brand•muse Interview with Chris Do of The Futur and host Philip VanDusenDec 24, 2021
so hi everyone this is filter bandits and welcome back to the
interviewseries. I'm here today with
chrisis the founder and ceo of the
future who has an awesome youtube presence as well as a podcast he is the ceo of blind inc. is a business design consultancy that specializes in defining
brands and business models user needs products to help accelerate growth and win clients for the companies they work for is also the executive producer of the process and welcome chris thanks for invite me so much I'd love to talk to you a little bit today about the mix of design and business, but before we get into that, can you share it with people a little bit about your own professional journey?
I talk a lot about non-linear career paths. know and how jogging along the way can help reinforce people's broader skill sets. I think one of the important things in life, in business and in your career is to be open to opportunities when they're knocking on your door, so when I went to design school my heart was set on doing editorial design, I was very very influenced first by Nevel Brody then David Carson and some of the early design pioneers and what I loved about what they did was their joy with typography and the movement of things on a page and that's what I studied and that's what I focused on while I was getting ready for grad school, I happened to take an After Effects class and learn animation and that altered my entire career path and took me to a very different place, so this was 1995 when I went into school so I think the term motion graphics or motion design wasn't a term yet and the desktop video revolution had just happened.
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brand muse interview with chris do of the futur and host philip vandusen...
There was a gentleman named Flavio compa, so for all you old school people who know Flavio compa, he had a company called compa vis. ions and was one of the first pioneers to use Adobe Premiere to add animation and use all these video cards that were displacing these million dollar boxes literally like million dollar boxes where they put the tools, I guess, in the hands of a designer versus operator or technician and that was my first big career if you will so I put aside this desire to do editorial design to do music and entertainment packaging to go into motion design that meant and had to learn about After Effects animation motion sequence design cinematography visual effects so that was a really long stack and to some people it would seem very daunting because I had just graduated from a very prestigious design school for the arts called art stone in Pasadena and had racked up quite a bill great. in tuition, so you'd say, well why did you go to that school, so if you're going to throw it away and that's my whole life philosophy and you have to be smart enough? realizing that there is a great opportunity in front of you and not clinging to the past so I hope now that investing has gotten me to this point maybe that's what it takes to realize that this is something I want to do and I was very excited because I thought I had already learned a lot and now I'm entering a completely different field, what you would have to learn about film editing about animation and all these other complex things and that meant to me at the time it was quite a life of learning and that really turned me on so I got into motion design.
We started doing animated end tags and animated typography. we did it, but we were hungry, we wanted to do more, so eventually we would keep adding to the list of things we did until finally, in the end, we ended up directing only live-action commercials with hardly any graphics. so we did that whole spectrum from starting with print design to doing some animated typography to doing full live action directing so you know one of the things you talked about a lot on all your channels is this combination from business and design and obviously you have and this is one of the things that I also possess, which is like this combination of left learning and right brain that you have, which is kind of a unicorn ability when it comes to designers.
A lot of designers have a hard time developing that aspect of their mind: You know the quantitative instead of the qualitative, the ability to crunch numbers and be a planner about things, and so how did you do it? How did you develop it? aspect of your skill set was something that you feel like you were born with or how you grew up in understanding design the business aspect of a design mm-hmm i think there's a l A little backstory i'm going to tell you and then you can tell me if it was an acquired skill or just born with it Here's the thing My parents worked in Silicon Valley My father was an engineer at a semiconductor company my mother worked for a layout draftsman for IBM this is in the early days of assisted design by computer so I remember she used I have all these drawing tools and architectural rulers and pencils and all that kind of stuff before they made that big change so that's my parents and mom you I know Heart really was a great artist because she painted with oils, she drew with pastels, she was a wonderful artist, but I think in the real world you have to do something too and I think we are both my mom and dad, her parents is that they work. and it was a dual income household, so he put all his dreams aside to do this, the very technical thing and when I look at the kind of history of my two parents, the families, his brothers and sisters, all his siblings, there were two. fa very big miles so we're talking between my mom and dad they both had probably 8-11 brothers and sisters each and I looked next to my dad's family they're all in computer science and engineering in the technical space and except for my mom all of my mom's brothers and sisters were dreamers they were poets songwriters painters there were all these kinds of really creative people and i saw it as one side of the family seemed to struggle a lot harder to make ends meet and you know which one which side is that, but the other one seemed to just phone after a while, they'd show up for work and look forward to the weekends and I'd hear them complain about work and I'm sure at some point even in a subconscious or unconscious way, the little kid in me was looking at these two worlds and making decisions and i didn't want to suffer the life of my parents they didn't want that for me either so i resolved in my mind i'm going to go and become a n accountant or investment banker or stockbroker or something and when I took the aptitude test in high school that's what he told me I should be I like to work alone I like logic and order and I'm into details you see that those things seem to point in one direction if you're looking at something very specific so I thought you know I'll go to UCLA or something and pursue economics or business and that's what it will be but meanwhile my whole life I've been happier doing things drawing painting or doing anything with my hands I used an airbrush and spent hours at night painting instead of doing trigonometry or calculus or whatever I was supposed to do so I was suppressing that creative voice until I finally got i said to myself when i met a real life live graphic designer maybe this is what i was supposed to do anyway i wasn't too interested in the other analytics stuff so for all my life was about trying to find that there is no balance between the more analytical side and the more creative side and i think as a business owner as someone who designs i can enjoy both halves are you that first designer you met and you know What then changed your point of view? -life example of what you saw where you saw that something could be possible do you know that obviously you have reached a place in your career where you are extremely successful and you know that we are always I think all of us are always looking to learn that is something in which I also stress a lot, which is a lifetime of constant learning and so when you get to a certain level in your career, how do you stay challenged?
Do you have a group of experts that you are a part of where you are not? the smartest person in the room or you have a mentor who takes you to the next level how you challenge yourself in your own continued growth hmm i have a lot of those things but i think the industry i work in brings and presents its own challenges all the time ri gh so at first I think there's only a handful when I say a handful like probably six or more companies that were doing what we were doing so competition was low demand was really high which meant that we could charge almost any price. and it also meant there was a lot of space for us not to know what we were doing, it was very forgiving in those early days and just to make a point, I remember a couple of times when we had so much work and I didn't have enough people to help me do the work i told my producer i can't take any more work what i want you to do from now on is double what you think the budget will be to make them go away and amazingly at that point she couldn't double it enough so that they leave and i was so freaked out at that point because you know he understands you it's like i don't have time for this so i don't go to make a call they tell me they want the job or not and they still wouldn't go ahead quick a couple years ago the 9/11 attack the.com bubble burst the giant recession we were going through and probably still coming out of right now all those things present many challenges and I used to work in advertising, which means I did commercials for ad agencies, people don't want to see ads on social media anymore, all these other types of things, so the challenges are one after the other and sometimes , it feels like you're standing in the ocean and just getting hit by wave after wave, you figure out one thing, you think it's over and there's a little bit of calm and then this giant wave comes and hits you in the face so if something What I've learned over the years is that about every three or four years, if we look back and we haven't changed enough, we're going to be in trouble because the next wave is going to sink us and that's one of the reasons why we're one of the oldest single-owner movement design firms to date. running today our firm w as founded in 1995 it's 2018 so we're going to be 23 years here so very few companies I know of have consistently stayed at that level right so that's what we're doing so the industry itself presents so many challenges for us and so we now have to stay on top of it, luckily for me I was able to get some great guidance and found a business coach that I had worked with for over 10 years, we would meet one day every week without fail, unless he was sick. or at a photo shoot we would get together and this is where I started to develop my business acumen and I look at how I got my MBA in business and obviously you have a very strong brand for your agency in your various agencies and activities and you are also the face of those agencies , so I talk a lot about personal branding on my channel and the importance of developing a personal brand that is independent of the agency or company you may work for, especially for designers. and because of exactly what you just talked about the agency landscape has changed dramatically in the last five years and some of the biggest global agencies in the world have shrunk dramatically and therefore the ability for a designer to own a little more of your own destiny is really important so how do you separate in your head the Christo brand from the brand of the
future or from the blind ink brand? those brands are really considered one at a time that's a really good question and it's an evolving process and i want to tell you that tomorrow if you ask me it might change again who knows because originally when we just had a company called blind , I was very aware that it is a team effort, first of all, I did not want to be in front, I wanted to be behind and support the team when the team wins, I win and that is how I wanted to do it.
If you put your name and your face in front of everything you do, then every client that calls you wants to work with guess who they want to work with you, then it becomes very difficult to scale and I saw that happen at other firms, I'm not going to mention their name but I didn't want that to happen so as often as possible I would give credit and put the person who was doing the actual work next to me and talk to them with the client and eventually just move on to a second flat, this allowed us to scale, so now I had different art directors and creative directors running the project and we made it very simple when we talked to the client.
I was talking to him just to make the kind of The initial onboarding process he took me by the hand to make sure thatI was feeling really good and when I felt like the project had its kind of foundation underneath it would slowly fade into the background and every now and then I would communicate with the client says that's all What goes well is whatever the creative directors call it doing a good job cause not just my name i can fire that guy and then they would laugh and reassure me everything was ok.it's going great and that's how it worked out so blind he's humming and we'd want to enter competitions and my name doesn't even i would be at the entrance it would just be them so i wanted to celebrate people for both selfishness and a little bit of egalitarian reasons like yeah you're the star but i also don't want to do all the work so this is fantastic it works for all now that we are entering the era of personal branding.
I was starting to wonder. when i'm creating posts for the blind, can i post under the blind voice as a company or myself and this got really shady for me? I was very hesitant to put anything too opinionated because I don't want to alienate anyone. because blind is a combination of many personalities, not just mine, now we have a design philosophy, we like to celebrate great work and therefore I like to let it do its thing and from time to time contribute to the voice of that brand and then in my own sandbox I started experimenting I know my personal brand now I felt really liberated so I was posting things on Instagram and on Twitter and I was developing my own voice and I found it was much easier posing authentically as myself without worrying that it would hurt our brand and potentially our income stream so I started developing the next thing that I was able to accumulate totally outgrown and now we have two different personalities so to speak one is very active the other she's very stubborn and can say things in a big way, well, the other one is very conservative about the projects and what we think in terms of good design in the world, so those two women coffers start to come up and now I'm starting to see that it's okay I can go back and Don the blind person and write and create for four blind people but I don't really have that much energy on time now when we create a third company or our second company in the future our third brand i was thinking ok im going to run into the same problem again do i write on the wii or i write with my eyes and in the beginning the connection we have to our community is really through me so i started writing, I love it and even though it was the brand of the future and I found that it created no more problems for me because people were on board the gecko basically built around me and what I have to teach to make it a little easier and I can easily change between me and the future and not too much about whose voice it is like that because you have a lot of brands and you know that each brand has an ecosystem, if you will, for what they show up in the world and a number of points d e different contacts and we design them as agencies, we design them for our clients, how do they do it? focus on doing that for you and your brand in weird terms, how do you choose where you're going to show up and where you're going to show up? know the customer customer word of mouth is you know trust your current touchpoints like your podcast your youtube channel to act as a brand develop our business development tool for you advertise what your chosen touchpoints are in this world hmm ok this is tricky right now because we have two brands and they brand it and reach customers in very different ways so I'll talk about how the blind get jobs we have sales reps that go out and are constantly in the social social space as in real space talk to the art buyer agency art directors producers to see if there is a project that is right for us and that is how we have been able to sustain ourselves for the last two decades and we use sales reps too I have an executive producer who also comes out to mix in the features and to make sure that the people who are in the buying As you develop relationships that are now 20 years deep, many of the new job contacts at brand design consultancies actually come from One of those relationships, and I'll give you an example, one of our biggest clients is a company called Hudson Pacific properties.
They are, I think, a realistic twelve billion dollar commercial real estate development company. The way we got this client was one of my realtors helping us acquire our space and the spaces before the space we're in today reached. He came out to talk about some branding needs and I helped them, so one of their clients is Hudson Pacific, so it's this network of people that you know and it's important that you check in with people from time to time, especially the who knows you've changed a long time ago you're not that little kid you're not that 12 year old you're not the 18 year old who really likes 80's hair bands or whatever you like i know things change then , it's important that you update and update people in the world because they don't spend a lot of time thinking about you, they have their own problems and this is one of the things that I think designers and neglect. think wow I'm super special and well everyone should hire me and give me a job so when you update your status either in real life or on your social media and you're connected with people they say oh I didn't.
I don't know you did that now so you have to keep doing it very consistently throughout otherwise people have other things and I think of you kind of fade away and when it comes to the future the way the future works, we make announcements. campaigns right now we are running three ad campaigns mainly on facebook and then the most effective for us because we can target very specific people, we do a little bit of retargeting and for your audience who may or may not know what it is, land on a piece of content ours and shows that you are interested in something very specific, we may want to retarget you if you put something in your shopping cart and abandoned it for some reason and just left it there, we might target you and you will see an ad from us that will follow for a period of time and that's how we get business, so you know.
I think that's a really interesting point when one of the things I talk about a lot is how designers can protect their careers because the agency landscape is changing dramatically and you know the requirements of a designer or an entrepreneur to survive in the Today's business environment are very different than they used to be. Are there any particular skills that you know of? you see as one that and let's say in addition to business acumen skills that you know is really important in today's business environment for our design environment not just as some kind of bullet proof for your career it's okay if you're coming from a tra Traditional Design Background I would say you need to build your house on a really strong foundation mastering the fundamentals and a lot of people want to make things flashy and cool and we see this happen all the time in the reviews we do on our show. it's that they like flash and they don't have the foundation that they have they don't understand solid design principles that will last them a lifetime so I would invest time and energy there.
I would also say there is a world of knowledge out there that you can take advantage of that is available for very small amounts of money in the form of books in the form of podcast shows like yours and other YouTube stuff and most of it is free you can go too to conventions and events and functions like that that's also another way that I can connect with people, learn from other speakers, but also every once in a while I run into a client that I don't even know was there, they start talking to me , we follow up and then he and they have become customers of ours and that's fantastic the other thing I think you should do is what I'm going to say is like looking at yourself every five years looking back this is the The only time I give you permission. look back and consider where you've been if you haven't seen much progress growth and change that's a red flag if you're an agency study a solopreneur if you're an association if you're still doing the same job, if you still love the same style If you're still communicating the same platforms and haven't evolved much, that's a sure sign you may be hitting an iceberg very soon, this happens to so many super talented designers. they burn real hot they get like all this work wins all the words are in the yearbooks and we've seen this happen over and over again if you've been around long enough and then somehow they just fade from the psyche of what it is like great and what's good now and the new comes in and that's how evolution works, the old comes out, the new comes in, so there's always room for new people to come in and this is a danger, if you're not paying attention to what's what's going on you'll end up there so i see a lot of ex design professors like oh the web i just don't understand a video uh you know it's like too much gimmickry and in visual gimmicks i don't want to do that oh social media marketing like that is a fad that's going to last what one two years that's not going to go anywhere and then you see them trapped in this kind of dogma that this has always worked this is always going to work and this is how i want to do it forever and if you can make it fancy stico but there are so many other bigger opportunities out there for you to apply what you know and your skills so that's why I say just pay attention when opportunity knocks so you at least open it so there's a struggle in designers. as to whether they should be because there's so much m any platform and so many ways to get involved in design or business and you can be a generalist or you can be a specialist you can go very deep into video or video editing or special effects or may know do a little identity devise a little strategy a little this well that in today's changing environment, how would you recommend people approach that aspect?
What should you focus on? I know I think I'm a specialist and I also think this is to some degree contextual because I've been on the global agency side and I've been on the global corporation side. And when you're in an agency, sometimes a big career change is to be more of a generalist because then you know you're valuable on a number of different fronts when you know who a client is or revenue is down. in the ax Falls right that's right you think it's contextual you think there's a certain approach that maybe is above and beyond a different one hmm i think there is one approach and you be the judge and tell me if it's not the answer what you're looking for but what i recommend people do is show experience externally and a very narrow focus makes it much easier for you to market yourself and get a job and be known for something marty numeira talks about this and the way the mind is mapped out is like a bento box for every category of things we can think of we have room for maybe one or two things like when you say mp3 player you think ipod automatically or a personal computer are you going to say apple dell or alienware or whatever brand whatever you're thinking of and that's all the space there is.
I think the same goes for fill in the blank. Graphic designer. Brand consultant. Strategist. There are a couple of slots for each person's brain. and if you were to part it's very hard for them to realize that you're kind of weird, it's not to say you can't be amazing, amazing, lots of different things, but people can't. Please understand that so my advice is to be a specialist externally, but be a generalist internally, for what you're marketing, let's say your big conceptual part is and that's what you're marketing. I like doing sci-fi concept art for feature films boom we understand that's what the world knows you for but on the inside you're reading philosophy you're studying figure drawing your understanding of graphic design or interior design really makes you a person Rich, so when you get called for an opportunity, you walk in.
Yeah, okay, I'm designing a spaceship, but I'm also designing interiors, but you, oh, need some costume design. I can do that and I always love to work. I wonder why I loved it so much. That's because I started integrating typography and foreign language letters into the ships that I would design because I started to learn about that and then you understand cultures and maybe you're getting into sociology or anthropology, whatever, and I think that's It's wonderful, okay, so now some people are like wait wait wait how can I reconcile this? Oh, I have one more metaphor I'd like to share that seems to help a lot of people.
I believe that you and the totality of your Creator are like this giant beam of light and if I had a flashlight it would shine. directly on this lens right now and what would happen is you would get this amazing lens flare butit dulls you it's a little too bright it's a little too much for me to process and if you don't get it just look at the Sun it will be too much for you to process properly but here's the cool thing you filter the light through a prism and then you see it's red orange yellow blue green indigo violet you see all these wonderful colors so this is the part I think you need to make a decision this white light is you you can choose which spectrums of color you want to show different people, so I'm a father, I'm a husband and a teacher, I'm an entrepreneur, I'm an owner, sometimes I'm a customer, etc. sometimes I just show the red spectrum, the cool spectrum or something in between, but very rarely do I show someone full white light because it's a little too much, it's a little too intense for people, so you can bring them into the colors more cold and eventually graduate to this other thing there while you're this kind of amazing triple threat let's say you could sing and dance and act that's awesome but maybe not at first I love love love that analogy. great what does he keep saying you know one of the things i also focus a lot on my channel is trend and i started out in fashion retail so i was in fashion retail for 15 years i traveled around the world, you know, when I shopped everywhere discovering trends and so I love ke Opening my eyes for the trend and when you see themes coming up that unite them and combine them into a particular image of something you see that it's freezing well and then How do you stay inspired?
You know you're obviously amazing. creative, you know the business realm as well as the client realm, but you know we're creative, we're entrepreneurial, how do you stay inspired? its BS young people don't buy into old ideas or platforms that they are constantly challenging and unfortunately they also live in a very disposable space and i think that's wonderful because i picked through their crap so i look at what my guys i have a 14 year old years and another 12 years. I teach young people all the time what I was teaching in an art center there, they are 20 years old or college age so they are becoming independent. voice and d I see what they look at so they have all this inordinate free time and this is wonderful because they can move around the internet and scrape all this cool stuff and everyone so I see something that's interesting like where did you find that you can send? to me that's very interesting and then they do so i use them as a feeder so they're filtering out a lot of crap and i just select the stuff i like but here's the thing and i think the way they work trends in terms of design and fashion is that they go in cycles, things come and go, I think you have to be open to liking what's coming and process it and absorb some of that at work, but don't worry too much because if you really you're working on solving problems this is wonderful because then it's not about style or fashion and that's ok i understand this is the problem and even though this is not my personal style this corduroy suit might work very well for you with these heels really shiny suede and that's what it looks like that's the natural combination so for me as a consumer and a creator of things I just want to have a really broad spectrum of what my visual palette is going to be to have a general understanding of what about photography, architecture and fashion and explore it all. those things, luckily for me, I'm turned on by all these kinds of things, like I'm not saying I'm a fashion expert, but I like to look at things in GQ magazine or whatever and search Pinterest or Instagram accounts like oh , that's really cool.
I didn't realize that the combination works and I also liked architecture and interior design so I'm constantly looking for information all the time because I want to be as versatile as possible and have as wide of a palette as possible so that when a client or problem comes into play you can find the right solution and marry those two together. I'm going to use your analogy in reverse and say that it's almost as if that prism diversifies into separate colors that are inspired by your fourteen year old son and in all these different avenues converge through the prism and become the white light that is Chris Doe in his inspiration, so it's kind of a reverse prism I when that we came to America I'm a first generation immigrant and we're refugees from Vietnam, we basically started over in this wonderful country and we didn't have a lot of money, so basically the tools we had available to us were quite limited. compared to what i can afford to provide my kids like glue they were like little pieces of rice we would have to roll a pizza ball and squash together my box of crayons was like 12 crayola so every time i You'd walk into the pharmacy I'm like mmm look at that box of 128 crowns what could I do with those many shades of colors or that set of markers you know they're like four colors versus like this giant pack and money was what kept us from that but I was thinking like a adult now, to continue the analogy, I just want to have more crayons and tools and kids to make things with because you're like I remember Lou Lou Lou Danziger, one of the history of graphic design professors at Art Center, a legend in his own right I would say if you want to change your style just change your tool that's as easy as it's going to get if you always draw with a pencil try a pen try a brush , try a stick like a piece of wood that you grab outsiders just do that so i want to be the kid who has a lot of different tools to create and that's why i say another thing is designers tend to be self centered and they can be very heady. less creative about work and when it comes to selling their work or selling themselves sometimes they are too much about themselves and as brand people and as you said in a previous video of yours that i saw was you you consider yourself a problem solving business ess that is what we do we listen to our clients problems and we solve those business problems with design with brand with strategy and to do that we have to listen to what are the needs of your clients what are the needs of your clients and address customer needs, so I'm always harping on the fact that designers really need to embrace the consumer mindset and communicate in a customer-centric way instead of knowing you come to their website and they're like oh hi, I'm Joe Blow and I know InDesign and I'm a fantastic animator and I-I-I-I really is more about communicating who the viewer is who the visitor is and what they need. sita and address that right away what's what kind of point of view on what in terms of designers and their understanding or approach to consumer centric communication mm-hmm when I used to teach at the Art Center I would talk to my students about the two things that designers have created, people need, need to be what they have. e have empathy and they have to be able to imagine things they can't see those are two key traits so let's talk about empathy for a second empathy is your ability to understand and look at the world through another person's point of view, so you can understand what they're going through, so if you're so focused on yourself and have the lens reversed and all you do is see your own problems, well, you can't really relate to other people. to a client and you can't relate to the client of the client so one of the exercises we do is we try to ask our students when they're designing something pretend you're a rock like you don't have a mouth do you have eyes like what you are thinking about right now and so through a couple of stabs at this they eventually let go of their own personality now i mean like you're a puppy so now at least we're moving around and you're a twelve year old girl with freckles? what are you thinking about like you are at the beach and what are you wearing like we go in every way and ask them to imagine themselves.
I describe the process as mind walking instead of sleepwalking your mind walking you are going out of your mind to someone else and I think IDEO uses the term Design Thinking which is really just about empathy and we need to understand that now once we we have a point of view that is not our own, suddenly we can use all our creativity to solve very complex problems i was reading this book called one plus one equals three in the book the author talks about creative people they are really great to connect points we are wonderful at saying sandwich rockets but we can put those two together and in everyday people you don't see creative people or like sandwich it's always the sandwich and rockets are always rockets the two will never mix well so he says this is fantastic , but the problem is that creative people usually designers have very few d or well they are just vertically aligned so what you have All we have to do is expand those dots outward so when we say it's all about me I, I, I'm very self-centered, well you only look at your little dots, but actually you can be very valuable not only to yourself but also to your customer helping him see like wow ok now i can see business people coming to your fast casual restaurant need to get in and out really fast because they have to get back into the grind.
So what can we do as a company? What opportunities exist to solve that problem? There is a gap, right? So we can solve that by using an app that separates a curbside pickup thing or a quick menu where there are only six items to choose from and we can get you in and out in two minutes now has dramatically impacted that person's business now notice we haven't talked about you needing a new logo or the interior design isn't quite right well that really is about you imposing your own style of taste and sensibi Think about other people and if you don't think it's a fun time , invite people over to your house, and then let them rearrange your furniture without being asked.
Yes, I don't like this chair and the TV. it's all wrong it's like what are you waiting for don't touch my stuff that's how i like it like that and this is what you're doing you go to someone else's house and you're going to rearrange their furniture spontaneously without understanding anything about their needs and how they use things and that's the real issue and i think if i could wish for something for the audience if you're younger on the eighteen year old side if you're just entering college or if i'm just coming out to really rethink the design of your approach and how you want to solve the problems. this plane i ate this sandwich and i have to figure out how they all relate to each other and that's when those dots start to form for us which i think is really interesting and that's one of the things i've always loved about the design and the agency branding to begin with when you bring us in for these you know a whole different industry that you weren't familiar with like I did a brand identity for GE and we make jet engines and part of that was we were able to go to the GE's jet engine test facility located in the mountains. from Ohio in the military, you know, they cordoned off 2,000 acres, you know, mountains where they take a 747 engine and hang it from the ceiling and run it for five days straight and then they drop a frozen turkey on it to see how it explodes and you know , seeing that and being exposed to that was so amazing and it brought so many different ideas to my head and I approached the test facility in such a different way than everyone who worked there and was very familiar with it. you're an example of a client, brand, or project to you that was one of those kind of mind-expanding experiences where you just thought it's great that I'm in this industry and getting exposed to this hmm, I don't really have an example.
That was a wonderful example that you have, but I feel blessed every day that clients still call us, ask us to solve very complex problems, and often ask us to solve problems that they weren't even really qualified to solve and I will do it. I give you an example that that real estate development company that I talked about they invited us to design their showroom one day and I have no experience in interior design I don't really understand that very well but what they told me was we I really loved his ideas, his creativity and his sense of history, and with that I said okay, let me think about this from your client's point of view, so that when a broker brings a prospect into the exposure, a narrative is being built whether or not. no they intend to have one or not so we look at just one you walk inside the building what happens what happens when you just pull over in your car what does that look like so each one is an opportunity to tell a bit of a story and i'll give you a great example ok i was in hollywood recently i was at the gnomon school for digital artists and it's a wonderful resource for learning things and i was just walking around to get a tour very quickly andthe way I was brought into space.
I was thinking it's cool the way they do this so they have about 34,000 square feet in Hollywood that's a lot of space for a school and I was sitting there thinking they took me through the gallery first like who said who saves saves all this space to have a gallery good because now you're looking at this work as art and it's literally put on a pedestal so there are sculptures busts they're like sci-fi creatures and robots and things like that there are wonderful renderings and you're like wow if I were a student , a potential student, I'm walking with my mom and dad, I was like see this is real, this is really cool, look what they're doing and all over the space are framed copies of famous arguable movies all kinds of movies presumably this is the industry we're going to work in this is going to be fantastic and they're set in hollywood like the old back studio that i see in the bungalow like this that this is wonderful storytelling if you want to think about it they could have been in beverly hills they could have been in koreatown but they weren't there in hollywood they are selling the hollywood dream so anyone who comes in and they did a couple more things the design of the hallways and The classrooms are very different from anything I have seen in normal schools.
They designed them like spaceships, so the desks are weird and there's metal and chains and things look rusty and bolted like you're stepping on the deck of the Nebuch. Matrix adnezzar and everything is angular and weird and the doors are plated in it the emergency exits are different it looks like you went into a spaceship and then they have arcade cabinets with classic games and you're thinking man if I was a 15 year old boy, this is my dream so without saying a single word without giving out a flyer or pamphlet no marketing videos that told the story across the space and i was thinking of making a comment to the two guys i was there with look what they're doing here and they got left behind like oh my gosh I didn't realize what was happening to me so these are wonderful opportunities so if you were paying attention if you're really learning to see and you're looking at things for the first time in new ways the world is your teacher and it's a wonderful palette so when clients asked if you'd take on this assignment I give them a little disclaimer that it's It's not what I do but if you want me to do it I'm happy to do it so now I've been asked to consult on VR experiences and what do I know about that but I do know the story.
I think what you're talking about is experience design, right? And I know that yes, you know that I could do it. a whole hour with you on experience design because you know what it is, you know VR AI, you know retail environments like you're talking about the furniture showroom where you have to rearrange someone's furniture, by the way, yeah, and you didn't know anything about how they were going to react, I think that that holistic approach to all the senses and how they relate to a brand experience is that you know a much broader topic and something that I would love to talk to you about, but I'm afraid I'm going to I'm going to have to finish it, but I want to finish with the one question I ask everyone: do you have a personal mantra or some kind of manifesto that Christo likes to try to live by?
It's okay, they prepared me for this. notes here and I don't. I usually walk around thinking: this is my mantra. I just live my life and sometimes when someone asks me I have to take stock of oh what am I thinking? So here are a couple of things I want to share with your audience. One is that I think we need to change the language in which we describe experiences, for example, when we don't win at something, if we don't reach our goal, we see it as a very negative experience, when we try new things, it's called failure in us and a Failure is not something anyone wants to hold on to, it's a horrible feeling, but if we change the words in which we describe how emotional we feel, the emotion we connect with the experience, what we should see is that this was a learning opportunity. and that was another way i found didn't work and i'm on a search.
I'm finding a way that works, so one of the best things you can do is get rid of the fear you have. feel and try to do something new and that's critical because What happens is we start doing the things we know are going to be successful over and over again and then one day we wake up and find we're in a rut and what It has happened with the life we â€‹â€‹have dreamed of. have and we feel old and cranky and life isn't as fun as it used to be we're not full of energy so that's something I want people to think about and be very careful about the words they choose to describe experiences as well that when someone criticizes you, they're not attacking you and that's probably the word you're adding, they're not disrespecting you, they're sharing their knowledge with you and you could choose later to do it or not and that's totally up to you so I think that if you can have this philosophy of life this attitude is going to change everything so that was one you got another note oh i give you one more well one of the things i love to say this is action beats it by the way we all have these ideas we have these wishes tomorrow i'm going to lose 50 pounds i'm going to be in the best shape of my life but that's a bit so i was reading somewhere our solution is something about how you get it is a hit of dopam ina like when you say something and you feel really good like yeah and for a lot of people now just saying it's good enough for them that they don't really have to do anything and that's a danger so if you suffer from this if you often you tell people I'm going to do this.
I'm going to travel the world and you end up not doing it. One of the ways you suppress it is that you can't say anything anymore. The only way you can share that concept is when you actually do it. It is a self-published way to monitor your own weight on your own. It's here so you can do more of what you want to do and the last thing I want to say and I want to say this to all creative people especially learn to listen to your heart, your heart knows what's right. our hearts are in your best interest so when your heart tells you something like that you seem like a really controlling customer who will ruin my life for the next three months don't take that job if your heart says we're not happy doing this thing working hard on this corporate job listen to him he knows what is good for you and don't deny what he wants follow your heart it will make you happy healthy and richer than ever chris awesome thank you so much for spending time with us today i really appreciate it and where can people find you you can find me on almost all platforms we are on Facebook we are on Twitter we are on Instagram we are on YouTube so you can find us in two easy ways, one is to search for it, the future is here, the future is not written with an e and you know why we are designers , this is how we do things or you can look me up. it is about doing it very well thank you very much sir I appreciate your time thank you you are a lot
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