A Conversation with Allan Peters: Logo Process, Bad Customers & A Gunshot Wound
This week we’re back with MORE from our awesome conversation with the iconic Logo Creator, Brand Artist, Badge Master and Graphic Designer Allan Peters.
MORE of his insane career
MORE advice for designers
MORE on his upcoming book
…and one CRAZY story that left us speechless.
Catch the second part of our awesome conversation with Graphic Designer, Allan Peters.
Allan Peters Logo Graphic Designer Interview
Allan Peters: [00:00:00] Good day. Do you, do you, do you, do you start backwards? Like do you start with, hey, negative space and then move forward? Like, I start with, um, I, I come up with a list of brand notes, like, what could this logo be? I have my clients, everybody who's gonna be a decision maker when that can happen. Big, big brands, you know, usually the CEO person or whatever, they don't see all finished and then they're like, ah, they always have some issue.
Um, but with a medium size brand or smaller, you can usually get this, the present or CEO in that early part, buying off on the subject matter and figuring out what the brand nouns are gonna, they can define what that brand market is. And it's, so we make this giant list, like 70 things, and then we hop on the phone or Zoom or whatever.
Then we narrow it down to 10 to 15. So we get rid of all that stuff. They don't wanna see. Let's say they don't wanna see, um, I don't know, a Golden Gate bridge in their logo. Mm-hmm. You know, they X that off there and then, then you're not wasting time doing sketches on [00:01:00] stuff, but it's strategically off, right?
Yeah. So then I go back, I've got this list of, you know, 15 things like here's my Legos and I have my other list of. What I, I made it right here. It is like negative space, overlapping geometry, visual rhythm, unexpected twist on a expected visual, visual flow. All the different ways that I can take these things and combine them together to make something new.
Cool. So it's not just like another bird logo. Yeah. You know, what if it's a bird combined with a star? Or what if it's a bird combined with stripes? What if it's a bird combined with a talk bubble? I, I don't know. Um, That's a Twitter logo, isn't it? Yeah. Yeah. Thanks. Course. But, but in, in general, you know, like how, and you start, I just, I sit there and I just start drawing, you know, I, I, I, I put the brand nouns on a page and I, I have 'em up in the corner.
Yeah. And I do these stupid little ugly drawings that, that aren't, they are not good drawings. You know, I look at all of 'em, dude, these are just, I've got these, that's what my desk is [00:02:00] filled with. I've got tons and there's like little pencil sketches, you know, you know where I, and, and they're not detailed.
They're, they're fine. So they're, are they, they're not to get, but they're not, they're not for the client. Those are for me, you know? Yes. And then when I take those and I make the vectors out of 'em, yep. But that's when I'm trying to figure out like, is is there a negative space solution? Is there this, is there that, but you know, like the, those folks that on Instagram, that's just.
They, they make logos for the sake of logos. They're like, dude, I, I hate those. I know it's the word bird and it has a negative space. A and you're just like, oh, I hate hate that dude. Oh dude, don't even start me on that. Yeah. Yeah. So I, I'm not, I'm not like coming out, like, I've had a client come to me and they're like, whoa, I love the Nu Space logos You did, man.
I won a negative space logo like that. And, and I have to tell 'em, I'm like, maybe it'll work out. Yeah, yeah. But that's, it's, you know, that's, it's tough. That's like, you know, in Back to the Future and, and you know, and they're gonna drive the DeLorean and not having that sheet of paper that says when Lightning's gonna strike, but like, like, man, I wanna go [00:03:00] back and back to my time, but I don't know when that lightning's gonna strike.
You know? Hopefully we get lucky, you know? Yeah. So. Okay. So with that being said, then, I mean, again, so. You touched on two points here that I think are interesting. You have a process, right? We've done this enough, right? Yep. Um, but then you've got these, these, these other people who are just faking logos, right?
Where's that fine line with authenticity? Uh, authenticity and, um, experience? Right. And I, and again, I, okay. I have an answer to this, I think, but I'd like to hear what you have to say when it comes to, is the stuff like, is it authentic when you're doing this over and over and it becomes almost formulaic, if that's a real word.
Is that a word? Yeah. Yeah. Formulaic. Sounds good. Yeah. All right. All right. Okay. Um, authentic authenticity. I had that on the list. Yeah, I know. I, well, it does become formulaic. I think when things become formulaic though, uh, you [00:04:00] get better and you're able to like really start crafting. Mm-hmm. And then really get into the, the.
That's when innovation happens. I think when you're like, all of a sudden you're like, you know what, I, I remember the first time it did a brand down process and I was like, okay, I'm doing this brand down process thing. And I sat down with the client and we came up with 80 things and my client was like, this is awesome.
And I was like, this is awesome. And then I went back and, and I, and I made my, and I went and made my logos and I came back. I was like, here it is based out those 70 brand nouns. I picked the six that I like. That made sense. And here you go. And she's like, well, I didn't like those brand nouns. I like these other brand nouns.
Why didn't you pick those brand nouns? And I was like, you know what? Maybe I should have a a The whole, I think the most important part of the brand down process is when you eliminate the ones that they don't want. Fair enough. That's good From then on, you know, that's the, the, you know, that's how I did it.
It's worked so much better. But you know, I, I think you do something over and over and over and over again and you start seeing [00:05:00] the flaws or even the parts that are like slowing you down or aren't working as well. There's definitely part of me where, cuz I, I got into this habit of like, Like, I'm like, I always do.
I'm like, I want 15 across the plate. Damn. That I, I feel good about every single one of 'em that I wouldn't be upset about if they pick. Wow. And honestly, man, I don't, I don't need to do that. That's, yeah. Yeah. You're thinking about, I'm like, why don't I just do three? I can make a lot more money and do a lot more projects, but, uh, I don't know.
I I don't think he'd hit the light. I don't think he'd strike lightning as mu many times. I don't think he'd be doing his quality of work. I, I think. I think just really, and I have so many people when I, when I talk to my process and I'm like, I present 15 brand marks, they're like, you're dumb. Yeah, yeah.
Dumb. That's, that's stupid. I'm never gonna do that, man. You're gonna confuse the client. Clients are dumb. No, you need, you need to only present three cuz your client is not gonna be able to handle it. And you never, with you not true. I think we're, that's not true. These are like a lot of time, well, [00:06:00] not always, but, you know, sometimes you're educating 'em.
But like, if you're working with a big brand, you're working with somebody who's a marketing professional that's worked their way up, who's been doing this for years, who probably has more experience than you do. Agree. And, and they, they know what they're looking for and you want to check every one of those boxes of what you think they're guessing on or what they have in the back of their mind or they want to see.
And by doing three, you might miss a target in all three. Mm-hmm. But by doing 5, 8, 10, 15, you might be like, oh, I. They haven't seen these five executions. Yeah. They've, they understood the first 10, but the first five, those last five. I, I agree with you a hundred percent. I think you're, I think it's, anyway, go on.
Yeah. If you can do 15. Yeah, you should, dude. Right? I mean, that's, that's all. Yeah. You know what the quality level is, you know what your baseline is for quality. Yeah. 15 is not a bad thing. If you can talk 'em through it, there's usually a, a direction or two where you're like, this is, this is what they need to pick.
Yeah. And they usually do. Yeah. They usually can see that. They see, they see all the options and they're like, oh, wow. That's [00:07:00] the obvious choice. You know? It's usually that way. It is an always, but, you know, being a good salesman is a big part of it. Leading, you know, setting up your deck properly. Yeah. I don't care.
Leading to the inevitable choice. Uh, there, there's ways to present it where you can, you can get in there and you can sell what you want to sell. That, that, uh, fellow, that, that boss, I had ej I remember one time we had all done a bunch of logos for, I don't even remember what the brand was. I, I think it was docks or something like that.
We were doing a lot of outdoor rec stuff, so like dock boat docks. And, um, he had done the couple logos. Another designer there had done a couple logos and I had done a few logos and we were presenting 'em all. And I, but I was gonna be the one who was gonna have to work on it, do all the rest of the brand identity and make all the sales folders and whatever else, all the different pieces Yeah.
That we're gonna go with, with this logo and, and ej, he, he was just like, he was, he was excited and he went, he was excited about one of his logos and he was gonna sell it through. And he, so [00:08:00] he was just, he's going to bought and he was like such a good salesman. He could, he could have sold on a hexagon through, and then it was just like nothing to it.
It's just a black hexagon. He could, he could have sold that man. And so he's, he's, he's selling the heck out of his logo. He's gonna, he, he's, he's gonna, he's, and we, we were on the phone so the K client couldn't see us, you know, it wasn't like zoom or anything like that back in the day. Uh, but I remember he looked at me and he was, he was just like, And I was like, yeah.
I was like, no, no, no, no. Like I didn't wanna work on them with that logo for the next like six. And he's making dollar signs and you're like, God, no, not impact. He's kinda like, he's kinda like, and I, and I point to the logo, I want completely turned the client and sold my, the logo I wanted him to sell. And in he had already had 'em sold.
He, they were eating on his hand. Like he could, we could have like hung up the phone and we'd be done. Yeah. And then he turned it around and he is like, but oh, the one you really want is this one Jedi mind tricked until completely. And [00:09:00] Bruno, he was so good. He was so good. But you know, being a good salesman is a big part of, um, selling good work.
You. The soft skills are super important. I, you know, you can make great logos, but if you're not good at selling 'em Yeah, you're not, you're gonna, if you're just, you're gonna get all the, you might make a lot of great stuff, but it never is gonna get produced. Yeah. One of his big things was, you know, you have to own that presentation.
Like, it's not just a matter of doing the work, but you've gotta present it and, and do, I don't wanna say jazz hands cuz that kind of sounds salesy, but you know, it, it is all in the presentation, the execution. Mm-hmm. I think a lot of times people, they take the easy way out. They will email logos out to people or they will just like, here you go, let me know what you think.
Um, actually let me get outta here cause I don't wanna present too much, but the reality is you are absolutely right. It's like that Jedi mind trick where you need to learn how to make people pick the card that you want them to pick. Mm-hmm. Right? Yeah. And not because you feel it's the best solution, you know, because it looks the coolest, but you've thought this [00:10:00] through and I mean, there's no, there's no question you've thought this through the execution all the way to the end.
Everybody should think this way. Yeah. Here's, here's the, because when you say Jedi mind trick Yeah. That really makes every client who would ever wanna work with me probably think I'm a psychopath, that they're not gonna work with me. Here. Here's, here's the truth of it. Okay. So I worked in-house. Yeah. And when I worked in-house, I learned that, um, uh, one of the most important things was that I was on the same team as the marketing people and the people I was selling the work to.
Mm-hmm. And so if they're like, you know, you should make this change. And I knew that revision was gonna just completely sabotage everything. Mm-hmm. I would tell 'em that. I'd be like, and like, I tried that and it doesn't work. You know, here's why I can explain it to you. And then you walk 'em through it and.
I, I, I would always try and lead them the right direction and something, or tell 'em like, you know, that's probably not the best decision. Or give 'em a call on the phone when they, when they tried to just email the, the revision that was bad. And I would call 'em right up, be like, Hey, it's Alan. Um, and [00:11:00] the great thing was, you know, not being, uh, a vendor, cuz I worked at a lot of, all the shop I worked at, I mean it, if a client told 'em do something, they'd be like mm-hmm.
Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Yep. Because that they wanna get the paycheck. They're worried about, they don't want to piss off the client. Mm-hmm. But I learned when I was working in house that if you were honest and you are guiding a client and you tell 'em like, you know, that's not the best decision, they're gonna respect you more because they know that the end goal is the same end goal that they want.
They wanna sell that product or they wanna Exactly. Whatever make that brand, you know, get out there and, and do well. They, they want success for the brand in the end. It's not about like, Me having some award-winning logo or me being like, yeah, they picked my favorite one. That's the coolest. Yeah. Or my client, you know, be like, I got the upper hand there, got my fingerprint on that bad boy.
It's not about that. It's what's important in the end is that they're hitting their, their goals, their [00:12:00] sales goals and stuff like that. And, and that this product is being successful. Mm-hmm. And if they see, like, I am willing to lay it down and, and, and not piss them off. Not be a jerk or anything like that, doing this respectful way, but I'm willing to tell 'em, you know, that they're, they're steering the car into a ditch right now.
Yeah. Yep. Let's, let's get back on the road and let's stay focused. Yeah. Uh, you're being their guide. Yeah. And, and that's important. And it, there's, there's, there's also like the perspective where you can be like, well, a logo is like, A runway model that they shouldn't have to stop on the runway and explain their outfit.
Well, it's not like that, especially if you're presenting 15 marks like me, you're like, you really need to guide them through the process. If, if I try and just like send over a deck with 15 marks, not only they're gonna be confused, they're not gonna pick the one I wanna Yes, I know. Never dude, are you actually standing in front?
Okay. So I know my process and I, I've got a, a wonky process, you know, where I flash them on screen, I don't say a word. I [00:13:00] take them off and then I, I let them think about it for three, five seconds and then I'm like, okay, what do you remember about I, I've got a weird process. That's cool. What do you, what is your, like what is your presentation process in this sentence?
Cuz with 15 I'd be mm-hmm. Me personally, I talk too much. I'd be there for three hours. Right. What do you do? So for that first meeting, yeah. Uh, that first brand mark meeting. I start with, uh, I, I show like the, the 15 brand or brand nouns that they picked. Yeah. I, I review them. I, I talk through every single one of 'em.
I'm like, these are the ones you picked. This is a subject matter that, that you wanted to see. You know, I've addressed these, 10 of 'em, you know, this, these other five just, you know, I tried some sketches but they just didn't work out. Yeah. You know, I explained that. I'm like, what you're gonna see here is you're gonna see 15 marks.
I'm gonna show you a uh, black on white. White on black. I'm not gonna show you color cuz I don't want to influence your decision. Yep. Here, here's perfect. Um, I, I want, I wanna walk through each one and I'm gonna have the brand nouns that I [00:14:00] used specifically on each one. So if you have to send this PDF off to PDF off to somebody, they can understand the subject matter really easily at glance.
That's correct. And then, At the end, I will have a slide with all 15 white on black, another one with black on white, and we can discuss then. But for now, let's just walk through, let me walk through it and then, uh, we'll have a discussion at the end. And then when I get to the end and I've, I've, I've walked through all 15 and then I, I have that slide up with all 15 of them at once, and they're like, wow, that's a lot of, that's a lot of really nice morning.
Usually the eyes light up little, a little bit. I ask 'em, I'm like, you do not need to make, make a decision right now. I wouldn't even advise that. You should probably sleep on it. You should probably talk to, you know, the, you know, other people, but if you had to go with your gut right now mm-hmm. Right.
What are the best three marks? Right. Let's, let's figure it out. Right. And I try and make 'em, make some decisions right off the bat. Yep. Or if there's a room of, like if, when I'm presenting to like a city and I have like the fire chief and the police chief and the mayor and like all these people in the room, and it's like nine people.[00:15:00]
I, I, I say I want each of you. To write down the three that you would pick. Mm-hmm. And then once everybody's written it down so they aren't influenced by, you know, the mayor or whatever, um, let's go around the room and talk about the ones we like and why. And I tally 'em up and then at then I'm like, if you had to pick right now, yeah.
This is the one that stands out. Or these two dude, I mean, again, again, brilliant. So we, we follow very similar form format in the sense that we, yeah. Our song and dance prior to that is a little tiny, tiny dip reverend. But yeah, ultimately we're like, listen, you need to focus on your initial gut reaction.
You know, what the project was about, you know, what, what, what the target is, what resonated with what we said. Right? And, and then we discuss, we, we tell 'em not to overthink it, cuz God dude, people overthink everything. So it's human nature to overthink things to death. By the time they analyze it to death, you end up with a logo.
Dude, I don't even want to talk about some of the stuff like the original Apple [00:16:00] logo. That's what you end up with when people talk at your death. Are you talking about like the hand drawn one or the rainbow one? No, the hand drawn. Yeah, the hand drawn one hand, you know, underneath the apple with Isaac Newton Newton.
That's what you end up with. If people talk it through it and they overthink it, like the, because they won't include everything. It's a, it's a disaster. It's amazing. Yeah, we, it's, it's funny too, but though the, I just did a, a logo project for a church named Landmark. Yeah. And they're doing a name change.
They, they switched to Landmark from, from another name, and it's a long story and I, they, it's, it's really sad actually. Like why? That doesn't matter. Anyhow, uh, I did this whole process and I presented the brand marks, yada yada. We, they're a whole room full of all the elders and everything like that, and we tallied 'em up and they had the ones they liked and there was one mark that only one person was like, That one's pretty cool.
And they had to lit one tally next to it, right? And then they all went home and they all talked to their wives and [00:17:00] showed their wives, and all their wives were like, what's wrong with you? Why didn't you pick that one? It's exactly what you need. It's exactly what you asked for. It's perfect. And the one that only had one vote or whatever, that's the one they went with all, all their wives.
It was so funny. And it was the best mark. I was glad it, it came back to that. Is that one better than the ones, is that the one with the boxes and the, and the cross in the, in the, yeah. It's like, it's like a city on a hill. So it looks like it's kind of like a negative space hill with these, you know, skyscrapers coming up and there's negative space crossed.
Very nice. It's, it's like a nice simple mark. It's great. I like, it's great. Yeah. Yeah. It's cool. So let me ask you something then. So when designing, okay, obviously you've designed for big business and, and you've designed a lot of really personal, really passion, really faith, um, you know, you driven, uh, differences.
Are there any. Yeah, for sure. In the last like seven years since, since I've gone solo, I have had the opportunity to [00:18:00] brand stuff that would like, make your jaw drop like some of the coolest brands on the planet. Like so many of them. And every single time something happens, it's like the CEO leaves at the last second in-house, the in-house.
Like it goes all the way up through all the tears. And then like some in-house person is like, yeah, I wanna do it myself or whatever. It's always something. And none of it, none of it ever happens. It drives me crazy. It's like, it's like me, like any one of them would like, like you, you know, my work and stuff like that.
Yeah. But it would be like in like brand new would post about it and it would be like, all people talk about for a week if I these brands, anybody designed 'em. Cause they're just like big ones, you know? Yep. And, and that happens. I can't mention any of the names. I have all idea on all of them, but it's happened to me like, Nine times maybe.
It's crazy. And every time I get my hopes up, I'm like, oh, Maria, this is it. This is it. We're taking off. They're like, this is gonna be it for our company. I'm so excited. And she's like, really exhaling. [00:19:00] Yeah. Just, yeah. Never works out. And it never does. It never. But what I, so those projects, the great thing about them is they pay super well, right?
Yeah. And you're getting paid for the process. And I make some great work, and I have a lot of fun making the work. And, and it's a great process. And, and one of these days, one of 'em will go through and that'll be great. I, I, I, I've done, like, I have done some big brand stuff. I've done stuff for Amazon, I've done stuff for, um, Walmart.
I've done stuff for, I don't know, I've done stuff for a lot of big brands, but it's not like I did the Walmart logo or I did the Amazon logo or what, do you know? Yeah. Um, but, uh, I've had a lot of opportunities and, and. Uh, like that. And, and so like that, that's freaking heart-wrenching every time that happens, although I'm getting used to it.
But the great thing is, if, if you keep the balance of, I guess for me, where, where I'm, I have different things coming in. If I did all those type of projects and nothing ever got produced and I had nothing to show for like all my time, [00:20:00] I've invested, you know, I'd be feeding the kids, we'd be living well, I'd, hell, I'd probably be making more money than I make, you know, cause the, some big brands are gonna pay a lot better than a church, right?
Mm-hmm. Uh, but that said, you know, having the balance of some mid-size brands, some small ones, you know, not only, uh, with those. Are you have a little more control. You're able to actually sit down and talk to the CEO or the president and, and you're able to, you mean in church? The the large company? Yeah.
Yeah, yeah. Because that's not gonna happen if you're, I can't name any of the brands. It's rather crazy. The Walmart, tar, target, whoever, right. Companies, yeah. Whatever. But it's, it's, it's not those, it's not those, yeah. Okay. Um, but, uh, the, I, I guess what I'm trying to say is having that mix of the small ones and the big ones and the medium ones, it makes sure that, like, I'm always kicking out work.
Because right now with, in this world of social media and, and running agencies, [00:21:00] it's not the same as the old RFP days. And maybe it is for like big ad ad agencies and stuff like that. But for little guys like me, man, my work, most of my stuff's coming out. I get asked to do RFPs every so often. I'm like, That's gonna take me forever.
And it's just me. So I'm like, I, it's ridiculous. Until two weeks and get paid nothing, that's, that's not worth it. Yeah. Yep, yep. Yeah. Agreed. And most of my work is just like, Hey, this person told me about your work. You know, let's, let's go. Or I, I found your work on Instagram. Let's go, let's, let's make this thing.
I need a logo. Yeah. And I like yours the best. I researched a bunch of people and you make cool badges and I like cool badges, you know, whatever, whatever the story is. But, um, the, the nice thing is the smaller brands or medium sized brands do trust me more and I do get to talk to a greater, like, higher decision making level, and I get to make some really cool work.
And I think you need to balance. Um, at least for me, I, I like producing work, not just, you know, spinning my [00:22:00] wheels. Let, let me just go here. Okay. Let's talk about bad customers and bad experiences, cuz God knows we all have them. And everybody, when they're in that space, they feel like they're the only one and, and they're doing something wrong.
And have you ever had this kind of experience, bad customers, bad experiences? You got anything? Share? Yeah, so I'm not gonna get into any specific, uh, like I could, I could, I've had, I've had three, uh, really bad experiences Oh yeah. Over the past seven, eight years of running my company. And I work with a lot of clients and so I'm working with, I mean, this is like, um, I don't know, two, one 2%, 3%, um, uh, of, of the people, of everything you've done.
It's really important. It's pretty, to me, it's pretty good when I, when I'm done at the end of the day at that. My client's happy that they have a smile on their face that they, they, they look at it as like a friendship. Yeah. You know, that I think the relationship is, is very important. Agreed. Hundred percent.
[00:23:00] And it's not just about making a great piece. Right? Yeah. You know, I, I want that relationship to be strong, but I've had certain people where it's like I had, I had one client where they, you know, just got, they, they got harder and harder to talk to, and then they like had gone behind my back and hired another designer and then made some, made some other logo with like, after I'd worked with them and like done rounds and stuff like that, and then refused to pay like the, the final payment on it.
Like even though like the contracts that they had to dude, when, when that was brutal. At what point? At what? Like early on freelancing. After when? No, like last year, what, this year what I had, I, I've had, I had a client where they were just like, wanted to. Every single time. And, and I was just like, I always smile on my face, like, you know, just trying to walk him through it and like lead him like, you know, we talked about like, you know, like sometimes the client wants to drive the car like off the road into a ditch.
Yeah. I felt like I was on the stair wheel pulling so hard the whole [00:24:00] time for months just trying to keep it on the road and it was so challenging. And then, uh, you know who they got. Yeah. And then I had one freshman outta outta high school who just like shut up and just do whatever they wanted to do and be like, yeah, I was ready from the start.
Look at it. Yeah. And I had one, whereas like I had done. Amazing work put together like this giant brand like logo, family, not just like, oh, here's the brand Mark, here's the horizontal, like a whole family of brands that need to live together, that beautiful systems options. Worked on it for three months and like made beautiful work and beautiful options, like hundreds and hundreds of, of marks for them to look through.
And like systems all organized. Right? And like I remember showing to one of my buddies, my buddy Nick, and he is like, man, this is like some of the best work you've ever done. This is so good. Oh my God. And I presented, I presented to the client and he's just like straight faced. He, apparently, they're like, they, they had just gone through [00:25:00] like some hard stuff at home or something like that.
And he would just like, like he would just like pissed. And then after, after that he like called me up and he was just like, he wanted to talk with me. And then like, I think he was like almost in tears and he was just like, I hate everything you made. And he was just like, it just so brutal during night.
Like three months of work, and they're just like, I don't even want to pay for it. Like, this is just trash. I'm so sad. Like, dude, damn, so holy, holy. I don't even know about that. I've had these moments like that. And, and that's, that's, it's rare. Like I said, that's like one, 2% of the time, but we go through this stuff, you know, like as designers, you know, and, and you can't, when things are subjective, you can't control everything and you can, all you can do is the best work that you can do.
Absolutely. Absolutely. You know, usually I, one of the things you guys had said is like, you know, what did you learn from her? Or like, what, what, like how can you [00:26:00] avoid this in the future? Yeah. Like what, what can come of this? Right. And um, I think one thing is like, I've gotten better over the years of feeling out, like when I have those initial calls.
Interesting, interesting. Feeling boarding calls. Sometimes you can tell here like, this person's crazy. I'm not, I'm not gonna work with this person, or, They're like, oh, I already have the idea. It's right here. Either there's like all these red flags, like things you're supposed to look for. Oh geez. I have found that the more a client will negotiate and try and nickel and dime you upfront about the overall payment.
Yeah. The worse they'll be to work with. Wow. The the, the less you do the workforce, the cheaper it becomes. The more of a nightmare will be like, they, they like forced into doing it for very little. They're gonna be, it usually means it's coming out of their pocket. Yeah. It's really personal to them. It's not a company you're hiring, you're, you're being hired by a person.
Yeah. And then they, they take it so personal and it's such a nightmare. It's like deep pockets, but short arms and they're like a freaking tremendous horse wreckx. I can't reach down [00:27:00] there. Yeah. So I guess the advice is when it all possible. Yeah. Even though you're trying to have personal relationships, try and work with.
Companies that are spending their marketing budget versus people that are spending like out of pocket for their startup and that they have to own their own personal. I And, and you're gonna work as, as the local design. I'm gonna work with a lot of startups. I'm gonna work with a lot of people with their pay outta pocket, and that's gonna happen.
But you just, those people specifically, you really gotta feel 'em out. Yeah. About how they're gonna be, you know, how they negotiate about, like, the overall price. Um, what they're like to talk to. Try and get to know 'em a little bit and, and, and feel 'em out beforehand, before you end up in like a two or three month relationship.
Yeah. That's really hard. That's something true. Wow. CES doesn't just happen to us. Yeah. You can't be the people like him. Yeah. That's sad. But, okay. Wait, that was number two. Is there a third one there? [00:28:00] Uh, a third thing that I learned from them. Yeah. Um, I don't know. I, I guess. Something that I've learned in my career is to try and take all feedback and don't look at it as like, if they're trying to ruin it.
Like, look, look for the, the true meat, like of, of what's there and use it as an opportunity to make the work better. I think a a lot of, uh, the quality in the work that I create comes from like kind of never giving up, taking feedback and like maybe not doing exactly what they're asking to do, but just coming back with like, here's, I understood what the problem was and here's the actual solution for us.
Yeah. And, and, and, and I took what, what I thought was great, and I think it's even better now. Yeah. Because a lot of the times they feedback, they, they are identifying an issue or a problem and sometimes it's frustrating with how they, they tell you to, to solve it, you know, like make the logo bigger or whatever.
But usually there's, you know, if that means that [00:29:00] it is a little bit off branded and then there is a way to add more. Uh, brand identity DNA into the thing, you know, like you're gonna end up with a stronger piece in the end. Mm-hmm. So I guess, uh, you know, when you are getting negative feedback and it is hard and you're like really frustrated, try and don't like write back right away and, and just sleep on it.
Think about it, think about the problem, think about how you can make it better, and look at it as like, Hey, I got an opportunity to take this even up at like another level. Mm-hmm. You know, like, how can I make this good call? So it's so darn good that it's bulletproof. Yeah. That, that even, even the hater Yeah.
Out there. Good. Can't find anything to complain about. Yeah. Yeah. When customers do give that kind of feedback, do you feel like you're, you're navigating that feedback just for your own personal ego's sake or for, or, or, or for the job, the best job moving forward, or a little bit of both? I think my job is to make the, the best end product.
Mm. And so it's really important for me to, to do that for my clients. Even if they're trying to drive the car off the road. Yeah. [00:30:00] Yeah. And because I, I want it to be successful. But in terms of like, especially my ego or anything. Yeah. You gotta remember, man, I got four kids. I've been pooped on some many time.
I've, I've had just like, I've been like knee deep and knee deep in like some messed up situations with, with those boys. Let me tell you, it's, you should see my grocery bills. We all, man, I'm gonna have to like get a second job. I'm gonna be like working out. I'm gonna be like the, the cashier on top of each.
I love That's so true. It's so true. So expensive, man. No, no, no. Great. Okay, so here's another question in line with this, um, on the flip side. Okay. You, you have worked with both, in both small studios mm-hmm. And you've worked with big companies. Okay. And granted, B V D O, you're just probably a small, small, small cog in a, in a giant, you know, like, uh, endless sea cogs.
Yeah. But small studios versus a target ish or [00:31:00] something that, you know, a little larger. Which do you feel you got the most experience from? Value from you preferred if you had to recommend to somebody. Okay, so I'll answer this the same way. When people are like, how did you, uh, go solo? How did you start on your own?
Like what's the, what's the, what's the, um, how, how did you get there? And I took like the slowest approach possible. Seems like you tried everything, man, years. That's why your bicycle was so good. Well, I wanted to, um, uh, gosh, I wanted to have a substantial portfolio of big client work that would help me get more work.
I wanted to also build up a freelance clientele like, That I, I knew I'd get continual work, so I'm not gonna, like, I have a family and stuff, you know, I can't just be like, well, hopefully it works out. I'm sorry. Um, I, I very much was like, okay, I, I've [00:32:00] got, I've got the portfolio set up how I wanted it. I, and the other thing that was really important was, uh, figuring out how to run the type of agency that I wanted to run.
Mm-hmm. And I learned so much at every single place I worked, no matter what they are. Even the places where people would be like, oh, you worked there, or whatever. I don't care. I learned a lot at every single shop. And from all the people I worked with, there were, whether it was learning, uh, something that was helpful in the future or maybe is something helpful not to do, um, that was in there true.
But like, you know, even like how to sell work, how to write a contract the right way, uh, how to work with writers. I remember the first time that, uh, when I was doing advertising, Design style. I, I, I I working with a writer at, like, when I worked at industrial, they'd have like freelance writers and I would basically design a whole my print campaign and I'd like, I'd put Laura MIPS in there and be like, okay, fill it out.
Right. Hmm. And [00:33:00] it's, they just, and then the freelancer would just crank out some headlines and boom. And it's all done. Done. We're at b b dl. We'd, I, I would be like in a room with the door closed with a writer for like a week. Right. Sharpie's and a stack of, uh, eight and a half by 11 white pages, and we would fill the walls.
Wow. Yeah. And we'd work together and we'd both be coming up with ideas and trying to help the other person's idea. Yeah. Get stronger. It wasn't like one person was leading specifically, it was definitely like a mesh working together. So I really learned how to work with writers well, uh, at that point. And that's, e even helped me now, like when, when I collaborate with my wife.
She's a great writer. I was gonna say, yeah. That's, that's your roles. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Well, not as she has, because she's homeschooling right now. She that she'll do like some like, uh, like, like when it's tax time, she'll help out. Then when it's time to do, like, go through QuickBooks and do all the stuff that, that I don't wanna do, she still, [00:34:00] she takes care of that.
And dude, she keeps you creative. That's, that's like, that's, she let me, solid foundation that makes me a great client. I'm still like, when I have to get in the, like when I'm working with Walmart or something like that and I have to do two days of paperwork, I'm doing that still. So, I mean, there's, it is a balance, you know, I'm still, I'm still invoicing and I'm still, you know, telling clients, they'd be like, Hey, hey, you haven't paid for this invoice that's six weeks overdue.
Yeah. So, We, we share responsibilities. But when she has done a lot of writing, and she, and she's, she is an excellent writer. She's done a lot of naming, she's really good at naming brand names and stuff like that, which from a Yeah. Brand identity studio. It's nice to have that in-house. Yeah, absolutely. Um, so are you collabo, are you even doing anything outside of the brands brand work, logo marks and everything?
Or are you primarily now focused in on brains and bread marks? That's primarily what I'm doing. I mean, [00:35:00] I, I'll still like get brought onto like a annual report cover or, you know, like a, I don't know, there's little things here and there. Mm-hmm. You know, where, or it's something else. You know, it's, uh, but usually it starts with the logo.
Usually it's a logo and then it flushes out. So we, we niched out into an industry space, right. Like Zed Factor meed out into, you know, um, you know, B2B technology companies, you know? Mm-hmm. And primarily even in IOT and BR broadband spaces. Um, yeah. But we, we still like, position ourselves as generalists, like in the sense of we can help you from print and print campaigns all the way to, you know, logo marks and everything else.
Yeah. You've gone the completely flip side and you have focused in on brand marks, which man I'm so envious of. Good for you for doing that. Um, are there disadvantages that going that, I mean, that's a different kind of niche than I usually profess to people. Well, I, I did a lot more of that when I'd work at [00:36:00] places.
You know, obviously I did print and, and commercials and stuff like that when I worked in advertising. Uh, when I worked at, uh, agencies, I would do a mix of stuff. Usually if it wasn't brand identity focused at a little, at a little brand shop like that. It was something, it was like a catalogs and stuff like that.
I did a bunch of boat catalogs and trailer catalogs and stuff like that. To me, that sounds, but anyway, Hey, whatever. Yeah. Um, And then, uh, uh, at Target, it was so much in-store. You know, I did a lot of in-store stuff and events event branding, and I didn't do a, I didn't do a ton of logos, you know, I did, I did a few key ones when I worked at Target.
Uh, I, I worked on the Cartwheel logo, on the Threshold logo, which they just redid like this week. Yeah. I knew one up. Yeah. New enough. Yeah, because it wasn't a logo to last. These didn't know what they were thinking. Okay. Don't worry about it. New cmo, new direction. That's, um, uh, yeah, I don't know, man. I, [00:37:00] I, it's worked well for you.
I, I've done a mix of stuff and, and a lot of people know that I can do a huge mix of, of stuff, of course, but because I, I think it's cause I'm so focused and this is what I do and this is what I share. Yeah. Uh, it, it's just people think of logos. They're like, oh, what about that one guy? That guy had do his love logos.
You know, it's easy just like when you're like, oh, I need a letter a, a lettering artist. Immediately your head goes, you know, like of course you know Simon Walker, Jessica hit, she goes like, it's like you have your like three or four people that they like immediately pop into your head and you know, friends of type and stuff like that.
And, but you're like, ah, they're, they're probably way too expensive. Like, where are some kids doing it Right? Or whatever. Um, but you know, sometimes you have to have those budgets and things like that, uh, specializing in nicheing, it makes it so you do come top of mind. Cuz if you are a jack of all trades and you're like, Hey man, I do everything, you're not gonna get hired for anything, right?
Uh, the, and that's what I [00:38:00] tried to do from the Bean and be like, oh, I can do it all, you know, I can do, I can do the ad, I can do the commercial, I can do the website, I can do the this, I can do the, that I can do all your things, right? Mm-hmm. And because of that, I thought the work was kind of watered down and I wasn't that great at any specific thing.
And over the years I got better at different things, but. I just really like making logos, so, oh, dude. It shows, yeah, it shows over mind. Totally. You own that show. Yeah. You do. Yeah. Okay. So with that being said, here's some scary questions. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. So what's the future look like for not only you mm-hmm.
But designing in general? Um, there's some pretty scary stuff out there. I'm sure a lot of people are, are, are, you know, and again, we've, we've embraced a lot of the stuff that's out there, but I mean, it's going past what we are seeing right now in the space. Right. You know what I'm talking about. Yeah. I think in general designers, other than like when computers showed up and changed things from like doing things by hand to buy computers, [00:39:00] even when that happened, the overall craft of what we do really didn't change overall slowly aesthetic shift over time and as trends change, yeah.
But usually you can see the trends and you can adapt when you need to. But, and, and, and there's certain things that are a little bit more timeless. The nice thing about brand identity and logo work specifically is a logo that was really good, you know, in the 1960s mm-hmm. Is like the cbs I, they're still using that.
Fuck. It's awesome. They, man, it's good. But the target bullseye, when I was down, like it was like seventies or sixties. Yeah. Brilliant. When it got, yeah. And it's, it's, there's gonna be no reason to ever update that. Yeah. And I think they updated the type a couple years ago, but they didn't need to update the bullseye cuz it's, it's perfect.
It's perfect. You know, you have the, the, the two width circle and then a one width negative space and a one width ring. And it's like, the math is perfect. It's simple, it's easy to use, beautiful balance. You can flip it around, spin it, whatever, and it's always the same. Yeah. [00:40:00] Yeah. There's certain marks that it.
It hasn't changed in how many years, you know, it's been, it's been 60 years and, and that CBS I logo is, is still being used and still great. And there's not gonna be updated unless somebody's dumb. Yeah. And so idiot in terms of, in terms of, yeah, in terms of my job and, and how it's gonna change and adjust, I don't think it's gonna, I don't think they're gonna come up with some AI that can make spit out logos that are equal parts, uh, simple, unique, and, um, memorable.
Yeah. I don't think that's ever gonna happen. They might be able to spit out like, some illustrations that are just like gobbly go of a six persons, people's style all mixed together. Mm-hmm. You know, that's fine. Go, go ai. But, and they might look kind of cool, but they're not gonna make simple logos that way.
Mm-hmm. And, and even if they did, are they gonna be perfect for that brand? You know, is it gonna make sense? [00:41:00] And are they gonna be unique? You know, two people put the same thing in the algorithm and spits out the same logo for two people on the different side of the globe, you know? Mm-hmm. Then they got the same logo, they ain't helping anybody.
Yeah. Yeah. It just, it, I, I'm not worried. I know AI is like such a big thing. Mm-hmm. I think the thing that as, as logo designers we're gotta stay away from is trends. There's, I don't know if it's as much of a big thing, but there was a huge trend. You saw a pentagram doing a lot where they'd have those, or the USA Today logo, Hey, we're putting a, something different in this circle on every single spread.
Mm-hmm. You know, a different photo crop in it. Or it's like that Melbourne, that cool Melbourne logo that was had like the m Yeah. Uh, for the city of Melbourne that had like different styles of s you know, those logos where it's never consistent. Mm. I, I don't buy into that at all. I think that's just a logo design trend that's gonna, you know, later on there and be like, you know what?
Those weren't very memorable cuz it was never the same, it was never the same. Nobody remembers the time unless it's consistent in being inconsistent. But I don't think that makes go for a good brand identity. Yeah. It doesn't really make sense. Um, [00:42:00] strategically, so I, I, yeah, in terms of logo design, I, I know like Bill Gardner and, uh, the, the, what is it, logo?
Um, hi, uh, the, what's the logo book that everybody submits to that has tons of logo, logo lounge, logo lounge series that Bill Gardner does. I know he always has like, here's his logo trend alert and he has like certain things, but you look at 'em usually I, sometimes they're a trend, but a lot of times they're just like, yeah, they've been doing those same logos for you.
Don't think everybody else, they have those logos with stripes. Like, yeah, they've been a lot of logos of stripes, never. You know what else? Technology's missing the ability to present. And again, I don't think people actually put enough, um, emphasis on the presentation, the importance of the presentation. I mean, again, I have won over jobs in the past.
Yeah. Not because of the actual job itself. Cuz sometimes it's like, I know this isn't the sexiest logo, but this is the best logo for what you guys want to achieve. It's the presentation side. Right. And I don't think AI will ever be able to, you know, take care of [00:43:00] that. Like come up with not only the logo, but the story and put the, put together the whole brand story and then present that stuff.
Yeah. So I think that's, that's a huge factor that obviously you own, you embrace and I mean, we, we always go on about the importance of mm-hmm. Uh, I don't know if that's ever gonna happen. Yeah. Oh, for the record, bill Gardner is amazing. Gardner Design's amazing. Of course Local Knowledges is a useful, helpful tool that I've used since I was right outta school.
Yeah. And, um, all I was saying there is that the, like the, like the trends and stuff like that, I, I, I don't know if I buy into, there are some things that are trendy, but Yeah, usually you can see 'em pretty easy. Exactly. A mile away. And trends, they fade unfortunately, so. Yeah. Right. I think we're huge, huge believers in that.
Yes. Um, alright, so with that being said, are you touching anything, um, you know, in your book or about the future, future proving yourself anything or, I mean, again, I love your approach about Yeah. Being authentic, being [00:44:00] legit, being long term. Um, yep. I think my whole book is, Making logos that are futureproof, that's kind of like, that's the thesis of it.
Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Future proof logos, something that's going to hopefully be around when your grandkids are around or after you're dead, you know it's gonna live longer than you. Mm-hmm. Yeah. Right. Um, it's always sad when, uh, you've worked on something and, and, and it lives like 10 years and then all of a sudden it gets replaced and you're like, nah, man, even, and then it, you know, it, it like, wow, it didn't make it.
And I, I, I, I think the, the whole point of this is to avoid that happening so that your work will be timeless. That it will stick around that, uh, uh, people be talking about for years to come. That'll be, uh, you know, something that helps evolve the great conversation and design, um, and. Keep pushing things forward.
Yeah, absolutely. Well, the process of the book, I mean, again, I think everybody, um, [00:45:00] oh again, our generation, everybody fantasizes about writing a book cuz it's just so cool. It, it makes it legit. What, what's that like compared to like doing logos because you're flipping and flopping on a daily basis. Yeah.
Um, I, if you would've told like 15 year old Alan, you're like, Hey Alan, you gotta write a 200 page book. I would've cried. I would've like, no, I don't wanna do it. We hate books. Well, I, I, I actually, I read a lot now and, you know, and I love to read and I read to my kids all the time and I'm, I'm way into books, but I don't know if younger me younger would've, would've, I believed this, wanted to read that much or it would've been a real challenge, let's put it that way.
What makes this process, uh, I don't wanna say easy cuz it's really hard writing a book. Uh, it's a. But, um, that's cool actually, what makes it, uh, easier is that I'm writing about what I know this is like Yeah. Basically, [00:46:00] basically everything in this book, once I had the, the book map laid out, like what's, I kind of mapped out, like what's gonna be on each spread.
Mm-hmm. Just, just like a, a word document. Not, not even pictures, but like, this spread's gonna be about this, this one, this, this one, this three spreads on this. And, and once I had the book map done, um, and I looked at, I'm like, oh, I know all that. That's, it's gonna be easy. You know, I know every single thing in here.
I just actually have to sit and create the darn thing and write it. And so it is weird to sit for like two or three hours and do nothing but write from a person who usually is just visually creating. Yeah. I'm, it's a different part of my brain. Uh, I, I mean, the first thing you gotta do with any book is just like, get it all out and then, and then you craft it and, and really refine it.
So I, I don't know. It's, it's been a, a challenging but rewarding process and, uh, yeah. I, I'll, I'll be very thankful when it's all done and [00:47:00] it's, and it is, not that it's gonna be bad or anything, it's just that it's, it's been a lot on top of running a company. Yeah. And, and raising four boys. Yeah. And I, I'll once, because I'm gonna be wrapping it up near the end of April, right when summer's starting to really kick in, in Minnesota.
And, uh, it's, it's gonna be a warm, and the snow will be finally gone. Finally, this summer is gonna be like, I, I am fantasizing about like, riding my bike and getting out there, going on hikes and stuff with my family, man, I'm just like, yeah. It's so excited. Yeah, it's awesome, dude. All right. You know what? It is like almost approaching crazy ass time.
I've taken way too much. I can hear your kids in the background. Yeah. But we are gonna, In our traditional style. Yes. All right. Because again, I I honestly, we might talk again in the future because I, I feel like I, I can keep talking to you forever, which is probably, and maybe this should happen off camera instead, just cuz again, it's just so real right now.
But, um, again, [00:48:00] to be respectful of your time and everybody else's. Yes. We're gonna finish this in our, um, we have 120 second two minute speed. Round, round speed round of questions. Do you have music that goes in the back? You see that? You see that? Look at that. I got all these questions. And now are you nervous?
Oh, look at this guy. The time, time round business. We're gonna ask you a whole bunch of questions and you gotta answer honestly. Okay? All right. And um, and again, some of them are high level, some of them are pretty hard. I don't know. But again, see what you can do in two minutes. Okay? Are you ready, Alan?
Let's go. All right. Ready? Here we go. And 3, 2, 1, start. All right. Mac PC. Mac. Favorite music? Oh, uh, hip hop. Ooh, ooh. Favorite color? Orange. All day. Favorite cartoon? Favorite cartoon. Favorite [00:49:00] cartoon. Oh, um, Fu. Oh, oh. Favorite collectible. Uh, video games. Okay. Cool. Favorite superhero? Uh, I, aunt Man. Oh, okay, okay, okay.
Although the new one's supposed to be awful. I didn't even see it. Oh, I thought the first one scene will judge you. No, after we watch that. Okay. Who's Marty McFly? Oh, from Back to the Future? Yes. Kids man. What is Cork Express? Oh, man, I, I, I was really good at Cork, and then they're like, you have to use Indig.
I was like, God, learn new quick keys. Um, yeah. It's, it's like InDesign but old. Okay, okay. Okay. Even worse. What was before Cork Express? Cork Express was there when I first started. I'm, I'm not that old. Oh boy. Boys. 1980. Fair enough. All right. Coffee or tea? I like coffee. Puppies or kittens? I've only had cats, but I really want a dog.
Oh. Had [00:50:00] a boy. Pirates or ninjas? Ninjas. All day. Favorite artist ever. Like our art. Art or like musical artists? Us Art. Grab the same, oh, um, Paul Ram. I love this guy. Who is better? Walmart or Target? I, I, I can't answer that. That was a, I can't, I was a trap. I can't answer a trap.
Oh, okay. Fair enough. Okay then. Fair enough. CIF or none, Sarah? Um, uh, non Sarah all day. Okay. Okay. Favorite font right now. The, the most recent one that I found is pretty awesome is Poppins. It's free and then freeze. Awesome. Panera, dude. Fyi. That's the angry designer font. Yep. Just saying. That's right. Just saying.
Okay. That's a good font. It is pretty fun. It [00:51:00] is. All right. Magazine or tablet? Oh, I am way into, uh, my candle Now. My wife got me into it. I, I was always like, cause I have walls of books. I love books and, uh, yeah. Yeah. I, so I'm, I'm, I love Rena Kendall. Cause I can rock a babe to sleep in one hand and, and, and read it table with my thumb.
Yep. Smart. I never thought about that angle. And he can't, he can't like knock it outta my hand the pages on bit and twist it. And I was just gonna say, don't put it in the washing machine. Right. Okay. True or false? Newsprint is dead. Newsprint. Um, I mean, I. The, we use a ton newsprint in art school, and there's art school still around, so I'm assuming they're using, just doing gesture drawings and All right.
And they need lots of newsprint. Okay. Okay. You mean like newspaper? I don't know. I, I miss circulars. I, I, I, I, they put circulars back into newspapers like on like Black Friday. I know you guys don't have Black Friday up there, but Black Friday for us down here man. And you get the Target ad on Thanksgiving [00:52:00] and the, all the, you know, like the Walmart ad.
Mm-hmm. And the Best Buy a and you look through, we don't have Black Friday, but we do have White Saturday, which is us reading all the news about all the people that get trampled on Black Friday. So it's great. Love it. It's actually called Red Saturday, isn't it? Saturday. That's love. That's spill. You guys love it.
Boxing Dave. Is it Boxing Day? Kinda like that. Boxing Day. Yeah. That's kind of our thing. Yeah. No, but we're Canadian. We don't trample, we politely ask people to move out the way while we share the craziest shit. I did all the social media for Target. All the, like the whole Facebook page, all the posts. Yep.
That, uh, when, when we went to Canada. Yeah. So all the Canada theme stuff, so I know, I love that a lot about Canada and the history of Canada. All the holidays and all the You do. Yeah. There was a line on there is like, it didn't work in Canada. The only thing that worked was the social media and you're absolutely right.
That's true. That was so good. That so true. All that stuff was good. I don't know why we didn't take the target. It's, I apologize. I we, we apologize. Couldn't we? It though, the issue, the issue with that is they couldn't get the [00:53:00] product on the shelves and, and so like, you'd be like Andy stores and people complain about it.
I kind of thought, I thought they just kept the extra white space to keep a designer, which is why I appreciate, but now we know it's product Shop Sunshine. It's product. All right. Okay. Who would win in a fight? Chase from Paw Patrol or Night Ninja? From pj. I don't know either of those shows. I know. Well, I know, I know of Paw Patrol.
I know. I've never even heard of PJ Mask. Oh, what was the guy from Pod patrol's name? What did you just say his name? Chase. The, the leader from, from Paw Patrol. Now, if you would've been like, what's, who would win in a fight? The Chase Manhattan logo or see Yes. I, I'd be like, oh. Or the NBC peacock. NBC Peacock.
NBC Peacock. Probably. I don't know. I kinda like that one. Yeah. You know, those things are pretty violent. I You got them in the park, right? I give you that much super power of choice. Uh, super power of choice. Oh man. Time travel maybe. That'd be awesome. Great one. True one. Yeah. Oh, there's something, something.[00:54:00]
Best video game console. My favorite video game of all time, and I've been playing video games since I was really little bit Aari, 2,600. Ooh. I've had, I've had all sorts of weird stuff. I've had, like the Negal man, I had that, that thing was offensive. Random man. I had cd, all these crazy turbo graphics and stuff like that.
My favorite video game of all time is, uh, Zelda, breath of the Wild, and I cannot wait for the sequel to come up tomorrow. Oh, I heard about that Nintendo Switch and so yeah, it's, it's brand new and switch. It's, I'm not brand new, but the switch is out right now, but it's time to come. It's so good. Yeah. Last but not least, Alan.
Mm-hmm. One thing that makes you angry. One thing that makes me angry. Maybe this bend to iPad, but I'm, I'm, I'm Maria's like, don't get angry about it. Don't get angry. Do not get angry. He's, yeah. That's, that's totally worth getting angry over. I love it. Like bend it back in a position. Oh my God, that's amazing.
Well, [00:55:00] no things that make me angry. Um. I, I wish I had people stealing your logos when No, no. Okay. Um, when things just start falling apart and you can't control it. When you lose control and you're just like, interesting. It's like, it feels like life's falling apart. Like if you have like, you know, multiple things happen that are outta your control, like in like a week or something, that's the worst.
Like, yeah. You know, somebody's getting sick or anything. Somebody else is going in the hospital and this and that, and then you're just like, oh, dude. Like, all, all you can do is just like, you know, crawl, close your eyes and say a prayer and just get ruined better, man. Yeah, dude, I mean, again, Alan, I, I, we can keep this conversation going forever, but I again, you are freaking awesome.
Yes, you are. Everything I, uh, oh. You should have kept that bad boy on. That's okay. But you should like, honestly, I honestly, I can keep talking to you forever, but to be respectful to you, your life, your kids, your wife, I mean, honestly, [00:56:00] For now. Yeah. For our very first ever conversation. I think this is good.
I mean, there's no question that, um, you've answered everything and then some you're human dude. Uh, again, you've lived up to everything. I've put you on a pedestal and you've like, legitimately like, been like, yeah, that's exactly what I thought you were gonna be like. You weren't like a pretentious Yeah.
You know, designer who's like, no, no, no, no, no. I rock. You suck. You are awesome. You're human. Thank you for this conversation, dude. Honestly. Oh man. You, you know, I, I remember hearing somebody say once they were like, um, every designer, every artist, every, every musical, you know, artist, every, every actor, they all started from nothing.
You know, they just started, it was just like some kid was like, Hey, I like drawing, or, I like this, or I like, And for me it started with, I, I just like to draw a lot and, and I just wanted to do, I wanted, I remember in high school, you know, filling out one of those things where you figure out what you're gonna do for a living.
Yeah. You know, you fill out a questionnaire and I was like, I'm like, I just want to make art. And I remember just trying to answer every question in a, a way that [00:57:00] would lead me to an answer that said something to do with art, because I did not wanna sit in an office building. Yeah. You know, looking at Excel sheets for the rest of my life.
Exactly. Or, or for that matter, gosh, I've done like roofing, I've done siding, all sorts of manual labor stuff. Man, I've, I've, I've done some hard things that I don't ever want to do again. It just makes you love design more, doesn't it? Holy cow. Right. Doing that stuff. That was one of the reasons why we said design is amazing.
This is like, yes. Yes. And, uh, yeah, to find something that I love and it's, it's, it's a good thing. It's awesome. And, and you know, I think that's, that's the secret. So, yeah. If, if, if you're a kid out there and, and you're, you're, you're, you know, just graduating and you're listening to this and you're like, you're like, man, this guy, look at wow, he's done all these big logos and whatever else, and writing a book, like, that's, I'll never be able to accomplish that.
That's not true. Yeah, you can, you can do whatever you want to do. Just got, set your goals, go for it, and, and just try to perfect your craft and, and learn what you can from who you can learn it from and, [00:58:00] and, you know, just. Pushed really hard, I guess put in the work. Don't kill yourself in the process. Put in the work.
Don't be scared to put in the work. Yeah. Honestly, and honestly I can't, not that I hope this doesn't sound bad, but I can't wait for your book to come out. Yes. I was so happy. We were so happy. We was just like, dude, look. Look who's coming up with the book. This is amazing. Honestly, I'm so happy for you. I'm so proud of you on it and I can't wait for it to come out.
I can't wait for it to arrivee here at Zed Factory one of these days. I may have to get it signed, but that's another story. We'll talk about that after. Okay. Come not, we'll come down for, I'm gonna, you like a lecture series up there so I can come up there and talk. Yes. And then you gotta hang, you gotta hang out.
I'll bring you posters. I'll, I'll, I'll make it worth your wife. All right. Thank you very much from everybody. Thanks for having me on. Thanks for taking the time. Two hours outta your day. That's, that's a big, that's a big, especially when front of you and you've got family and stuff. I, I, I really appreciate it.
Well, I'm, I'm, you're helping me sell a book and I, I'm not helping you do a darn thing. Don't, but [00:59:00] you're not working on cool client projects and hanging out with your family. Dude, you rock. All right. With that being said, My name's Massimo Lauren. My name's Sean, Alan Peters by my boy. Stay creative and stay creative and by his boy, buy that boy.
We live, uh, we lived in the city for a long time. We lived in Minneapolis. Yeah. Uh, in, in 2009. I don't know if you guys know that story, but, uh, uh, we were on my wife's birthday. I was shot in our backyard. What? Some The guys came in our yard just to rob us. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I, I was, a lot of people know me cuz they're like, oh yeah, you're the guy who like can drop on.
He's like, he's like, this guy just survived a fucking gunshot. Are you serious, dude? What? [01:00:00] What? Wait, hold on. What the fuck? What, yeah. What happened? It's, well, can you talk about it? You don't have to. I can talk about No, it's, it's not that. Sorry. Is it, is it, is it hard for you to talk about it? So it's, no, it's not that.
It's so, it's usually my testimony, like when I, when I talk about my faith. Yeah. It's like my faith story, I don't know. And it's like 25 minutes and I get into it and I start talking about a God and stuff. Like fair. No. Short story. Short story. Cause I know you guys are like, man, I gotta get home. I gotta No, no, don't worry.
Don't, don't, don't. You worry. Go. Don't worry, we're good. Um, short story, uh, it was my wife's birthday, 2009. Uh, I was working at the ad place. I was gonna have to, it was on the weekend and I was gonna have to come in on Memorial Day, like the day off to work on a pitch the next day and everything. And, and we were trying to have a kid at the time, our first child, we hadn't had one.
First month we tried, we were unsuccessful and next was like the next month. And we were like, we're gonna make it happen. We're like, what baby? Sounds [01:01:00] fun. And I, but anyway, on Awesome. Right, right, right. And so, uh, I, I'd been bugging Maria all day. I'm like, I'm like, I'm like, you gotta take a test. How awesome would it be on your birthday to find out you're pregnant with your first child?
And she's like, Alan, which wouldn't be accurate. It's not, it just, we gotta give it another week. I'm like, oh. I kind of been bugging her about it. And uh, that day, uh, we had, uh, we had like this big Mexican food party. It was super good and had a fire out back big, like, you know, copper, like bought a target fire bowl type thing.
You know, when the stars came out at night. Yeah. Everybody's having a, a couple of drinks. We got to see a lot of, lot of friends, a lot of family, most of the people we know. Um, relatives and stuff like that had come on over, uh, uh, people we hadn't seen in years. And it was kind of crazy cuz because basically I saw like everybody we knew.
And then that night, um, when it was just another couple and, uh, Maria and I left, uh, This, uh, couple of guys came [01:02:00] into the back of the yard and they were like stocking caps. They had gloves on, like all covered up. Looked like a, you know, like in the nineties movie, like you ever seen the movie Juice with Tupac?
Yes, yes. Like, you know, you know, like that style, like that like, like bandanas, like Yeah, it was like some teenager kids that were probably gang bangers and, you know, that were be getting like, it was one of the things they had to do to get in the gang or something like that. Yeah. But anyhow, they, they came, uh, into the yard with, you know, guns blazing and like, like, sit down, give your money.
Where's the money? We just have like credit cards and stuff like that, you know, we didn't have, like, now we're like, oh, here's where we keep the safe with all the money. Like freaking screw McDuck or something. Um, you know, and, and so, uh, Maria calls inside to the, there's one guy Stone inside one one of, uh, the other couple.
The man's inside getting some tacos or something like that. And, and she's like, Ben, call the police. And he comes up to the window's, like, and they're like, put the gun right to his head. And they're like, you got any [01:03:00] money in pulse's, pockets? I like, yeah. And then they're, they're pissed at my wife at that point.
It's her birthday and she's, uh, like probably pregnant. Yeah. Yeah. And they put a gun to her head. Oh, shit. And they're, and, and the. A couple months before this, she got robbed out back of our apartment we had lived in and she's probably like apartment before this. Okay. And I wasn't there and I was on my way from, from work and she had been on the phone with her mom and she's like, Alan, her mom called me and was like, Alan, you have to get there, something's going on.
And I got there late and nothing had like, she got robbed and she was like really like shaky about it. And it was Rob at gunpoint out back of our apartment. We immediately moved in when my parents, yeah. Saved up and bought this house. Yeah. That we had not, not this one, but one we were living in at the time.
And so like I was already like, shit man, I wasn't there for that. And here I am and. And it, it's your birthday and then fucking gunder head. And I'm like, I need to [01:04:00] man the fuck up and, and handle this situation. Yeah. And so the guy closest to me, I, and I was working out a, a lot of the time, I was in a lot better shape than, not that I'm in bad shape, but I was, I was running a lot.
I was, uh, I could bench 300 pounds the time I was What dude? Good. I was holding my hold my own man. Yeah. Dude. Benches just my dude right in front of me. And he, he went flying back like, like literally like, like six feet back. And I jumped up and it ran over to like, just, just, I, I, I adrenaline took over. I was acting stupid.
I was acting really stupid. Yeah. And the guy with the gun turning and shot me right in the ribs and the bullet went through my body this way and like right in my flank right here, it's still in there. I can feel it. Um, it went through. You can still feel the bullet. Yeah, because, because they, when it went through two major arteries, uh, my liver, gallbladder, gosh, what else?
I don't know. The two two intestines. Both intestines. And so [01:05:00] they're able, they had to basically cut me open, staple me up. Yeah. Get me back together and alive again. And it wasn't like, let's go play where's Waldo and find the bullet. It was more like, let's make sure this guy stops bleeding. Cause he's already lost half the blood in his body.
And so, so does the, the one guy shoots me and I'm wearing this like, tight fitting shirt. Like a, you know, like a, like a just a t-shirt thing. That's a little fitter. Yes. Not, not like, not like some like workout Under Armour thing. Just like a t-shirt, like like a V-neck something or another. And because it's a little bit stretchy material, the bullet went.
It opened up and then reclosed the vent, like the, the shirt did. So the, I looked down and there was like, I was like, I saw that, I heard that looked down, but I'm like, I see there's not like blood spurting out me, like I doesn't look like anything happened, unbeliev. And I turned at the guy with the gun and I charged him like a fucking Retin OSTs.
And I'm like, look, good. The fuck outta my yard? Like I was, I was, I was losing it man. I chase these guys [01:06:00] for like a half a block. They freaked out. Like, dude, fuck good mall yard, like crazy old man. Chase 'em for about half a block and then, then all of a sudden I'm like realizing I'm, I'm dying. Like I'm bleeding to death and, and I'm getting dizzy.
I'm just like, oh, holy shit. Stumbled shit. They're gone. I stumbled back in the yard, pass out, um, not pass out, but like, like fall to the ground. And then the, I, I wish what I was saying was like, I was like, oh, I was having this like, you know, intimate moment with my wife or anything. I was screaming like, fuck, it hurts.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. No adrenaline. Yeah, I get it. I get it. It's reality. Yeah. Yes. Lots of loud swears. Crazy. Real, real like, but my wife, God bless her soul man, she was like, she was like, you know how they like, like they teach you in school, they're like, if you're in a bad situation, you need to like point to be like, you do this, you do that, you do that and you handle the situation there.
Or else everybody just stands there like Yeah. All dumb and doesn't do anything. Yeah. [01:07:00] Maria's like, Jennifer, you call an ambulance. Yeah. You know, uh, Ben, you go get some towels. Yeah. I'm putting pressure on this wound, and she took care of it, and she got, she got them there. They were there so fast. And, um, I remember like when I was waiting for them to come, like after all the extreme swearing, um, like laying there and I love the extreme swearing.
Yeah. The very least. Yeah, of course. Yeah. Well, it, it hurts so bad, but like, you know, like, it, like anything, you know, like anything intense like that, it, it, you tend to built up a, not a tolerance, but like Yeah, yeah, yeah. You're like, it, it's, it's like a consistent something, you know? It's, it's like a cat that gets a foot stuck in a box and they're like, well, I just gotta live life with a foot stuck in a box.
Like, they don't, they don't think they'll like, take their foot outta the box and they just walk around with the foot in the box. Um, I, I know, but any.
At that moment, I was like, I'm dead. Yeah. Like, this [01:08:00] is it. I'm, I'm gone. I'm not coming back from this. Like, I felt like, I was like, I was like starting to drift off and I'm like, this is, geez, this is the end. Yeah. And, and I, I seriously, like, I felt the connection. I felt like, yep. I hear you. There was, whether you guys are the religious guys or not, man, I, I felt like I, I seriously felt a connection and I was like, I'm leaving and then this is it.
And I made my peace with God and I, and I, and I, you know, set a prayer and, and I, and I basically, I was ready. I was like, I don't, I don't know if you ever felt that in your life where like, I have, this is it. Yep. I'm, I'm gone. Yep. This is, this is, I was at peace with dying. I've always been scared of it ever since I was then who isn't?
Yeah. Being scared of dying, like, you know, a little bit, even as a kid, but I was like, all right, this is, I'm, I'm not gonna be in this world anymore. And, and the, the ambulance came and. So like, long story short, I mean, they, they, they took me in. There was a lot I could keep going and No, I [01:09:00] can imagine. But, um, how, but that was opened up for two days while they stapled and sold me back together.
Oh God, dude. And, and my family was freaking out. And my, the, you know, people are on short fuses that the time my dad, remember my father was like, Tamar, he was, he was like, you are supposed to be taking care of 'em. You're not supposed to let this shit happen of, she's, she's loo like crying and like everybody's crazy at that point.
They're all melting and like having emotional bursts and everything like that, and then having a hard time. And I, and I'm pa I'm like all drugged out and like, not even there for, for days. Geez. Yeah. How does, so, so oddly, how did the Aaron Draplin know about this and how did, I did a lot of public speaking afterwards and, and, and, and part of my public, public speaking.
I, I would, I'd tell my story. I would talk about like all like the hard work, you know, like, especially early on in my career and especially working at ad agency and how hard that was. Yeah. And the turning point in the talk was. I would like, but like designers are not ready for that. I mean, I would, I would testify and I would be like, be like, listen, you know, [01:10:00] number one, why didn't they turn around and shoot me?
Why didn't they already shot me once and tried to kill me? Why didn't they fire again? And the, the, the detectives never found a bullet. So that means the gun jam. So that's, that's, there's that, you know, uh, the, the doctor told me that if it would've hit a rib, it would've splintered and exploded inside me.
And it went between two ribs. Um, and I'd be dead if I hadn't been running, like, you know, like six miles, uh, a couple days a week, uh, that I would've bled to death cuz I lost half the blood in my body. She's like, like thing after thing, after thing after thing. And then here's the thing, when I was in the hospital afterward, um, We took the test and found out we were pregnant with Matthew, which was pretty damn awesome.
It was like the first thing we did, like once I was off drugs and stuff like that. So it was, it was just like, it was like this special really, it cemented like I felt like God's kept me here to be, be here for my family and, and be here to be a dad for my kids. And, um, I try and look at it as a positive light [01:11:00] cuz my, my career, my life changed after that.
And I did take the job at Target and then I was able to start my own company after that. And, uh, I did have more kids and, and my family's growning and Life's been, life was fricking rocky before that and, and it got a lot better afterwards. But How does Aaron, Dr. Know about? So like in 2000 when I worked at.
Um, I got asked to do, especially after I did the first target branding campaign, and that like was in ca and it got, there was one point where I always wanted to be in communication arts, and the first time I was in it, I was featured. I had one project in the ad annual and one project in the design annual in the same year, which I don't know anybody who's ever died that lie.
I was like, fuck yes. Like was like a never, like, it was such a big deal for me. And, and my name got out there and I got to a lot. I went to like Creative South. I, I spoke at like, over like six months. I spoke at like 10, 15 places [01:12:00] enough so that like my boss was like, Hey Allen, when's the Allen Peter show gonna end?
Can you like come back and focus? And even my wife was like, you gotta stop traveling. This is getting crazy. But one of the nice things about it was, Every time I would, I would talk about design and there'd be a lot of designers there. Like, not a lot of designers are, are faith dudes or Christian guys in the south maybe, but especially not in the north.
Not not in northern United States. Man. It's like crickets. And so, uh, one of the things like they always talking about in church is like, you know, testifying, you know, he sharing your story with people and stuff like that. So, uh, it was, it was ex and a lot of the times people might do that, but they do it like at church with a bunch of, it's like you're preaching to the choir, you know, they always say like, that time, yeah, you're literally doing that.
So it was my opportunity to like kind of surprise people a little bit and, and mention that. And, and every single time there would be like multiple people that come up afterwards and be like, a man like that. Or like, they'd emailed me like a couple weeks later be like, man, I started going to [01:13:00] church again.
Like, then like, really? Like, that's awesome. We, we eventually did, we lived there for a while afterwards, we were like, because we were like, we're like, we're not gonna let that scare us out of our freaking house, you know? And. Um, but we did eventually,