that was was speaking. 15:18 If you guys know Mr. Draplin, he likes to talk about Gold Bond a lot. 15:22 [LAUGH] this was for North by Northwest, which 15:27 is, the opposite of South by Southwest, in Canada. 15:30 And I just didn't really have a theme to work off of 'em, they just told me 15:34 I could do whatever I wanted, so I did, and I made that hot dog wiener dog. 15:37 [LAUGH] Also we made a lot of, internal 15:42 pieces for our employees to make them, you know, 15:47 kinda just, have something that they could appreciate, 15:50 when they were doing things together as a team. 15:53 We had a company wide 5K run that everybody participated in. 15:55 Not me, I don't run. 15:59 [LAUGH] These were some illustrations that I worked on as my 15:59 last project with MailChamp, that I had a lot of fun with. 16:05 And these were a part of a installation 16:09 for a customer party that we threw in Atlanta. 16:11 Every year we threw a customer appreciation 16:14 party, and just invite people in to 16:16 have free food and free beer, and just hang out and have a good time. 16:18 There's pictures and live music, and, you know, 16:22 it's just you know, time to goof off. 16:25 But it was really cool to work there. 16:29 I really miss my team. 16:32 There's a lot of really talented people that 16:33 still work there, and they're doing great stuff. 16:35 And also while I was there, I did a lot of freelance work. 16:39 Too much freelance work. 16:44 I didn't have a kid at the time so, I had 16:47 the ability to just power through the night and just do stuff. 16:49 And I continued to do freelance work because I liked 16:52 the satisfaction of just always feeling like I was having 16:56 fun, and making things was just something that I really 17:00 enjoyed These are some icons I did for Men's Health. 17:04 And it's just, it's, it's kinda cool to, to have full creative control of 17:10 things like this and not have the 17:14 restrictions that you have working with a company. 17:17 You, you get to direct the people. 17:19 And it's not like an agency cuz you're not having 17:22 to work with a creative director or a project manager, you 17:24 are everyone, you get to do all these things and 17:27 have as much fun or no fun as you want to. 17:29 But a big part of freelance for me, is also working with my friends. 17:33 These are my business cards that [UNKNOWN] printed. 17:37 I love them. 17:41 If you don't use them, you should use them. 17:42 This is a screen printing shop in Atlanta. 17:46 They are really good friends of mine, and I 17:48 make this quick little tee shirt design for them. 17:50 I also made some new friends with Instrument in Portland. 17:53 I worked on a YouTube project with them. 17:57 You can't see some of the detail cuz the brightness on that screen is too high, but 18:00 I had a lot of, I just had a lot of fun continuing to meet these people. 18:06 And I always try and keep, keep fun in my work. 18:11 This is a quote by Nick Offerman. 18:15 I just recently finished reading his book and it's an 18:16 incredible gift to be able to make your own fun. 18:20 And that was the biggest thing that stuck with me when I first read it. 18:23 It just, it, it immediately clicked that, he's 18:27 a comedian, so obviously he likes having fun, but 18:30 it, it, it really is a great thing to be able to bring joy to people through fun. 18:33 Fun is like a disease that spreads faster than 18:39 the common cold and laughter is the best medicine. 18:42 So it's really important to me to add fun to 18:45 my work because it brings delight that wouldn't normally be there. 18:48 And it's just, it, it, it gives me a lot of joy to see someone smile 18:53 at something I do and get really excited 18:57 and want to produce the same amount of fun. 18:59 So yeah. 19:02 Now I'm gonna talk about Dropbox. 19:04 So, Dropbox is an interesting company to work at. 19:07 It's pretty similar to MailChimp in the fact that it's 19:11 a tech company, but scale wise, it's a lot larger. 19:14 And just as much as MailcChimp, I had the same initial 19:18 thought of, well, how do I make something like this feel human? 19:24 And they had already done a pretty good job. 19:27 Obviously, if any of you use it, you understand the 19:29 illustration is a strong part of our branding and our product. 19:31 but, so far in the past three months, I've 19:38 gotten to work on a lot of really fun things. 19:40 Just adding these simple illustrations to a body of 19:42 copy or a simple process of signing up for something. 19:47 Just really changes the experience. 19:50 I tried to take our normal little characters there 19:53 for a shared folder and give them some personality, a 19:56 little attitude there on the left, and just kind of 19:59 making a visual for environments that would normally be there. 20:04 This was a part of our job's [UNKNOWN] 20:11 assignment that we actually just launched this week. 20:13 I also got the chance to work on our new product carousel. 20:18 I worked with a great team there's too 20:21 many people to list, but everyone there had a 20:24 part in it, and I worked on the branding 20:26 and helped with some other things for the launch. 20:29 But it was just, it was a really 20:33 cool experience to come in and immediately be involved 20:35 in such a creative environment and just get to 20:38 collaborate with so many people, and overall have fun. 20:41 So now I want to talk about some things that I like to tell people that 20:46 make my, my day to day better and that I think other people should consider too. 20:51 Take it for what you will. 20:57 Work together. 20:59 I think it's really important to work with other people. 21:00 I know a lot of people freelance, and 21:03 they wanna work at home, and that's totally fine. 21:04 There's nothing wrong with that. 21:07 It's not for everybody to work together, but I think it's really important. 21:08 You learn from each other and even like Tron and 21:13 Kendrick said, like, sometimes someone has a better answer than you. 21:17 So I think it's really important to work together. 21:21 Don't be a fart. 21:24 [LAUGH] There's enough people in this industry 21:25 that are difficult and jerks to work with. 21:29 Just be positive and have fun, and in the long run, it'll benefit you better. 21:33 Don't settle. 21:37 [LAUGH] Always push harder I just tried to make sure that 21:40 everything that I put out is something that I'm satisfied with. 21:46 And that I feel really great about sharing with my peers. 21:50 And something that I want people to look at and 21:54 be happy with and get inspired by quality over quantity. 21:56 I think it's, it's pretty common for most people to just work a 22:03 lot and produce too much, and quality kinda gets thrown out the window. 22:07 But I think it's really important to kinda slow down sometimes and 22:14 just, and focus on the end result, and not how much you're producing. 22:17 And people aren't gonna look at you any differently, 22:22 cuz if the quality is there, it, it speaks worlds. 22:24 Don't be a fart. 22:28 [LAUGH] I don't like working with people that say 22:29 shit like, ship it, R & D, and ask me everyday, what does it mean? 22:33 Really don't like them. 22:42 Less talking. 22:47 I'm, I'm guilty just as everybody else is 22:49 of being on Twitter and getting on websites and 22:51 commenting on stuff and dribble and it's, in the 22:55 end, it's not, not as important as just working. 22:59 Working is gonna produce better results than you just talking about the dumb stuff 23:03 I talk about on Twitter actually, and also the future isn't going anywhere. 23:10 I know a lot of people talk about designing for the future and wanting to 23:18 be there and get, get to the finish line but I don't think there is a finish line. 23:23 I think as long as you put satisfaction as 23:29 your primary goal, that to me is a good success. 23:33 So, have fun. 23:38 And thanks. 23:39 [SOUND] 23:44
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