A Conversation with Graphic Designer Allan Peters
With a Graphic Design career spanning over 20 years that has included small agencies, large agencies, in-house at Target to then becoming one of the most recognizable brand and badge designers of our time, Allan Peters is one of the most influential (and humble) Graphic Designers in the world today. Period.
Be it for his appreciation of historic designers like Paul Rand, to his passion that has carried him through the most insane times, Allan Peters is a true gentleman who has firmly cemented him as a giant in the graphic design space.
Now releasing his first tell-all book on his process later in 2023; Logos That Last, we were SO excited to chat with Allan about his life, his insane career and what the future holds.
Join the Angry Designers as we talk career, design, life, influence & Draplin with Graphic and Brand Designer Allan Peters.
[00:00:00] Dude, fire craft man. I, I, I was, uh, I had hopped on, uh, uh, one of Lin's live feeds during the pandemic. Oh. And I don't know if you guys saw this, but he goes, uh, uh, lay says, she's like, she's like, Hey, a's in here, and Lin's like, Alan, I wanna put you on right now. I wanna talk to you. And I'm like, damn, okay, let's go, let's go.
I'm like, kids downstairs, like running, like running. You jumping all over your Legos, shooting, drop everything. And, and he's like, he's like, man, I was in South Dakota and I was getting some pizza from, from a, a pizza truck. See? And the logo was awesome. And I was like, where did you, where did you get this logo designed?
Allan Peters: And they're like, oh, this guy, Alan Peters. He's like, oh, I know that guy. . I know that guy. This is good. And he goes, Alan Allen. You taught me something that day about lo design. You should feel damn good about that. Like something like that. And I was
Allan Peters: like, I was like, don't here. Yeah. [00:01:00] Righting on.
He's, oh my God, he's the man. You know? He is the man. Yeah. He's funny. Yeah, that was a good day.
Massimo: You're listening to the Angry Designer where we cut through the industry bowl to help frustrated graphic designers survive and thrive.
What's up? Angry designers. So today we have a super crazy ass special treat for you today. We have brought one of my longstanding heroes, and I know he is just kind of like humming and hing and rolling his eyes going like,
Allan Peters: yeah, hero,
Massimo: nothing, whatever, . But I mean, again, I've, I have followed this dude for a long time.
His, his work I've been always so envious and jealous about and, and you know, he is doing something really cool in the next little while. Um, and again, that's what spur up this whole conversation. So, you know, we started talking and, you know, [00:02:00] Perfect person for this show. So I want to introduce Alan Pierce.
Allan Peters: Woo. Right? Woo. Thanks man. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it, dude. Honestly,
Massimo: no, and again, not, not, not to fan girl. I told you like right from the start, I mean, I, I'm gonna have to keep myself down on this one right, , because it's just, your work is always so good. But, um, before we get in crazy about this, okay, let's first talk about that story cuz we've already had, uh, a great conversation up until here.
Mm-hmm. , Sean and I. Cheers buddy.
Allan Peters: Oh, oh. Whoops. Whoops. Oh man. I should have brought something . That's okay. I got, I got my busted iPad over here.
can drink the water out of it. You drink
Massimo: the water? Drink the water outta that . Well, it just came out. You got so angry. You ring it up. Busted an iPad. Yeah, . Okay. Okay. Okay. So first off, because again, that, that sign behind you is legendary. Okay. Cuz I always see it, I'm always so jealous of it. It's just, it's a fantastic piece.
Um, I want it for our office. So when you're done with [00:03:00] it, send it over here, . Okay. What's the story behind it?
Allan Peters: So, the story behind this sign, um, I got hit up by right way signs, uh, some good folks outta Chicago. I don't know if you followed them at all, but they do amazing work and I do's huge, like I do, uh, giant murals and things like that.
They did, uh, whole headquarters, I think for Jack Daniels, where they did like just beautiful lettering pieces and stuff like that on there. And, . Basically the, I could tell you a whole story about them, but let, let's, let's skip that. Um, , uh, they, they, we throw out, they said they needed a logo. I, I, I gave 'em the price, which wasn't that high.
It was just like, it was like my lower end price. And they're like, uh, how about we do a trade? How about we do no way, half, half money, half sign. And so, uh, I was, dude, that, that sounds awesome. You know, they figure like, Hey, we can make some social media posts about this. We don't get to u do a lot of like this style of signage, you know, because most people want, you know, like the [00:04:00] plastic stuff that's back lit and, and, and more expected things.
And so it's, it's um, a way that they can flex their skills a little bit and, you know, show off . Oh, you gotta turn it on. You gotta turn it on. I wanna see it on. Oh, yeah, yeah. Oh, I can leave. For a minute makes a little ticking noise. So if that's annoying, I'll look at that.
Massimo: Is that always ridiculous? Yeah, that looks so.
Okay. So I recommend anybody, you know, go visit our YouTube channel and check this thing out. Yeah. It is due to every one of your Instagram posts should be on like this . Yeah.
Allan Peters: Awesome. Yeah, so this sign here, um, uh, I, I designed the thing, I lay it out. I, you know, I'm like, I want this channel lettering. I sent 'em examples cuz you know, like I have all, I, I love going and digging in antique stores and taking pictures of old signs and stuff like that.
So I'm like, I want this channel lettering with, uh, with the neon running down the middle. And then I want this part, you know, you know, raised up about, you know, a quarter inch, but not lit, but then this whole area be lit. I had all these like real, I laid this whole [00:05:00] blueprint. Sent it to him. And then we went, went on a family vacation.
And Maria, my wife and partner in the company, she's like, she's like, don't look at your phone when we're on vacation. Just kind of just like, as little as possible. So anyways, I get this email from saying like, Hey, we have to make the sign slightly bigger. Cause I designed to be like, you know, two feet tall, slightly bigger.
Nice little sign that would fit in my office. Right? Yeah, yeah. . And they're like, oh, we had to make it slightly bigger. They sent all the measurements in, uh, you know, like in centimeters. And I'm, I'm from America. I'm too stupid to like, sit and, and, and do the math. I'm like, sweet. It's gonna be bigger. make it.
I, I didn't wanna like sit, I, I didn't wanna be on my phone super long, so I'm just like, yes. Yeah, approved. Do it. Approved. And, and then, then, and then later on, like later on that trip, I was like, I should really see how much bigger that is. The thing is like, it's like five feet tall. This is like way behind me.
If I stand up against this thing, oh my God, God,
Massimo: look at that. Oh
Allan Peters: my God. That's ridiculous. To carry that thing up the stairs is nuts, man. , [00:06:00] you know, to reinforce or hanging it. Hanging it. I need like another full size man. Yeah. ,
Massimo: dude. Oh my God. I love it. Even more now, I mean, again, I just, I just, we do, we need
That's what, totally.
Allan Peters: Yes. Wow. Uh, yeah. That's great. Sweet sign. Neon signs are expensive. . But that said, I bet you could do something with them that wouldn't cost quite as much. And some, I I, I kind of regretted a little bit, you know, those old vintage signs that are done in the same style, but they have little light bulbs in there.
Yes. Yep. I'm like, ah, should've done a light bulb thing instead. Um, I mean, that's a little bit more carnival, but you know what, right
Massimo: now neon is totally hot. Like with that whole synth wave vibe. The eighties kicking in right now. Yeah. It's, I think that's like a million dollar sign I think. I think you're sitting on something that's gold.
Allan Peters: Yep. Geez. Yeah. That's awesome. Awesome. Just gotta find another Peter's design company and I can sell it for him. . Um, and Sean,
Massimo: we're gonna go apply for that
Allan Peters: tomorrow. , that's, oh, I'm changing my name, changing the name. That's my sign [00:07:00] that, that, that's, it's huge. Um, I was born in, In 80, 19 80. Oh, okay. And so my, my childhood that, you know, it's like the GI Joe Heman, transformers Voltron.
Best era, in my opinion. Best era. Good one, . Totally.
Massimo: You know what, if you wanna feel nostalgic, just go and listen to that GI Joe entry song again. Right? Like came to GI Joe
Allan Peters: and it's just like, yes. Yeah. Fight for freedom forever there. GI Joe was there, GI Joe, American hero, GI Joe was there. Just want to feel amazing.
Yeah. Well, Legos too, you know, guy had so many Legos growing up old, like, you know, like when they had like the space set and the castle system and stuff like that. I, I still have, that's one thing that I kept for my child. Cause I'm like, Legos, Legos haven't changed. So it's time. Yes, absolutely. So my, my kids, when they got old enough, we, um, we found all the instruction booklets and, and.
I sat with them downstairs for like months and we [00:08:00] sorted everything out and made all the sets and then, then they destroyed them and just mixed them back up again. But it was actually, it was fun, kind of relaxing going through and just looking for a specific piece out of like a million pieces. I don't know why I, I find that enjoyable.
It's, I think it's the same thing I get from, um, when I go to like antique store and I'm looking for old badges and crusts. Oh, okay. It's like that, um, that um, little boost of not adrenaline. , uh, the like endorphin hit that you get. It's just the rush when you, when you find the thing you're looking for and you're just like,
Like, just a moment.
Massimo: What was that? What was the best found, best find you've ever had at an antique story? Antiquing. And it's not antiquing. I understand. I I wish there was a cooler word for it.
Allan Peters: design. I, I call it, i, i I call it a badge on, I tell you almost the badge, badge hunting. And that would explain your style badge style.
Ok. Which is that first, it's a lame name. Um, cause, uh, cause well there, there was this one dude type hunter and he, he, I think he takes, he was just went by type hunter. [00:09:00] Yeah. I still know me. He's a good dude. But I was just like, I was like, well, I, I'm looking for
Massimo: badges. I'm
Allan Peters: Badgeing Badgeing. And this is like years ago.
This is back in like 2007 or something that I started doing that and, and taking it. I've been doing it for years. Honestly. I would like to write a book where they, I get the, To drive across the country and just go to antique stores and make a whole book of that kind of stuff. Dude, that would be cool.
That would be heaven for me. Just making it, I would be so happy and we could, I, I, my wife and I have talked about it, like we could put vinyls on the vehicle and we could write the whole thing off and that would be really neat.
Massimo: Well, and that's the benefit of what we do for a living, cuz I mean you can, as long as you get, you know, give good old Elon on a call and get like a satellite mountain system on top of your, you know, your road vehicle.
Right. You can take your work on the road, pull over work, work by night and hunt by day. Yeah. Yes. Except you cannot call yourself a badge hunter. Okay. , because you can call it badge hunting. I just don't want to be badge hunter. Yeah. Is a little, um, it's, nah, it's a little bit crazy. [00:10:00] But with that being said, okay, so I think, and I mean I almost got into a fight with somebody on, on, on one of your, um, like it took everything behind me.
Cause I, I think I even called you, I, I think you, you did a post a couple weeks ago and you're like, you put all your badges out there. Just, it was just phenomenal. And I was like, dude, like you are literally the master of badges. Like, you, you, you killed this space. And some guy's like, well, well, I don't know if I'd call him a
Allan Peters: master.
Massimo: And I mean, for literally a whole day I was trying to get the right, like, how do I respond to this guy without insulting it? In the end? I didn't wanna disrespect you by putting something nasty, , but dude, it, it caused me so much anxiety when somebody was like, like not agreeing with the fact that your badge skill, like, I mean the stuff that you create is phenomenal.
Like it's, you have this style, you own this style, I think, yeah. Like from the start always. Or is this like, how far back has this
Allan Peters: gone? My first job outta school. I remember my buddy Nicks Mole, I was working with him. We were, and uh, we lived, worked at this [00:11:00] little studio called Initio and he was working on a freelance project, like after hours there.
So like, and I always would just right outta school, I'd work late hours all the time just cuz I know they told you you should like in school, they're like, you know, make sure, you know, like to get hired on from intern and all that to just work your ass off. And so I was doing that and, you know, I didn't have kids or anything, so it wasn't that big deal.
But he was working on some freelance project and he was gonna design some badges and he had a whole bunch of books out, like, uh, design books that he'd brought in from his house. Awesome. And he was looking up old like Charles Spencer Anderson badges and, and Crest and stuff like that by and at that. And this was a time before like badges kind of came back or were in style again.
And you'd see 'em every so often. Like there would be a couple companies that would do 'em, but it wasn't like, it wasn't like it is now where it's more commonplace and almost like back in, I, I feel like it's back in the, like, you wouldn't be blown away if you saw like a big brand come up [00:12:00] with a, a new logo and it had a badge in the system.
You just like, yeah, that's, that's fine, . Um, but I remember seeing that and looking at that and, and it kind of sparks up in my head. I'm like, oh, that's kind of cool. That's kind of interesting. And, and I didn't get into it at that point at all. I just, I remember seeing it and I, I'd see a couple people doing it here and there.
and you'd start to see it on like rock posters and stuff like that. There's, there's a agency out of Minneapolis called Aesthetic Apparatus, and they're, they're legendary. They do, uh, tons of band posters and they've been doing it for years. And Nice. Like, they'll be like, I, I remember one year they basically were like, oh, let's just submit a bunch of our posters to see, uh, communication arts.
And I think they gave 'em a full spread or two of just posters and like every single one of them got in and they just . I've never seen that in ca and like the design annual was like, Those guys did it. Right. Um, dad said, you know, they'd be, they were digging through antique stores. They were digging for old stuff.
And, and even csa Charles Spencer Anderson, I had [00:13:00] lunch with him when I worked at Target, and I remember he was saying like, you know how you go looking for antiques and stuff like that. He's like, I've been doing that shit for like 30 years. Kid just in the kid part. Of course, I don't know if he said it quite like that.
Oh really? He, he's a nice dude. Very kind, very polite. I, I, I, I, that's just me trying to make make the, the, a little more humorous. But he, he's a nice guy, but yeah, he, he was like, yeah, I've been doing that for years. That's, that's what I do for a living, basically. Yeah. That's awesome. Awesome. But you know, you'd see that stuff and, um, it wasn't until probably around like 2006 or seven or something like that I was working at a agency called B B D O.
Yep. And I started getting some opportunities to, work of that style. I remember I was like doing, I was branding an event that was for Hormel Bacon and it was like this bacon event, like a bacon competition. I was like, oh, that's kind of badass, actually. . Um, I like bacon. Bacon or baking bake bacon. Like bacon, bacon.
Like all sorts of interesting like, like swine? [00:14:00] Yes. Yes. Like
Massimo: delicious bacon. Like bacon Andy, A bacon competition. I'm like, pies or, yeah. Bacon
Allan Peters: pig competition. Yeah. . And so it was like, it was called the bacon takedown and it was a competition where, where these folks would like, uh, make awesome recipes with bacon and compete, you know, big old festival.
And so I just did like basically rock posters for that in essence, you know, just these bacon themed, like awesome posters and, and did it all with like crests and badges and like a vintage field and fun illustrations. Nice. And like, won a ton of awards and got a lot of recognition. And it was the first time I was like, oh.
oh, people like this and I really like making it. I think I'm gonna, I think I'm gonna do more of this . Yeah. Cool. You know, it had that balance, you know, the, the, the, the Can it win awards? Yes. Is it making somebody money so they're willing to pay for it? Yes. Yes. And do I love doing it? Yes. It hits all those things and double boxes, you know.
It is, the whole point of this career is just to [00:15:00] find something that you love doing it, and then just make money doing it and, and. Keep doing it as much as you can until people stop paying you for doing it. , because it's so fun. It's so true though, right? It's
Massimo: like the money is just the, the, the outcome.
It's like the necessary evil. Yeah. But the fact that you're doing something that you love on a daily basis. I mean, we profess this all the time. Yeah. I mean we we're, it's like we're rock stars. We're not, we're not doing this necessarily for the cash. Cuz if you're drinking for the cash, maybe not the right industry for everybody.
Yeah. But if you're looking for just the fulfillment for yourself and just a creative journey and it just, you know, like it so doesn't actually feel like a job. I mean, this is it So good on you for that. Yeah. Has it, has it ever, okay, so here's a question. So you've definitely got a unique look. Has it ever lost you a job because you are so, you have a unique look.
Allan Peters: Having a unique look is a good thing because mm-hmm. , uh, if here, it's not a good thing if you're working at an agency because they're coming in there, they're buying the agency style and they're like, I like this. I want more stuff like [00:16:00] this. And so if you have a different style than they have. , they're gonna be like, well, what, what is this that you're showing me?
This isn't what I basically, I, I bought that and now you're giving me this and I might like this still, but it's not what I now what I was expecting. Where with me, my portfolio is filled with the kind of work I want to do. And so when people hire me, that's, they know what they're gonna get and they're expecting that and they get excited when they see it and I'm like, awesome, I'll just keep doing it.
It's like Jessica Hich. You hire Jessica Hich, you know exactly what you're gonna get. Exactly. Yeah. And, and that's, that's awesome cuz she can really focus and hone that style and get really, really good at it. Yeah. And, and just continually get better in, in a focused niche rather than spreading it wide.
Yeah. I think the only thing with having a specific style is making sure that it's broad enough that you can still stay creative, that you can still have fun with it. and uh, I found [00:17:00] like doing passion projects Yeah. And things like that mm-hmm. That aren't for clients. It lets you flex your skills a little bit.
Absolutely. And then make sure you're filling your portfolio with a little bit more diversity.
Massimo: Yeah. So, now let me ask you, so, so you've developed this style, this look, this thing that, that you are absolutely known for. Um, and that has obviously come from a decade, a decade and a half of work. At what point did you start, I mean, cuz obviously you started prior to honing just this look, you know?
Yeah. Were you struggling at the beginning trying to adopt other styles? Were you, like, when you started, did you just take everything that you could and, and just kind of, you know, acting as a chameleon? Like, when did this kick in
Allan Peters: for you? I, so outta school, they basically said, When you're going in for that first interview and this, I was graduating, uh, in 2002, 2003.
So 2000 I think 2002. Um, and then it was right at economic downturn. You know, the economy sucked at the time. Yep. And a lot of people were [00:18:00] getting laid off and then Gotcha. Yeah. I graduated and I was like, let's go find a job in this economy where everyone's getting fired. , um, and the, I remember my portfolio teacher.
You need to tell 'em that you'll do damn near anything. Anything. Yep. You'll mop the floors. You'll go, you'll go polish the doorknobs on will, you know, go in, in, in the pasteup room and, and clean up all the super 77 gunk on the side of the spray mount. But whatever, just tell 'em you will do it. You'll take all the worst projects, you'll take all the grunt work that you just wanna work with them, and you just want a chance, you know, they basically said like, that's what you gotta do right now.
And so that's what I did and, and coming outta school. I, uh, in this career, you know, you, you develop taste over time. You know, you develop kind of, and not just like, oh, I have good taste. It's like I have my taste, you know, this is what I like. And then what I, I know sells. You learn that it's, it's wisdom over [00:19:00] time.
You know, you're doing this for 20 years, you're gonna learn that and, and it takes a while to find your niche. It does. Um, I, at the beginning, man, I was trying all sorts of different things. I was trying different styles, you know, whether it's, I don't know, more modern, more grungy. You should see some of the ugly fonts I made a couple years outta school.
They were awful. They're like, so it was the book that time,
and, and I, the, the craziest thing is I came out back when like Flash was hitting hard. You remember Macromedia Flash? Oh, yes. Oh man, dude. And I'd get all my flash, my, my first couple portfolio jobs or, and jobs I got because, Uh, they knew I could do their portfolio. They're like, oh man, this, this kid can program and code flash, and he's super good at the animations and adding all sorts of sound effects to all the buttons and everything.
Oh yeah, let's hire this kid. Beep. You know, like, I'd have like freaking things bouncing all over the screen. , um, . It's so true though. And it wasn't until, gosh, [00:20:00] my third job outta college that all of a sudden I, I got something into, uh, into print magazine. Like I, I, I won like a legitimate national award, dude, that actually like, was so early on.
2004, 2005, something like that. So it was like three or man, 2006. It's somewhere in there. I was working at this little shop called Industrial and I came in there and they were small. Uh, it was like five people. , uh, they didn't have the greatest reputation or portfolio, and the guy was like, who, who ran it?
EJ McNulty, who's, who's an awesome dude. And he's like, he's, he leads this gigantic global, like agency as a e Ec D of North America right now. He's like, he's big time. Um, but at the time he, he got this awesome offer to uh, uh, basically be funded to start an agency cuz it was his dream. And he was like on the board with a another guy and he's like, listen, take a shot.
And he gets like, kick this whole thing off. And he, he's just kind of trying to figure [00:21:00] out his way. and, uh, hiring people and, and just trying, trying to make this thing right. And he came from a job where he was a salesman and like a really good salesman. He sold like pipe fittings of all things like, and pipe, like all sorts of like stuff for like oiled type sales.
Yes, art, core sales. This man taught me so much about selling work. He was so good at it and such a nice guy. And selling work is all about, in case you're wondering, it's, it's not the greasy car salesman guy. It's the guy who you're like, dude, I wanna invite this dude to my wedding after this. That's, that's the good salesman.
The person you're like, let's go grab a beer, man. Yeah. Um, so cool. So I, I learned a lot from him in that sense, but he, he basically gave me the keys to the creative. He is like, I'm not gonna sit and nitpick your work. Um, I want you to Wow. Just basically stretch out and make amazing work and I will sell it and.
I, I got a lot of great opportunities working there, uh, and kind of figured [00:22:00] out a style and it was, it was a great jump to get me into the, you know, the next step. Like, then I went into advertising, worked as a, I wanted to learn to be a art director and so I bought a book on it and, and started making commercials and print ads and stuff like that.
And then, uh, I got the opportunity at Target and, uh, so you went from industrial,
Massimo: or Wait,
Allan Peters: so wait, what was before industrial? I worked at a little shop called Inicio, which sounds like industrial . Yeah. Fair enough. Inicio. Ans and o I worked at a little shop called Uno, uh, which was a Hispanic focused, uh, design shop run by a guy named Luis Fitch.
He's, he's awesome, awesome artist, and, uh, always keeps it small. Really, really amazing work. I learned a lot about color from him. Hmm. Uh, and then worked at industrial where I, I learned to sell and, and how to, to, and basically really got to figure out what my style was and what my niche was at that point.
Yeah. Worked at B B D O, that still ends at a dam o um, , [00:23:00] big old global ad agency. Yeah. Yeah. And, uh, worked on big brands. Yeah. And then got the opportunity at Target, which, uh, I don't, I don't, I came from an ad agency, so I was working like 60 hour weeks. It was all crazy and, and stressful. And I come to Target where people are working.
You know, they're working 40 hours and you know, maybe even leaving a little early on Friday and stuff like that. Oh, wow. And, and, and they're just, they're happy and they're just like, you know, they're getting by, they're doing their work. And I come in there, I'm just like, I wanna make awesome work. This is like the coolest client I've ever had.
It's freaking target, man. I've been working on Hormel Foods and stuff up until this man, let, let's, let's go . And, and I was taking on any, any and every project I could possibly get. Like all the, I did their home brand threshold and, uh, their, their core branding, like I did two rounds of their, the, the core branding that's like on the outside of all the stores and Wow.
What the bags look like. Crazy and all sorts of [00:24:00] stuff, man. So like if you go to Target, like there was, there was a time period, um, one year, whereas I remember it was like in springtime, I had design designed the seasonal signage. When he walked in, I designed the stuff on the outside of the store on on those signs.
Oh dude. And then I designed all these like endcap things, like all the endcap signs that when they didn't have one specific for a sale mm-hmm. , it was like some sort of thing about selling all their different ways of ways you get things shipped and stuff like that. It was like their, their four differentiating things, you know, 5% off with red card, that kind of stuff.
And it was like those were on half, half the end caps in the store. There were, it was like you could walk through the store and look at the signs and I just designed like, geez, like a quarter of 'em. And it was
Massimo: crazy rush. Right. When you're actually seeing your stuff. Yeah. Up there and I mean, okay, you were going on purpose, but you just stumble across it like on a, just a daily basis.
You're like, oh shit, I did that. Oh wow. I did that. Right. Especially the quarter of a, a quarter of a, it was crazy.
Allan Peters: It was, it was, it was a cra crazy, crazy moment for me. And, and, and that's that. And I, I worked with teams, you know, it wasn't all, [00:25:00] it wasn't like, Hey, it's the L Peter show. It wasn't that. It was, it was like, you know, I, I worked with awesome people and, and we made some awesome work, you know, the great writers, uh, project managers, creative directors and stuff like that.
Uh, you know, I had a lot of people helping me out and making these things come to life, and I learned a lot of Target too. So, um, that, that really sounds like an ego trip the way I just described that. But like for me, I, I was just excited. I was like, man, target was growing up, man. Target was such a cool brand.
So absolutely. It still is.
Massimo: It's. And that's it. Right? It's a huge design icon, right? Everybody. Okay. Cuz obviously, you know, we, we, we've seen it all up here, up here. We only had a taste of Target for a little while north of the border. Yeah. And when we did all the designers, you know, we, we all flocked to the store.
Mm-hmm. , but I mean, I guess everybody else was too. Damn. What? They were too damn cheap. And they were, they were kind of going, they, they, they were pushing back. So Target was only up here for, for 12 months. But dude, like, it, it was, it would've been like working underneath um, a design icon or we Target is a design icon, but like under like a master or [00:26:00] whatever.
Just cuz it just seems like that whole culture thrives. Mm-hmm. on design. No. ,
Allan Peters: they have such a big design team. It's crazy. It's like a, and they appreciate over 150 designers or something. It's, it's, it's, there's so many people, because they have the clothing designers, you know, they have the product designers, they have the, you know, so they have different departments of designers too.
So there's just like, there's a lot of, just a lot of creative people that you can learn from and stuff like that. I remember working on, I was working on a storage and org thing where I had to. Do, uh, basically I wanted to do some dimensional type. Yeah. But I wanted to, I had seen some stuff where it wasn't done in 3D and it was like physical then photographed and I was like, oh, I wanna do something like that.
And I found the department that had 3D printers and then I was like, here's what it to look like. I worked with a, a guy who rendered the whole thing, then he printed it off, then we sent it off to another shop to have it sanded down and painted. And, and we had like a photo studio in-house for shooting all the products for.com.
So could like difference, I could go next door to the photo shoot studio [00:27:00] and just, if I had an idea for a concept, we could shoot it, you know, it was nuts. Cool. It was so cool. That's great . It was, that was, that was an
Massimo: incredible in-house experience. So then how do you, how would you compare then? Because I mean we, oh, we constantly have people reaching out and I mean it's, yeah, they're always reaching out.
Do I stay freelance, do I go to an agency or do I go in-house? So what was the biggest differences for your experiences? Cuz you went Agency, agency, agency. Big agency and
Allan Peters: then target in-house. Right. One of the great things about running your own studio and, and taking on freelance work and, and, and, and choose, you can choose how much, if you have the opportunity where work is coming in and you don't, you're not stressed about getting enough work.
Mm-hmm. , if, if you have enough work coming in, you can control the flow to, to a degree. I mean, it, it's, it's, it takes a little bit to adjust, but you can make sure that you're not gonna get crazy overloaded. Yeah. So I think that's, that's always the ideal thing. I, I think is running your own thing. Cuz then you can keep the stress level right where you want it to be.
So it, [00:28:00] it doesn't get too overwhelming if you're gonna be going on, you know, like traveling or like, you know, something coming up or you're gonna have a baby you can pump, you can breaks, you can cut it down a little bit and then you can amp ramp it back up. So, That's nice. You can control the spigot, um, where you don't have as much control if you're working for somebody else, no matter who it is, no matter, you know, agency or whatever.
And then culture's another thing. You know, you don't have different cultures at every place. You know, I've worked at little shops where the culture was more relaxed. I've worked at, you know, ad agencies where the culture was work all the time. And it was especially like crunch time when it was coming down to a, like, time to present a, uh, work at the end
And then I worked in-house. And in-house was great, but like, I think it's because, how do I explain it? . It's like you had like, because there were so many cool projects. Yeah, it'd be like that kid in Willy Wonka where there's like the chocolate, chocolate river and he just like, can't stop drink at the chocolate [00:29:00] and then he falls in, gets sucked in the damn.
Massimo: And he deserved it. Damn.
Allan Peters: Ruined it for everybody. Yeah. Yeah. Well the, the work and the projects were so awesome that I would take on a little bit more than a, a comfortable level and I could, you mean? Yeah. And I could have controlled that more. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. But I remember there were like certain times where like, there was, there was like a moment on a shoot where, uh, like near the end of my time there where I, I did like stress out and have a full on panic attack with the only one I've ever had in my life.
Just cuz it was, it was like late night and, and there was so much going on and I was trying to do a freelance project after like, like I, I was, I was, I was shooting the work. And, and it, it was, it was a campaign where I needed to mock, I basically photograph it and then before we could wrap up the photo, I had to mock up, make sure it fit nicely in the layout because it, the photo had to integrate with the graphics.
Yep. And so I had to [00:30:00] like speed mock it up, and with it all 50 of the shots that we were doing. Oh. And it was, it was so stressful. And then I'd go home or not go back to my night place I was staying and, and then try and work on this project at other project at night. And, and my wife was like, oh, I'm gonna come visit and know, come see you while you're out on shoot.
So she was gonna come out there and, um, it was like, there, there was a all going on. Great stuff. Yeah. I just, I just was overdoing it and it was my own fault and I don't want to have a, a panic attack ever again. I, I didn't like that . Geez. Yeah. But that wasn't, that wasn't why I left the target or anything, you know, I.
Um, you know, I got, I got a lap laptop back when I was working there. Mm-hmm. , um, like my own laptop. And I had all this time we, we had moved out to Eagan, uh, which is a suburb of Minneapolis St. Paul, and it was a 45 minute bus commute to and from work, rather than driving and sitting in tra traffic. I would just sit on the bus in traffic with, with all [00:31:00] the business people.
It's smart. It's brilliant. Yeah. Yeah. And, and I would work on freelance projects and fun little, like passion projects and things like that. And, uh, I, I, I hadn't really done that much freelance cause I didn't wanna work at night and overdo it while I was working there. But on the bus I was like, yeah, whatever.
I'm just gonna be sitting on nanny sitting here like watching movies on my phone. It's like an over something half every day. That's oc a ton of shine and Well, I, I like designing. Yeah. Yeah. So, um, I did that for a while and I was getting some cool clients. I was doing some stuff for Nike. Uh, I, I, oh gosh, what I, I did a whole bunch of really cool projects on the bus and, and espn I did, did a whole bunch of stuff for, on the bus, bus and
And so I'd be like sitting there, you know, those long seats on the side of the bus. I'd be sitting there with like, my, my Pantone book on, on the Pantone laptop Heroes. There's that graphic designer
Massimo: again, taking up the whole half of the bus .
Allan Peters: We probably thought it was [00:32:00] crazy, but, uh, my, my wife got bless or sold us her taxes, and I remember at, it was, it was a second year.
I had had the laptop. She was doing the taxi at the end of the year, and she's like, damn it, Alan, you, you, we made more money on the bus this year and you made it private.
And so, Back way back to that first job. The initial one. Yeah. Remember I was saying I was wor working late nights and Nick was looking at badges. Yep. Mm-hmm. , my wife was in school at the time and we weren't married yet. And she would, she would come in and hang out and do her homework and I would stay until like, one in the morning for like, no reason other than just like, try and make all my projects as good as possible, try and get, be better at my craft.
And, um, and we would talk about like, oh, what would our future be like, you know what our dreams and hopes and stuff. And we always, we always wanted to have our own agency. It was always a dream of ours. Mm-hmm. . And then the other thing is, I had, I had read this book right here. Wait, what is that one by Steven Heller.
[00:33:00] My buddy Papa Ran. Yes. I, I read, I read this book around that time. That's brilliant. And I was like, this. Like, I want to do this. I, I don't, I want, I want to be like this man. Yep. I like his logos. I like how he works. I like the crap. I like the creativity. I like his style. I like everything about what's going on in here.
Yep. I like, he has like that beautifully designed gravestone even. Yeah. It's like, it's nuts. . I know. I'm like Paul Rand, man. I'm like, one day, one day. I want that book that, that says Alan Peters across here. How amazing. Would that be? Yes. And that's kind of like the spark for like, always wanted to write a book that that was a list.
Massimo: I know, right? Well, I mean, again, that is how this whole thing started. It's because you, you are coming up with your book, right? I, again, as soon as I saw it, I'm like, congrat, congratulations. I put in the order and I was thinking, I wanna let you know I
Allan Peters: already bought it. I already bought it. I never bought it.
Massimo: Yeah, man. But still, like, how [00:34:00] awesome is that? Like, I mean, that's, that's like a, that's a whole nother level. Yeah. Right? Because like you just said, you just, you just credited Paul Rand's book and now this is not, you know, um, you know, this is not per se, uh, you know, look at all my stuff I'm working on. Look at, you know, this is my story, story, my life.
You're actually, you know, putting down some, some of your whole thoughts, beliefs, everything in
Allan Peters: place with this, right? You might look at the copy and you're like, but Alan, what's with this book? ? You know, is it just, is it 200 pages of just logos? Is that it? You know? Oh no. You know, there's so much more to it.
So the book's called Logos That Last. And, um, I, I get into exactly that, how, oh, what makes a timeless logo? Mm-hmm. , how, how do you make something like that? Like what are the qualities that go into making a mark that's gonna stand the test of time, that's gonna not have to be replaced when the tr trend wears off in four years?
Yeah. Or when the, the new, uh, CMO comes on and he is like, round down to redo the logo, you know, that one sucks. Anyways, um, [00:35:00] Yeah. We live through that. Yeah. Yeah. We all have, um, and so I have apparently shared the same type of experience as well. But anyway, yeah. And so I go into like, uh, the, all the pillars of like, what makes, okay.
I've done a lot of research. I've studied the, I've been doing this for a long time as you guys, as a, you know, we, we all have for that matter. Yeah. But I've been doing this for about 20 years and, um, I figured out. At least from my perspective, what makes a logo timeless? You know, there's certain things you can't control, like time, you know, it can, obviously that's the true test of timeless logo, you know, is it gonna stand the test of time?
And then with time, you know, people see it more and more and, and it becomes more ingrained. Mm-hmm. , uh, the marketing money, you know, like how much money is invested, you know, McDonald's is McDonald's. Is, is that the best logo you've ever seen? No, probably not. But it's one of the most memorable because you've seen it so many times cuz there's so much money back in it.
Yeah. It's in the architecture, it's on the sign. It's, it's, it's, they have built it to their brand. Yeah, [00:36:00] exactly. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. Exactly. And the marketing buy, that's a big part of it. And you don't have control over that as a designer. And then the last one that you don't have control over is the product quality.
You know, how often do you like design something that, where the product just sucks, you know, like, true. There's nothing to do about that. . Yeah. But then here's the, here's the things that you can control guys. Yeah. There's, um, your personal passion, like how much you're gonna pour into this, like, yeah.
Usually when you see these marks that, that have stood the test of time, they're usually designed by somebody where like they're, they're just pouring, I, I've got a book over there, a Sabas book, and I remember there, there's like some pictures in the back where he's like working with a team on like United, or like, there's another photo of like the room, the war room when they're working on the Bell logo and it's like hundreds of sketches on the wall.
Hundreds and hundreds of 'em. It's, it, it's insane. And you know, they're just like poor that, that, that requires a lot of passion, a lot of time and a lot of effort and a lot of just, they, they could do 10 and they could just go in there and, and sell them and, and that would [00:37:00] be fine and they would get away with it.
True true. But to pour yourself into it at that level. Yeah. You know, there's a passion there. So there's, you know, that passion Agreed. A hundred percent. I, I put on the list and, and. Up spread about the beauty, you know? And, and my, uh, my uh, uh, publisher was like, are you sure when he is, that seems like very subjective.
I'm like, well, you know, certain things are just beautiful and, and color colors can be subjective. Like, you might hate the color orange, or you might like the color orange. You know that that's subjective. But if something is beautiful, um, yeah, you could be like, oh, this person likes it, this person hates it.
But usually if you did like a, if you tested a hundred people, you know it's gonna go one way or the other. Am I 80% this way? It's, or whatever, 70 percent's 30%. There's, there's, it's gonna lean one way and mm-hmm. usually a lot of that has to do with, is it a beautiful mark? You know, like the CVS eye is a beautiful mark.
That's so good. Yeah, it is. You know, you look back on some. [00:38:00] The, the IBM logo that mm-hmm. that, uh, Paul did is it's so good. It's so beautiful. It's so simple. And then, uh, originality, you know, it has to be original. You know, there's, there's so many marks. Like how many circle logos have you seen before?
Whether USA Today or like, like a ring mean, I've seen so many logos, but Target, at least like, they own it. Like they have own it. That's ours. They have a whole, they have like their whole like, legal team, like defending it, like we own
Massimo: Bullseye. You imagine you cannot use a circle in your logo.
Allan Peters: We own that.
That's them. You know, those big brands like built to like buy a Pantone color. They, I know. Yeah. Panto color. Yeah. That's hardcore. Holy, and that's, that's cool, man. Yeah. . But yeah, originality is, is is important, uh, functionality. Is it gonna be functional? Can you like it, it it to be, to let stand the test of time.
You can't have things that are pain the butt. Like I've had so many clients where, where I start working on them, they're like, Hey, we have these pain points, you know, our lo current logo is [00:39:00] harder embroider, or our current logo is a nightmare because it's, you know, five colors. And every time we print something, it's super expensive or has gradients in it or something.
There. There's all these issues that make it not functional. Yeah. You know, for, for reproducing. And so if you want it to not get replaced, then make it easy to use. Right. ? Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. Um, color, I think color plays a big part. I remember, uh, back when Lander did. , FedEx, um, the, the marketing objective was like, because they had Federal Express before mm-hmm.
Yep. Like the marketing guy was like, remember reading a, a story about this? And he's like, I wanna make sure you can see those trucks in New York City in rush hour from two blocks away mm-hmm. And identified as a FedEx truck. Yeah. That is like the brief. Yep. Right. And so they're like, okay, we need to, right now, they had to, they had had a Federal Express diagonal on the side of the truck.
Well, they want to fill that space. And so they went down to FedEx, you know. Oh. Fewer characters. A bit more rectangular. Yeah. That's brilliant. They put in that beautiful little NEDA space [00:40:00] arrow that a lot of people don't even see at first. Yeah. Yeah. But then they made the purple super saturated. Yeah. And they made the orange super saturated.
They just amped them up just a little bit, you know, and they probably charged a million bucks for, for making those changes. Yeah, right. Um, but color, you know, having something a little bit more brighter or sat. , you know, and that's not always the case. You know, sometimes you're doing a more of an earthy brand and it needs to be more earth tones.
But I think color plays a big role in whether something's gonna be timeless, cuz there are trendy colors and, uh, you know, if, if you want something to be timeless, you know, a a lot of the times when you see a rebrand where it's, uh, evolution Yeah. Where they just take the same mark and amp it up. Yep, yep.
They just, they juice the colors a little bit more. Mm-hmm. . Yep. So why not do that right away from the beginning? Um, the story, you know, is there a story behind it? You know, how many monograms have you seen where you're just like, oh, it looks like another monogram. I'll go. Nice. . Yeah. Nothing memorable about it.
Or the worst is like a single letter in a circle. I'm like, come on, dude. Too bad. [00:41:00] That's too easy. That's the logo. . There's gotta be more to it, you know, like, what's it memorable? How, how are you, what's that hook? You know, Nike, it's speed, right? It looks fast. Yeah. Uh, that cbs I, you know, it's, it's a, you're looking out, you know, feed, they're feeding you the news.
Yeah. You know, from their perspective. Right. Totally. And it's, there's a story behind those things so you can, you can remember 'em. And then, uh, the last thing is, you know, simplicity. You know, it's gotta be simple that not so simple that you lose a story. Mm-hmm. . But really simple because that's the other thing, if somebody's gonna evolve your logo or take it another step later, , that's, they're, they're gonna make it a little bit brighter and they're gonna shave a little bit off.
How do we, how do we do it in fewer moves? Do that from the beginning. Geez.
Massimo: That's brilliant actually. You know, I've never thought about that. Like, yeah. You know, don't think about what you are creating right now, but think about what somebody else would do to your logo 20
Allan Peters: years from now. Exactly. That's how could, how millions you take.
So get down with it and then look at it and be like, okay, [00:42:00] how can, if I were to evolve this and take it to the, uh, you know, one step simpler, but still have up there to tell the story, you know, how would I, how would I evolve it? Yeah. You know, so those, and that's just part of the book. You know, I go into my whole brand mark process.
How do I make brand marks? And we can talk about that in a little bit. Um, I get into, uh, how, so I like to start with figuring out the subject matter. Yeah. And then, and then I, I work for my client to come up with that. I'll call it like the brand now process. Come up with what's what. can be like, what's the story?
Mm-hmm. , you know, is it gonna be, you know, combined a star and some Ns? I, that's one of the logos in my book, you know? Yes. Is this like, you know, like a pathway and a P or a p and a D, you can look at it a couple different ways like that, right? Leading to a, a middle goal, you know, what, what are the different things?
What, what are, what are the, what's the iconography that we can use as the Legos to start building something, start building that process. And so I have a whole section in there where I break down, like all the different ways to combine [00:43:00] and bring things together, whether it's, you know, negative space, uh, overlapping and geometry, visual rhythm, uh, unexpected twist, unexpected visual, visual flow.
So I'm, I'm giving all sorts of tips. So when, when people are getting in there, I've, I've got books over here, here, , I know this has got a wall of books, , so like no offenses. This, this, whoever wrote this, this book, it says like, designing brand identity. And it goes into all this strategy and, and it is like almost like Excel sheets, like level, like.
You know, we're gonna figure this out and figure out target market and all this stuff like that. And it's like all, all the stuff that goes into writing a brief and there's great information here that said, if you try and look in here and like figure out, okay, I need to make a brand Mark , you know, how can I make an original awesome brand Mark that looks like, it's like it's gonna work?
Well, there's nothing about that in here. Course, that's what my whole book's about. My whole book is like, let's actually make some logos. This is for the designer, this isn't for the strategy person. Yeah, yeah, yeah. This [00:44:00] is for the person who's gonna be building the damn thing. Well, I think so many of the people struggle with
Massimo: like just understanding what the process is.
I think, you know, everybody's process, or not everybody, but I think so many people's process is they go online, They take a look at what's out there and they's take it and make it what's hip, what's not, and make it their own. Yeah. And you know, again, we've been doing this for way, way before this was available online.
Mm-hmm. , and we had to actually come up with processes just like the, you know, the fathers before us who did mm-hmm. , right? Yep. The process is where the value is. It's where the money is, it's what you sell and it what mm-hmm. , it's what, it's what changes a hundred dollars logo to a $10,000 logo Plus, in my opinion.
It's, it's just everything else. Just like you
Allan Peters: said. Yep. So remember earlier when I was saying like, how awesome would be if I got to write a book on just badge hunting and going, going up looking for Badgeing cross? Yeah. I have a whole section about inspiration and badge hunting in here. So it's, it's, it's, it's, it's part of the book.
That's so awesome. It's not the whole book, but that's so cool. I worked it in there,
Massimo: had a boy, [00:45:00] worked it in there. You'll get that big one. You'll get the big one. Yeah. We'll sponsor part of that. Okay.
Allan Peters: I want the big one. . Um, but then like brand extensions, you know, like, cause I love like taking a logo, taking the geometry and extending out to patterns, to icons, to flourishes, bad shapes, custom typography, illustration.
How can you take what you've learned here and then flush it out to a whole system so nobody ever says make the logo bigger. Yeah. , because the brand is embedded in the DNA of every piece of the brand identity. Yeah. So that's, I, I get into that and then I talk about brand evolutions, but I, I'm going on and on, but, um, I, running a creative shop, you know, I, I talk about my shop and how I got the inspiration for it.
Why you would do that, how it's a great creative outlet to make the type of work that you want to make more of. And then also then I, then I also do case studies and not just case studies, but like, going into like, here's the sketch phase and here's the this and here's the concepts. And like working through the whole, the whole darn thing.
[00:46:00] Nice. And showing case studies and then also showing passion projects. I mean, this book is jam packed full of, uh, information that's gonna help somebody. Like, not, not just pretty pictures. Like if, if you, if somebody actually wants to sit down and read the thing, you know, this isn't learning, this is just a fanboy book.
This isn't just something I would buy because, oh, I love his
Massimo: work. I love his work, which I would do. Okay. In all fairness. But you're actually giving some like
Allan Peters: meat, helpful
Massimo: meat advice to help people. Yeah. Yeah.
Allan Peters: That's nice. I'm trying to share, I mean, and that's what, that's what I, I always wanted to teach.
That's always kind of been in the background, like, oh man, I would love to go and teach, teach a class. But at the same time, if I, I always thought like, Hey, if I read a book, you know, I, I could teach a lot more people than a class of 20 kids, you know? Yeah, absolutely. Um, I, I think it could be a lot more impactful.
I'm ex, I'm excited about this opportunity. This is such, this
Massimo: is crazy, dude. Like, honestly, it is. It's like, and like, like we talked about, like when you're able to publish a book, it like takes you to a
Allan Peters: nude level. Yeah. It's like our parents would be like, whoa, there's
Massimo: a book about him now. He's legit. He's not, [00:47:00] all these years they had no idea what he would do for a living, but now there's a book.
Well, he has a book. That's why he's good at what he does.
Allan Peters: That's dude,
Massimo: that's amazing. That's great. And it's, and especially something,
Allan Peters: you know, like a deep dive for the designer. I think that's, that's
Massimo: really, really cool. So then with that being said, right now you, are you, because you've got a deadline of October for release, is that correct?
Was so, is it October? Yeah.
Allan Peters: Yeah, it was, but I have to have it, I have to have it done by middle of April. So I, I'm like, I'm almost finished. Oh, you are? I, but I, then there's all the refinements and, you know, fine tuning and what's,
Massimo: what's like a day of your life look like right now then? Because obviously you're still working, I'm
Allan Peters: assuming.
I have, uh, so I've got four kids. Yeah. And like I said, more , Maria, Maria homeschools, 'em and I work from home. And so it's, every day is a, is a little bit, uh, is a little bit wild, let's put it that way. Yes. Um, and, and you never know what's gonna happen. You know, like I told you guys earlier, you know, there were an iPad guy put in the washing machine today.[00:48:00]
He's like, it's crooked, you know, thing's crooked. You don't know what's gonna happen, . Um, and uh, our, our little guy, our little guy had some serious health issues at the beginning of the year. He has his super rare, uh, disease where he, um, has like malformed lymph nodes in his cheek. Mm-hmm. . And so there was, we were going to the hospital and the doctor constantly for a while that's resolved, but it was while he was going through that, there were like two or three months where I.
Keep getting up with the baby three times a night probably. Yeah. Yeah. And then trying to run a business and trying to write a book and trying to do . I was gonna say, so how do you, how do
Massimo: you balance that without losing your mind and
Allan Peters: postal? Um, the way I, I, I set it up for myself is that I, I just was like, I'm take on less projects during this time.
Mm-hmm. . Right. And I don't know if I've done that that well. I've still taken on projects. Of course that turned, I turned away probably more. There's been some good ones coming through, let's put it that way. There's some really, [00:49:00] really nice, nice tasty project where I'm like, oh, I, I gotta do that. Yeah. Yeah.
Um, but, uh, yeah, it, e e everything works out. You always get to the other side of it. Mm-hmm. , you know, I've had all of these moments in my life where I'm like, oh, I can't wait until, you know, like two months from now. That's when I'll have. Whatever my senior thesis written in college or, or whatever, whatever thing I was dreading at that point in my career.
You know, some big project that was super difficult and we're gonna have to get it all done. And you know, I I, there's always, there's always been little things where I'm like hoping and praying and waiting for this moment to be all done. I try not to stress about it as much now, now that I'm older. I think it, it comes with just being an old man.
An old Christie man. My biggest challenge and mole's, a difficult thing that I have in my life right now is being a good dad. I, I want to be the best dad I can be for my kids. Yeah. And it is, is a hard [00:50:00] job with, with, with four kids. It, it is, it is a real challenge, uh, when I'm at work and, and sitting in front of his computer making logo.
That's not the hard part of my job, Dave. That's, that's the part. I'm just like, I'm like a happy kid. I'm like, I'm like the, the, it's the 13 year old kid that's sitting in front of a Nintendo all day. That's, that's how I feel. I'm just Exactly. Yeah. Um, , it's true. It, it's, it's, it's it's perspective relaxing.
It's fun. It's, it's, it's, uh, I don't know. I just, I, I love what making great work. That's, yeah. That's what I like doing. And, um, being with the kids, you know, I, I, I love being with them in the, in the same way, but different, you know, uh, and, but it's, it's just more of a challenge. I don't know. Everybody's built for different things and they're good at different things, and.
God made it so a design came to me. Like I, I, I put in the work and everything, but he just made it so like, it wasn't a real challenge for me. Yeah. But being a dad, I don't know if it is for everybody, man. It is hard. [00:51:00] It's a hard, it is hard. shit.
Massimo: Yeah, man. Honestly, I, I, I couldn't have said it better. It's like, I feel the design comes natural.
Yeah. I do that. I enjoy it. It's easy. Even tough times in design are just like a cake walk. Mm-hmm. when it comes to anything else. But, you know, parenting my kids, you know, for a couple of years, I'm not gonna lie, I, I think I was focused a little too much on the business and growth and this and that.
Everything that, that society tells you you need to do and, and YouTube tells you, an Instagram tells you. And I think, you know, sadly, I did neglect him a little bit more than I should have. Um, I caught. Quick enough, I feel. But I saw that if I wouldn't have changed my ways, it really would've fucked things up.
Sorry. It would've, we would've fucked things up. Totally. It would've, yeah. Um, and I was able to correct that re you know, re put everything back in perspective. I didn't change my business in any which way, shape, or form. Mm-hmm. , it was just my. Outlook. Mm-hmm. , right? How I, how I approached everything and I feel I still put the same amount of hours in and everything.
It's just, it was perspective. It was just a matter of realizing, [00:52:00] you know, both were equally important, just in very different ways. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. One was, you know, self-fulfillment. One was like legacy, if you wanna put it that way. And if, if my kids see me stressing and bugging and, and you know, it was crabby all the time because, you know, if I'm not at home, I'm thinking about working this and that.
Well that's, that's what they're gonna turn into and I'm gonna raise these little assholes, , and I don't want that. Even though I know we preach about being angry designers and, and being angry about the space, but, you know, we're still fundamentally about, you know, people first, human first. Be good to, to everybody.
Be good to your fellow brother. I mean, and I can't, I can't, I couldn't live with myself if my kids turned out to be assholes because Yeah. I was too selfish on what I'm doing right now. Right. Yeah. So it was binding that balance. I hear you, brother. Yeah, I totally do
Allan Peters: on that part. Yeah. Man, it's, it's tough.
It, it, it, how do I put it? I, I, because I'm with them all the time. Mm-hmm. , you know, like, it's, it's not like I'm going anywhere. And, and the thing is, you know, [00:53:00] I'm not working at a place like Target, where I'm just hanging out with my, my buds all day. like going, like I stand up and walk from, be like, Hey man, what's up?
I looked that font you chose? Um, .
Massimo: I love Impact Sean. Good job on that. Impact. Choice buddy. Impact . You'll rip. He, I,
Allan Peters: he always, he always rips on me because I like impact dude. I like, I'm not gonna make idiot apologies for that. A meme wouldn't be a meme without
Allan Peters: Um, now, now, don't get me wrong, I don't use
Massimo: it anymore. Yes, he does. There's no, there's no point to it. We had to put in an office policy at Z Factor that no computer was allowed to have impact on it. It's locked. It's
Allan Peters: locked in safety. Yeah. I'm a sucker for hella, A lot of people hate Hella, but that's, that's probably my only one where people are, there's certain people are like, oh, you use Hellvetica, you're such a loser.[00:54:00]
Um, but I, I, I think Hellvetica is a great point. Yeah. You
Massimo: know, unfortunately you can't go wrong with hea. It's just I feel like everybody jumped on the HEA trend or not trend. Everybody jumped on it, which turned it into a trend, which now on the tail side is making everybody roll their eyes when you use it.
But that's why, you know, secretly I kind of intermix inter once in a while with Hellvetica, cuz it's so
Allan Peters: close . I can be like, I don't use Hellvetica, I use Inter check out. Um, Aon, if you haven't used that one, it's by mash, by MASH Studio. They're awesome. Oh. Uh, it, it's A E O N I K. It is a great Helvetica substitute.
Oh, all right. All right, all good. That's good's. Good to know. Yeah. It's nice to ask because, uh, Collibra, or maybe it's caliber, I'm, I'm not sure how you pronounce it. Wow, you used that one. Really? That one's pretty solid. Um, you know what I always like, I love when, um, big companies, uh, like, like Pentagram or something.
It's like, oh, we just did the rebrand and here's, and they actually [00:55:00] say whatever Sander is, and I'm always like, what are they? Yeah, this, what are they on? What are they do? , which, what's the cool new sand syrup? tell me Pentagram
Oh, dude. Or, or when people post like a, a brand manual online. I'm always like, what fonza These what fonts
Massimo: Back up. You deconstruct. Do your own. Well, and that's what, you know what, how often do I tell people, people are asking, how do I get, how do I elevate myself? How do I get to the next level? Yeah. And my first go-to is find people you like, find, work you like, and deconstruct.
And then reconstruct it. So do exactly that. Go to pentagram, see what they're launching, and break it down into pieces, and then rebuild it up or stuff. Or rebuild up your project.
Allan Peters: No, masters like Paul ran and SA Bass and all these folks, you know, even folks alive, like maybe you're into like Draplin or George Boca or, or, um, yep.
Gosh, Brent Couchman, he, he runs, uh, an awesome studio to San Francisco. Um, you could easily, like, you know, you take their work [00:56:00] and you could figure out how it's made. I think, I think the magic and, and the trick with it is, uh, to not turn into a clone of that. Interesting. You know, and students, students have a hard time with that.
They'll, they'll reproduce and like rip something off, basically completely. It won't be their idea. Um, they're just not only like looking at and studying a style that's like, they're, they, they're just reproducing it. . If you do like, like let's say you're studying something, you're figuring out how it's made, like as a student, just don't post that work.
That I think that's my advice for you. Agree. Yeah. Like do it for yourself. Yeah. Learn how they did it. Yeah. And then, then on your next project, when it's actually for a client or whatever, you know, take some of your learnings and, and apply it, you know, as inspiration. Yes. Not as, you know, emulation, right?
Yeah. So, but everything is a remix. You know, let's, I don't know if you guys ever seen that, um, there, there's a video series on YouTube called, everything's a Remix, and it's all about it. It's. Based on music. Uh, but it's like Led Zeppelin and, and, and [00:57:00] it goes, breaks down like every, all their influences and how like all these songs are like direct lifts here and there and samples and things like that.
Yep. Or the Beatles, all of these major bands that have been so influential, like they, there are, especially nowadays, you'd have a hard time, uh, getting by trademark wise. . Yeah. Geez. Yeah. They, they've made it way more difficult now. Yeah. And that, that hurts innovation in general. Mm-hmm. . But artwork is the same way, you know, with, uh, with books, uh, they call it the Great Conversation, right?
Mm-hmm. , you know, it's, it's, you know, but you look at JK Rowling and, and her books are all Harry Potter books, you know, and how much Lord of the Rings do you see in there? You know, you go back, see us Lewis, uh, you can see all sorts of influences Yeah. In her books. Yeah. I'm sorry that, that was really loud.
That was huge. Loud. I thought it was my pocket. . Uh, but it, you know, it, it, it, same thing applies to graphic design. You know, you see a lot of inspiration, [00:58:00] uh, and, and you end up seeing a, a lot of overlap when people are inspired by the same people. Yeah. You know, you can see, like, I have a unique style, but you probably see, you can see other designers that have similar styles or, and it's, it's not that we're ripping each other off.
It's that we're all like, I really like that, you know, I really like SA bass and I really like this elephant must egg. And I really like, you know, it's like all the Yeah. You have a lot of those same designers where you've, you're inspired by their work. Yeah. And because of that, uh, there is, you know, the influence, you know, it, it tends to be similar.
Massimo: Yeah. Okay. So I, I agree with what you said about, um, you know, following similar, you know, looks and fa you know, and, and when it, you can follow that with line weight and, you know, white spacing and, and font choices. Mm-hmm. , but what you do, unlike anybody I've ever seen, and you do it on a regular basis.
Okay. Is your attention. To white space. Mm-hmm. , like, I mean, you are pulling off that FedEx logo with the arrow again and again and again. Right? [00:59:00] Like, you can't copy that shit. I mean, like your logos, like, and again, I'm gonna show these on the YouTube channel, but DP North Stars, what you did with, you know, your, your passion Project USA logo, I'm guessing it was, um mm-hmm.
um, your Golden Bear
Allan Peters: Equities.
Massimo: Mm-hmm. , your Fire Craft Pizza Vet for the record got ripped off locally up in Mrs. Song. Oh. Locally serious.
Allan Peters: Somebody locally up here. Oh. So we're gonna go pay them a visit.
Massimo: Okay. We're gonna send the angry designers
Allan Peters: up there to be like, that logo has been ripped off so many times.
It's crazy. Like I, I called somebody like a, a pizza place out on the other day, but it's been, so some designer had put it on like, And I had to, I had to get that taken down. God. Well, it's been ripped off repeatedly and it just drives me crazy. That one in the GaN logo, the Eagle logo has been ripped off so many times.
Yeah. And it's like giant companies in Brazil using it. I'm like,
Massimo: wow. Okay. Well, let's first talk about that. Let's, before we get into how you get to these awesome negative space, how do you not lose your shit? . I mean, again, I, and so again, sometimes I just, my blood boils, I [01:00:00] cringe. I, I spend a day, you're trying to figure out how to reply back to somebody who
Allan Peters: disked Alan, only
Massimo: not to, and I absorb it.
I absorb it. , how do you not like
Allan Peters: go nuts on this? I think this kind of thing has been happening forever. You know, it's always happened, you know, whether you're going to like a, I don't know, a, a thrift store and seeing some, you know, knockoff shirt or whatever, or, or like in, okay, I'm trying to figure out like a flea market.
Mm-hmm. I know somebody's selling a bunch of fake coach purses or whatever it is, you know? Mm-hmm. , it's. , there's this kind of thing has happened for years. It's just more apparent now with social media and with the internet. You know, it's hard to hide it. . Yeah. It's hard to get away with it. And so as a designer, you end up seeing it more.
Um, I think when I was younger, I used to get heated about it a lot more. Yeah. And now that I'm like, it just, this happened so much. And my work gets seen by a lot of people. I've got a lot of followers, man. Not like a, like Instagram. It's like over a hundred [01:01:00] thousand people. You know? It's bound to get, like, if it's not directly ripped off, it's where you look at something, you're like, eh, it's really close to something.
Identity done. You're like, whatever. Just it's fine. . Geez. Um, how do you, I give you credit's. Fine. It's fine. I, I, is it flat? Or is that just so much a bowl? No, . I don't think it ever would be Somebody rips off your work. You're like, man, I've put so much heart into that. Like hours and, and hard work and they just put on
Allan Peters: stole it.
Yeah. Well, I do 15 brand marks that you present to a client. I don't do three, I do 15 and I do a whole bunch to get to that 15. Wow. Before it narrows to three and then they go down. I I do a lot of hard work. Oh dude. To get to that one that like distilled down golden nugget. Man. We were watching this show on the elements the other day.
Yeah. Um, because of the, you know, homeschooling. And so we're eating dinner and we're watching this awesome novice special on, on the elements and they're taking, uh, They like have these giant bull holes just full of dirt. [01:02:00] And then they, they, they're gonna make gold, you know, they're gonna get the gold out of it.
And they have to distill it down, distill it down, distill, and finally they get down to this pile, like muddy dirt. And then they take that and they distill it down. And finally they end up with like a couple of quilt bars that are worth like a million and a half a piece. And it's awesome. And it took like, you know, multiple.
Truckloads and, and I don't know how many hours and a huge, giant space that could, that could do this, but you get down to that pure essence and it, it takes a lot to get there. So yeah. When somebody just walks up and be like, oh shit. You know, I can look at my fake gold. Yeah. I made it too. Yeah. Look, I made
Massimo: classic, I just changed the color.
I know, right?
Allan Peters: Yeah. It's totally different. Hard on that man. Yeah. All
Massimo: right, fine. Good for you for being calm. But how do you come up with all these, like, you find the most amazing uses of negative space, like, you know, and not, not to mention the stuff you did with the, like, um, your, what is it, velocity Youth program or your FM lines or the, the freaking [01:03:00] bicycle.
Yes. You know, Einstein like, dude, what? Okay, let's start with a negative space. .
Allan Peters: Okay. So I'm, I make a lot of stuff. I work , I work wi, so I might not take on a lot of clients. Yeah. But I, I charge a little bit more cause I do a lot for each one. Like I said, I do it, I, I'm thinking about that Saba wall that has a hundred logos on it.
And I'm like, I gotta, I gotta step my game up. You know? That's, that's, if that's what I'm aiming for and I want to be like that dude, then I gotta be like that dude. And I gotta work my butt off and I gotta put, I gotta put the time in. And you put the time and you come up with the, the good logo and, and people talk about it, then you are able to charge more so you can do that whole process.
Right. Yeah. Um, that, because people, there's companies out there charging a million dollars for logos. I'm not, yeah, yeah. I'm not charging a million dollars for logo. Yeah. But I, I've charged 50 grand for one. Yeah. And, and, and that's, . That's not every time, believe me, I'm not Of course, of course. [01:04:00] $50,000 for a, for a logo
Yeah. But it add, you know, depending on the company and the It happens. You're
Massimo: not a $500 guy. I, yes,
Allan Peters: yes. No. Right. And, and, and it takes, if you make, it's, how do you put it? It's like walking in and, and going up to the slot machine and trying to get the jackpot, and then just sitting there for like 15 days just putting quarters in hell.
You're like, you're gonna hit it eventually. Yep. You know, you sit there for a month and a half and you just like, have like unlimited supply of coins. You're going to hit that jackpot and, and no matter how much time you put in, no matter how good you are, you gotta work hard to get something that's really good, like that bicycle poster with the stripes.
That's one of the best things I've ever made. And that was a long time ago. And you think I, I don't want to keep making logo posters as good as that every time. Of course I do. But you know, sometimes lightning strikes, right? Yeah. And that, that's, that's one of my favorite pieces. Same with negative space logos.
Yeah. It seems, you're like, man, [01:05:00] he's done like 12 negative space logos. I'm like, yeah. And I've been doing this for 20 years, man. I've been doing for 20 years. I've made thousands of logos, so many brand marks. If I'm doing 15 every time, and let's say, let's say, to get to those 15, I'm doing a hundred sketches, you know, like, so.
If I'm doing, dang, that's laughing. . . Um, I, oh no. And if somebody bought some on Squarespace, it's gonna, it's gonna like, send me like four emails. Right? Wrong. Here. Here's the paper for, here's it's, oh man, , um, .
Massimo: Here he goes again. Yeah. Don't you touch it, man.
Allan Peters: I, I don't give them any emails. Usually . Oh, you know what? I, you know
Massimo: what his, any other room sending him right
Allan Peters: now? ? No, it's, let me make Alan look like he's popular. I quit in my mail. Okay, good. It is gone for good dude's. Fun. No. Okay. Well, if somebody buys something on my printful shop it, it says like [01:06:00] somebody sent you a PayPal thing and then I get another email that.
Printful says the order came in. Yeah. Now the order, now another email. The order's been submitted. , there's submitted, now your orders in process. It's like five emails, like four things together just to say, yeah, this happened. Yeah, I could probably opt out of all of them , but I haven't. Um, that's like the one thing where I'm like, I'm like, yeah, and I sold poster and it's like, because I don't sell a ton, I don't sell a ton of print.
Sometimes I do, but, but I get excited still if I'm like, yeah, I sold the T-shirt. Yeah, totally. It gets me excited. . Okay. Uh, negative space logos. Yes. 20 years. Thousands and thousands and thousands of sketches to get to 12. Yeah. Negative space logos where I'm like, these are solid, you know, solid. I did, I did one, uh, at the beginning of the year, maybe it was the end of last year for, uh, uh, like a wine club from Texas Wine.
and it has a horseshoe with a negative space. Wine glass. Oh, that's like the last one I did. Where I'm like, that's solid. It is [01:07:00] solid. You did one Fire craft dude. Fire craft man. I, I was, uh, I had hopped on, uh, uh, one of Lin's live feeds during the pandemic. Oh, I don't know if you guys saw this, but he goes, uh, uh, lay says, she's like, she's like, Hey, Alan's in here and D drop's like, Alan, I wanna put you on right now.
I wanna talk to you. And I'm like, damn, okay, let's go, let's go. I'm like, kids downstairs, like running, running. You jumping all over you. Legos drop everything. And, and he's like, he's like, man, I was in South Dakota and I was getting some pizza from, from a, a pizza truck. See? And the logo was awesome. And
Massimo: I was like, where did you, where did you get this logo designed?
It's amazing. And they're like, oh, this guy Alan Peters. He's like, oh, I know that guy. . I know that guy. This is stupid. And he goes, Alan, Alan, you taught me something that day about local design. You should feel damn good about that. Like something
Allan Peters: like [01:08:00] that. I was like, I was like, don't care. Yeah, righting right on.
He's, oh my God, he's the man. You know? He is the band. Yeah. It's pretty funny. That was a good day and I
Massimo: think that this is the perfect spot to end the first half of a two-parter of our conversation with Alan Peters. So this was such a fantastic episode for us, and again, is meeting passionate designers who love what they do, who are good at what they do, and, and like help people along the way, like who aren't selfish, who are humble, and who just, who are just so fucking cool and human.
This is, in my opinion, the epitome of what an amazing designer is. Cuz again, it's, it's, it's not about the designer, it's about, it's about everybody else. And I think half of these people forget this. They lose sight of this. Alan Peters is somebody who in, in, in my opinion, you know, absolutely. Everything of what a designer should be.
So please, if you haven't already, [01:09:00] go to Amazon, check out his book Logos That Last again, it's on pre-order. It's gonna be launched in October. And you know what, again, it is not a vanity book. It's not a book. All about his logos and his work and how cool he is. I mean, he's. Giving you all this information in here.
He's giving you his whole logo, his whole brand process. And I mean, that alone is worth thousands, if not tens of thousands. I thought I had a solid process and in talking to him and hearing him go through this and talking to him, you know, off mic, uh, there's so much that now I'm gonna try. So, you know what, again, this is more than Divinity book.
It's a whole lesson. And I mean, it's on a pre-order. So support, you know, awesome designers like this. And of course if you haven't already, check out his Instagram. So it's Instagram slash Alan Peters. And that's a l l a n p e t e r s. I kind of made the mistake of going e n I kind of felt like a dolt cuz
Allan Peters: I sent him something and he is like, ah, dude, like you
Massimo: misspelled my name.
And I'm like, I knew that. I [01:10:00] knew that, I knew that. But you know, you get something in your head and just you, you, you just can't shake this. So, um, you. Please come back for next week for part two. Um, again, it's an amazing second half if it's possible at all. It might even be better than this half. I mean, we've got more talk about life, more talk about design.
Of course, we've got our infamous two minute lightning round where I think we're gonna have some really good laughs on in here. And, um, and don't forget, this episode is also available on YouTube, if you're not watching it on YouTube, so you can actually get a glimpse of some of the logos, what the book looks like, and again, just what the character looks like.
He's so animated,
Allan Peters: he's so cool, he's so
Massimo: down to earth. Um, hit us up on Instagram, guys. Hit me up. Say hi. Leave us a alone. Please comment. I've tried to get back to everybody and if I don't, please forgive me. And I think that's it. I mean, I'm sure I could go on for a lot more, but you guys have already heard enough.
So, on behalf of Sean Allen and myself, stay creative and stay angry. Peace.