Brandon Groce

A dear friend of mine asked me to include a creative on Revision Path that could speak to building a personal brand online, and my mind went immediately to UI/UX designer Brandon Groce. I first encountered Brandon a year ago hosting an AIGA DC design event, and was impressed by his work creating content for design brands including Disney, Hilton, and LG. Did I mention he’s also an Adobe Partner?

Our conversation started off with an update on what Brandon’s been doing over the past year, and he talked about his current and upcoming projects, including the DesignOff Tournament. We also talked about building confidence, showcasing your work, and…the metaverse? (You’ll have to listen to the end to find out!) Kudos to Brandon for being a great designer and for helping elevate the next generation of designers through his events!

Transcript

Full Transcript

Maurice Cherry:
Alright, so tell us who you are and what you do.

Brandon Groce:
Howdy-doody, Maurice. My name is Brandon Groce, yes, gross as in nasty, not spelt that way, but I am a designer and Adobe partner, and kind of can be summed up in terms of what I do, not necessarily what I am, but I create content for design brands and I throw on some highly edu-taining design events.

Maurice Cherry:
Nice. How’s the year been going for you so far?

Brandon Groce:
I’m not going to lie, I love being able to be in my house and not have any outdoor obligations, my friend. My partner asked me, he’s like, “Why don’t you like to go outside?” And I looked back to my childhood and I was like, “I think I was always in a corner with the computer, in two sheets to cover my whereabouts.” [inaudible 00:03:49] focus either playing games or learning things on the internet. Honestly, my year has been good. I absolutely love learning. It’s not the same for everybody else. Everybody has a different situation, but I’ve been very lucky to have healthy family members and be in this situation that I’m in. So it’s been good.

Maurice Cherry:
Good. What lessons did you learn over the past year? How do you think you’ve grown and improved?

Brandon Groce:
I’m a very anxious person. My parents are like Brandon, you need to wear that pro, I don’t even know Prozac is the thing, but I don’t think stress or anxiety is a negative thing. I really think it is a beautiful thing, or at least in my case, because it tells me it is literally a biological indicator of like that is just going to fuck up your day. So please fix that.

Brandon Groce:
So this year, I have learned how to effectively … or it’s going to get better as I get older, how to learn what I need to quickly to put out a fire or build a raft, or learn whatever I need to, to either avoid or somehow redirect whatever catastrophe is coming my way, specifically when it comes to my business. I’ve only been in business for two … I can’t even say two. Yes, I’m still saying one. I’ve had an audience for a while, but it’s only been, I think, a year, last month, where I’ve ventured on my own and trying to figure out with the relationships and things that I’ve had, how to kind of go from what we’re, not even taught, but how we’re built to think like employees. And I’m not saying that in the derogatory sense, but there’s certain brain patterns that I had that didn’t help me scale what I was trying to build. And I feel like I’ve finally broke some of those thought patterns, which have really helped me figure out, in addition, tiring business coach, which was part of the growth, but learning how to not be in the business, but work on the business.

Brandon Groce:
I mean, there’s a whole bunch of learning lessons, but essentially, me being able to, in a year where everybody was inside and where everything was becoming digital, or a lot of money was being allocated to digital events, digital this, digital that, AR/VR, being able to see a whole change in the market, in addition to finally, with the market change, seeing where I fit into it, as well as how to scale my business in that market change. Those are like the three things that have been highly, I guess, learning lessons when I’m continuing to learn and just been beautiful things in the past year.

Maurice Cherry:
Yes. And I have to say, it’s good that you’re learning that in your first year of business. There’s a lot of businesses that don’t get that until maybe year two or three after they’ve gone it alone and figured out that’s not the best way to do it. I like that part you said about being in the business, but not really working on the business. So it’s good that-

Brandon Groce:
Which is still hard because I have to be on camera [inaudible 00:07:06]

Maurice Cherry:
Well, I mean, but hey, that’s your business, though, right? That’s Groce media. What’s a typical day like for you?

Brandon Groce:
I can tell you what I would like to have my typical day be. It’s only in bouts of stress like this last week where I just throw it all away. Typically, I wake up at 6:00. I’m very structured, man. I get thrown off if you ask me to do anything outside of my routine in the morning. I don’t care if I wake up at … like today, I woke up at 9:00. I must get on my little cycle, must be either 15 minutes or three miles. I listen to audio books, while I’m on the cycle. I must take a shower after that, make my coffee, and then I make a list for what needs to get done that day, and then I sit in my chair for … I honestly don’t like to. If I can get all my work done before like 1:00PM because I know as soon as I eat, I’m tired. So I try to get … And this is why I went on a break last week and I’m trying to get my schedule back together, because I had a really challenging three-week, almost a month sprint where I work through the weekends, I typically don’t do that.

Brandon Groce:
Yes, from 6:00-7:00, 7:00 to about 1:00, I’ll probably … that’s my work. That’s where all my everything that must be done is done within that time. And then the rest of the day is just, what other things need to be planned, for example, one of the things I need to focus on is creating SLPs for whoever I decide needs to fill these positions that we were kind of talking about earlier. But yes, I mean, morning and till 1:00PM is kind of pretty structured after that. It just depends on what I want to do or what extra, like what would I have to be doing tomorrow that I can do today, but I am pretty regimented and I try to keep in mind that I know my brain is only probably optimal for like four or five hours of really good like no distraction related work. After that, I’m like … The bunnies and the Chipmunks they’re running around my brain at that point. No way. I’m not sure that answers your question. But that’s literally my typical day and Saturdays and Sundays in working is different, is typically strategizing in reading on Saturdays and Sundays. It’s not sitting at a computer. I don’t necessarily consider it work.

Maurice Cherry:
I mean, but you’ve got that structure down, which I think probably helps out from day-to-day to make sure that you stay on task.

Brandon Groce:
That’s one thing that I know I’m really good at, is habits usually. And my dad is this way too. I got it from him. And people always yell at us, they’re like, there’s like an hour in the beginning of our days that you just can’t disrupt or we even have … There’s literally a calendar. Actually, I’m going to bring my dad into this. But he has a phrase like, “I don’t eat cake on Tuesdays.” And we’re like, “Why specifically Tuesdays?” But there’s a reason and he sticks to it. I’m the same way.

Maurice Cherry:
Look, we all got to have our rules. We got to have our structure that gets us through things, I think especially since this past year, people have just had to discover and develop their own kinds of habits to get through. So it’s not a bad thing, I don’t think. What are some projects that you’re working on now?

Brandon Groce:
So with everything going digital man, do you know what virtual production is?

Maurice Cherry:
Virtual production?

Brandon Groce:
Yes.

Maurice Cherry:
Where it is?

Brandon Groce:
What it is.

Maurice Cherry:
Oh, I know what it is. Yes.

Brandon Groce:
All right. Have you seen these people on the internet with mocap suits? You’ve seen these … and they’ve been around for a while, but they’re starting to pop up a little bit more. For example, you have AiAngel, CodeMiko, you have these virtual influencers, right?

Maurice Cherry:
Yes, yes. I’ve seen those.

Brandon Groce:
All right. So I have been studying how to do … I have a beta version of this stuff made. So I have a car, I have a city. You’ve probably seen it in my live streams, but I’m just getting my character made. I hired somebody to make my character and we’re going to start building in the metaverse. With the tournament that we were talking about a little bit earlier, designoff.live. It’s basically, think esports, but for design, and I really want that event to be almost like a virtual music concert/tournament. Do you play games Maurice?

Maurice Cherry:
I do.

Brandon Groce:
What games do you play?

Maurice Cherry:
Well, I’ve got a switch. So I’m not going to lie. I’m mostly playing Animal Crossing these days because-

Brandon Groce:
Oh, my God.

Maurice Cherry:
… it’s just a destresser. Wait a minute, you didn’t let me finish. You didn’t let me finish. I mean, I’m mostly playing that. I do have a PS4 and I’m between playing Fuser and Persona 5 Royal. So it varies.

Brandon Groce:
Persona 5 brought me back. You reeled me back in. Do you watch Twitch at all? Do you watch any gamers?

Maurice Cherry:
I’ve seen some gamers on Twitch. I’ve watched a few on YouTube also. I know I’ve watched some people do live streams on YouTube. I’ve seen some gaming live streams on Twitches as well.

Brandon Groce:
Got you. I think what’s really missing right now, and it’s also very challenging at the moment with, everybody’s on zoom calls, everybody’s watching live streams of some sort. The thing is, is that, and this has always been the problem even with webinars, it’s people on stage talking to audience and audience are just chatting. And yes, you can hit the clap button or the heart button or whatever, but I’ve been watching this one individual, her name is CodeMiko and she does the best. Her avatar and maybe the world that she has isn’t necessarily to my aesthetic liking, but the fact that she’s able to allow the audience … she’s a developer by trade, and so the audience can input commands or purchase certain things to mess up, or make things happen to her. Either mess up the environment or make things blow up, make her dance, mute her while she’s streaming. She’s basically gamified her live stream experience.

Brandon Groce:
And so you’re a gamer … imagine if you’re watching a live stream of one of your favorite brands, or maybe even one of your friends and you just want to mess with them. And you just drop $1 or $5 and maybe even just type this code and something funny happens on stream. It’s no longer a one-way street, it’s a two-way street. And there’s so many levels of complexity that you can make this, I mean, I really don’t even think the larger brands are even doing this right. We’re still at the point where we’re looking at these large organizations with millions, billions of dollars, and they’re still doing the side by side conferences, you know what I mean?

Maurice Cherry:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Brandon Groce:
With almost like zoom calls. So really what I’m looking at is how do we bring that sort of CodeMiko entertainment into design, through Design Off as a tournament, almost like, think about it as WWE is like the entertainment version of wrestling, this stuff is not saying what we’re doing on stage is fake, but it’s so dramatized, people get hype about it, and it’s entertaining, bringing that side of things over to the design world. And it also be somewhat of a learning experience as well. So the number one thing that I’m working on, is designoff.live and other design education related events. And now I’m so far down the line. I don’t remember your questions.

Maurice Cherry:
No, that was it? I mean, I was going to talk about DesignOff and you sort of mentioned what it is and everything, but I was asking, what projects are you working on? I’m really intrigued by this virtual production, so you’re going to have like a virtual avatar that represents you. It’s you, but it’s not you. Sort of like a VTuber, I guess, right?

Brandon Groce:
A VTuber essentially except it’s going to be … I wish there was like a video podcast, can you bring it up? Think VTuber, but not. VTuber is kind of like it’s the concept of what I’m talking about, but it’s niched into almost like the anime sort of sect, whereas kind of what I’m talking about. Think about, you’ve played Assassin’s Creed, right?

Maurice Cherry:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Brandon Groce:
Or any type of dope 3D video game. Essentially, things have gotten so cheap, Maurice, I have a mocap suit. We’re about to dive in. My mocap suit was only 2500. I can put on this suit and I can download any character I want from a video game, from whatever, and I can become that. It cost 2500 for that suit, the character is probably between $25 and $100. And as I put on the suit, I become that. And even the scenes are like $25. So the ability to create almost triple A level quality game. And the thing is, is like games, right? You can create your own game, except what I want to do with it, is make it more so an entertainment platform, and also a tournament. So rather than making a game, we’re doing something a little bit different. We’re pulling a couple things together. But yes, essentially VTuber, however, it’s more so taking the thought of making a real triple A game, whether that be the latest Assassin’s Creed or some other high graphic game, basically utilizing Unreal Engine in its capabilities.

Maurice Cherry:
I’m very intrigued by that. I really want to see how that will come forth in the future, especially with people have virtual reality headsets and stuff like that, like how all of this will kind of work together because I do see things going certainly more into this, I hate to say the virtual world because I’m sounding like I’m a kid in the ’90s. Remember when the virtual world was like a thing in cartoons and television series? We’re going to the virtual world. That’s sort of what this feels like, but it’s actualized. You can do it. It’s in the realm now that any consumer can probably get into, it sounds like.

Brandon Groce:
Yes, man. The costs are really low. Things are going to be crazy man. At the end of this podcast, people are going to be like Brandon has his screws loose, someone get him a Home Depot set, used to call it, but yes. The way that I see things going, you were saying the virtual world, I’m making numbers up, but I really do think that there will be people that live in the virtual world. Have you seen on Netflix the Altered Carbon?

Maurice Cherry:
I’ve heard of it. I haven’t seen it.

Brandon Groce:
I’m not going to go too much into it because I’m horrible at explaining. Everybody’s going to be like, that sounds horrible. But it is a really good series guys. You should check it out. But there’s people they call the real world the real. And those are the people that live like in virtual reality by choice and these people that live in the real world. I really do think that that will be a choice. You’re not even a half life of your 100 years. So I really do think in the next 20, maybe 30, you have crypto coming up the ability for people to maybe not even have regular jobs, just play games for the … not even like streaming, just be able to play Pokemon Go for their income. We’re going into a lot of things, but I’m just very excited about the virtual world because like I said, in this, I guess, industry what people will call the world builder, it’s kind of the metaverse is what it’s called. And people who create within the metaverse are people that create games, but I think video games is going to be one of the ways that we enjoy life in the future, which is interesting and weird to talk about.

Maurice Cherry:
Wow, the metaverse. That sounds like another ’90s cartoon. I’m not saying that to be derisive or anything, but it sounds really cool. Don’t get me wrong. That stokes the inner child in me to be like, “Oh, what is this about?” Even as you mentioned Altered Carbon and kind of, I guess, notion of being able to sort of have yourself inside of the metaverse. I don’t know, it reminds me of this anime, and you’ve probably seen it called Serial Experiments Lain.

Brandon Groce:
Serial … No, but I’m writing it down.

Maurice Cherry:
I don’t know if it’s streaming on anything, and I know if Cat Small is listening, this will make I think the second time I’ve mentioned it on the show. I don’t know if it’s available to stream, but it’s a 13-episode series about this girl named Lame and how she gets sucked into this online internet world. I think if you like Altered Carbon, you would like that show.

Brandon Groce:
Yes.

Maurice Cherry:
Yes. So to bring it back to the real world for a minute, I can’t help but notice, of course, in your photo that people can see you for the cover art that you’re holding this neon, Adobe XD logo cue, which Adobe XD appears to be your kind of main tool of choice. Talk to me about that. How did you land on Adobe XD?

Brandon Groce:
And it’s not just the Adobe XD that’s part of it, but it’s more so about the Adobe brand in particular. I’ll explain that. So Adobe XD just because … and I can’t just say just because, because my main skill or my main trade is UI/UX design and being able to … there’s a couple of reasons, right? Have a company that offers not just the … it offers the suite of not just what I have done that produced my income, as a UI/UX designer, XD, but they also have Photoshop, Illustrator, they also have After Effects, Premiere, they have everything at really one cost. And so the larger picture I see is, I have to be careful what I say here, because it’s not necessarily true. We’re moving in a space where AR and VR is going to be what UI/UX designers are as of right now.

Brandon Groce:
When COVID came through and everything started to become remote, I saw a huge uptick in the need for UI/UX designers. Why? Because everybody’s at home. And the companies who have these streaming platforms and who have digital experiences, their revenue is skyrocketing because everybody’s on their some sort of screen. And the next version of that is yes, we have screens now, but you have companies like Snapchat, even though their glasses technology looks a little bit funky at the moment. Did you see that release this week?

Maurice Cherry:
Of the new like specs?

Brandon Groce:
Specs. Yes.

Maurice Cherry:
Yes.

Brandon Groce:
Yes. So it looks a little funky, but that is version 0.01, that’s essentially a beta version of what I think the iPhone was when it first came out. It doesn’t look sexy, but the idea is there. Being able to wear a set of spectacles where your friend could decide, hey, I want to wear this pirate hat and I’m going to press this, anytime anybody has a certain type of technical optic and looks at me, they’re going to see my digital outfit. So that’s also the metaverse. So you could decide on your app or whatever, or you. You can be like, I want to wear X, Y, and Z. You put that in your phone and if I’m looking at you with these spectacles, I can see everything that you decided to wear in the digital space, while also in the real world. I just find that being a lot more attractive to me, just because the sky’s the limit on what you can do, you’re no longer limited to 1920 by 1080, you’re not limited to what are the 320 by whatever 568, someone’s going to be like, hey was the pixel off, right in the comments, guys.

Brandon Groce:
But yes, I think that’s the next step because the sky’s the limit, the only thing that you’re really limited by is the hardware, but for screen experience, when we can just create experiences on the things that we look at, man, that’s crazy.

Maurice Cherry:
Yes. And so tools like Adobe XD, or even like the Creative Suite really kind of play into that more.

Brandon Groce:
Yes, because you are able to use like … This is the thing. When you have things like, whether it be Figma, Sketch, whatever else is out there, you have specific tools for specific things. But when the market starts to become more complex, and you need to be able to adapt, what is their lifespan looking like? And I’m just like, that’s great. They’re a specialty tool. That has some market share. In the larger scheme of things where I think things are going, and also what I’m interested in, which is also a large factor, this is probably where my biases, because there’s still going to be screen experiences needed. There’s still people trying to get their mobile out here and their million dollar companies out here, trying to get their mobile app out.

Brandon Groce:
So yes. I just like to be on the cutting edge of things and being a part of technologies that allow flexibility and also the integration of where things are moving. So you have Adobe dimension is a 3D tool that allows designers, is also by Adobe, without really any 3D knowledge knowing how to make stuff you just need to know how to download models, change the color them and then use your brain to rearrange them in the way that you think looks best, export that, drop that in, whether that be Photoshop XD, it just makes … Adobe’s tagline really does hold up or it’s just like creative for all. They reduce the barrier to entry and reduce the complexity of what it takes to create something.

Maurice Cherry:
I know for a while in the design industry, there was this big, I don’t know, I felt like there was this big push away from Adobe tools. I feel like it was right around the time Adobe Creative Cloud became a thing with their subscription. And lot of designers I know really pushed away from it trying to find some alternative, and they doubled down on Sketch, which is still Mac-only, or they used Figma, or they’re using other tools like that. But I mean, the way that Adobe has been innovating over the past few years since they’ve started Creative Cloud, probably because a lot of subscription money, I’m not going to lie, but the way that they have innovated over the past three years has been nothing short of remarkable. And, I mean, I hate to say there’s not really any other tools out there that can touch what Adobe is doing. This is not an Adobe sponsorship, by the way, although if you all are interested, let me know.

Maurice Cherry:
I’m just saying this because personally, I cut my teeth on Adobe. I learned Photoshop and Illustrator on my own. I just did an interview earlier today where I was talking about how I didn’t start out in design, I started out doing customer service stuff after I graduated from college. And I would go to Barnes and Noble and pick up .Net magazines, and those like UK computer magazines that would always come with a CD or something, or those Photoshop tips and tricks books. I go to Barnes and Noble, get those, look through them, take pictures, take them back home, I used my pirated copy of Photoshop to try to get my design chops up and stuff. Of course, now that I’m in a position where I can pay for it, I do pay for it. But I say that to say in terms of the amount of innovation.

Maurice Cherry:
I mean, Photoshop is a verb for a reason. I mean, nobody’s out here saying they’re going to Figma their photos.

Brandon Groce:
No, I don’t even think you can Figma a photo, sadly.

Maurice Cherry:
Look, where I work at now, I asked them for an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription because I wanted to work on some design stuff. And they were like, “But, we have Figma”, and I’m like, “No, that’s okay. That’s all right. That’s fine.”

Brandon Groce:
I think there’s no right or wrong. I think there’s just certain … like I said, there’s a market for a reason, right?

Maurice Cherry:
Yes.

Brandon Groce:
There’s particular individuals that there needs really line up with Figma. They were free. They had all this stuff for free. You know what I mean?

Maurice Cherry:
Yes.

Brandon Groce:
What they had was, for a lot of people, they’re like, why not? But like you said, when you find yourself in a position, and you’re like, I have the resources now to allocate to a tool that allows me to do more of my best work. That’s kind of the mindset that, when you have that mindset, you have the resources to actually put it towards something that makes you do your best work. For me, that just happens to be Adobe, because the type of work that I do requires a lot of cross threading.

Maurice Cherry:
That’s fair. Yes. And I mean, also with these Adobe tools, I mean, they’ve been industry standard for a reason. Every design job I’ve had, I’ve still had to use Dreamweaver or Photoshop or something. But I can see why these other types of tools have become more popular, because they have been brought up as the industry changes. There’s been a huge influx of UX/UI designers and product designers in the past, like seven years or so. And so there has to be tools then that can kind of work with that. I know, for a while, people are trying to use maybe Photoshop or Illustrator to do that, but needed something that was maybe a bit more, I don’t know, exact, I guess, because Illustrators are for vectors, Photoshop is for photo manipulation, and if you’re trying to do something that’s more product-based, you’d need a tool that, I guess, would allow you to simulate some of those things, which of course, is why Adobe XD comes along, but then also why you have a Sketch and a Figma, or something like that.

Maurice Cherry:
The tools match what the industry is doing at the moment, so I can see that. Yes. Kind of switch gears here a little bit, I know you are located in Maryland, is that where you’re originally from?

Brandon Groce:
I think so. Guys, for those of you guys who are listening, Maurice asked me before the podcast, he’s like, “Brandon, where are you currently residing?” I was like, “First off reside is a too big word to even use in a sentence with me.” And then I was like, “I don’t even know my street address barely.” But yes, Maryland is I think where I’ve always been. I have been to Texas though. I’d lived there for a little bit. And I love the heat over there, man. Love that it doesn’t get cold. But yes, I’ve been in Maryland for the majority of my life span of 27 years.

Maurice Cherry:
Okay. What was it like?

Brandon Groce:
And this is also what is interesting because people ask me about life and I talk about the internet. I really didn’t go outside much.

Maurice Cherry:
So growing up you were the kid that was like always in the house on the computer.

Brandon Groce:
Oh, yes. Yes. Even if you look at my Facebook profile pictures and you look at the … There was one day where I was looking at some of my high school friends and their pictures versus mine. I was like, oh, hang out with people. And so the majority of my childhood was wrestling in Brazilian jujitsu, because I was a very active, like I said, I can’t really sit in the chair, I had a lot of energy. So the majority of my childhood starting at eight, up until whenever college started after high school was Brazilian jujitsu, and just teaching and training both kids and adults. I have a brown belt Brazilian jujitsu. I stopped after I moved to Texas and trained a little bit here and there on and off. Business is a lot like jujitsu, except you don’t get physical ailments from it. Unless, right now I have a pinched nerve for sitting in my chair, so I’m really lying.

Maurice Cherry:
So you’re like street fighter, basically.

Brandon Groce:
I mean, you can say that, but I’m definitely the first one to run. If you were with me, I have … Maurice, let me tell you this real quick. Back to my anxiety and paranoia. I’m not sure if it runs in my family, but I am the first one. We’re about to go to the storm, it’s an actual phrase. Let me grab my pepper spray. I don’t know what it is. I was talking to somebody about this the other day. I like to be overly prepared, because I don’t know what’s going to go down. And I’m not saying I live in a bad area, and I think that’s also from jujitsu to where is a mindset kind of came where it’s the paranoid survive. And that’s kind of how I operate. Some people think that’s very, a chaotic way to live, but for me, it’s like hey, that’s the way that I operate. I try to be always overly prepared. You never know what’s going to happen and you try your best to optimize what based on the situations that you’re in, which is also probably why I don’t leave the house a lot. There’s a lot of stimuli out. I can control everything that’s artificial, which is in the computer. [crosstalk 00:32:40].

Maurice Cherry:
Okay. But, I mean, even like, still to that point, I guess you were still, I’m assuming, exposed to a lot of design and tech growing up perhaps.

Brandon Groce:
A lot of art, or a lot of books. A lot of books, a lot of puzzles. Yes, that’s all I did, man. Man, I was a hustler. I would resell things that I found at school back to kids, I would sell like art lessons in elementary school and make money so that I really use this money to, or the quarters my parents left in the couch, to purchase puzzles that I would put together, or my grandmother would always buy me these things called Zoids. Do you remember those?

Maurice Cherry:
Zoids?

Brandon Groce:
They’re essentially like Gundams, but they’re like cats, or different animals.

Maurice Cherry:
Hadn’t heard of those.

Brandon Groce:
I don’t remember what year they were, but they were like my thing. I would put them together without the instructions. And these things were like hundreds of pieces. And I would just figure it out. And honestly, my main superpower that I think is like, I’m just like, oh, that was the wrong hole, we got to figure the other hole out. I’m very good at putting things together. And that’s why I always loved art and expressing things, but I also loved creating something that worked, which is why I really struggled at the end of high school and even moving into college where it was just, what is technology plus art? And I didn’t have an internet, around the time I was 18, I was like, oh, we’re just going to be a tattoo artists somehow without getting any tattoos. That wasn’t going to fly because who’s going to hire a tattoo artist without any tattoos? I know I wouldn’t.

Maurice Cherry:
You got to start somewhere.

Brandon Groce:
Well, this is true. But I just was not … I was like, I know I mess up paper. So if somebody comes to me and was like, can I have an owl, and I just mess up one feather and somebody is not going to be happy. So like I said, I really like control and something that you can constantly tinker with. I dabbled in internships at NIH with medical illustration. I thought that was really weird. This is when I learned I really didn’t like work because, and it was probably around 18, 19 at the time. And I would go there and I would want to learn so much, because these people would show me interesting things and I would spend time trying to learn how to do it. And then they would go out on three hour lunch breaks and I would always go in and ask the question, they’re kicked back in their chair, and I’m like, what’s going on? Nobody does any work here. And I’m not saying this is what the general workforce does, but I was just very turned off by the lack of … and it wasn’t even that the other interns were like that as well, I was very turned off in that environment, that the fact that there are so many interesting things around us and nobody’s asking any questions.

Brandon Groce:
Yes, so I’m a tinkerer man. Even though I call myself a designer, I’m probably more so an inventor mindset than anything else. I really like to learn how things work, we will be in Giant man. And I’ll be like, I wonder how they package those raisins. I ask questions all the time and I really like to find how certain things are made, especially when things are in alignment with what I do.

Maurice Cherry:
I’m going to jump ahead a little bit here, because I feel like just based on what you’re telling me, I really get the sense that you’ve had to work a lot to build up your confidence in order to really, one, I think showcase work that you can do and of course, to partner with Adobe and other companies and such like that. How do you build that confidence? What advice would you give out there to somebody that’s listening that wants to build up that confidence to be like you?

Brandon Groce:
Well, I wouldn’t say try to be like me. Let’s pause right there. But I think I have a pretty good … I didn’t have this story when we first talked about this in the beginning of the podcast, but it’s one thing that I hold indefinitely in my head that changed things for me. So in school, school was very hard for me. The way that I was, and that I talked about NIH, was not who I was in early school at all. To be honest with everybody, I don’t even know how I passed elementary school, middle school, or any. I never did any work. I have no idea. They wanted me out of the classrooms. But I never paid attention in class and mainly because I struggled with the way … now thinking back, it’s a little bit clear, I didn’t understand the instructions that whomever was giving me and how to do certain things. And I was like, why is it this way and not this way? And because I didn’t understand the way that they were telling me, a lot of the times, I was basically the laughingstock. There was so many times where if I even just dare raise my hand in class, the class will just blow up in laughter, and that really hurt a lot.

Brandon Groce:
And so a lot of elementary school and in middle school, I just thought … we were talking a little bit earlier where the kids in the special help class programs. That was me. I think I started reading out loud, even in high school, man. Honestly, that mess sucked. But what really changed was, I would probably always get … I’m not even sure you can get D’s in elementary school.

Maurice Cherry:
You can.

Brandon Groce:
I probably got them. Yes. And I just remember my mom telling me, as supportive as she could, she was like, you’re different. You have ADHD. Just please try to pass. And I remember like, yes, it’s not just one time, but just looking at myself in the mirror, not understanding why didn’t get things. Thinking back about it, don’t make me feel good. But there was just one day where I was just like, for whatever reason, I just decided on the dumbest thing ever to Maurice. It was a spelling test. So I was like, I’m going to just try and spell probably like because and I spell it because. I don’t remember what it was, but I decided to stay up really late and just study 10 words probably what it was. And I got an A. I remember running home from the bus with the paper in hand to tell my mom. Damn, I can’t even tell this story. Shit hurts.

Maurice Cherry:
Oh, I didn’t mean to-

Brandon Groce:
No, you’re good because it’s a really good story, man. And then I opened the door and I said, “Mom, I got an A.” And she hugged me and I remember I went upstairs after that and I was so pissed, Maurice, that I listened, for I don’t know how many years, to people telling me that I was slow. Regardless of the tears dropping, it was like in that moment that I realized that I had let people tell me things about me that I accepted. I got so pissed in that moment. I was like, I will never, ever, ever allow somebody to tell me what I can and cannot do. And I probably threw a castle around in my building or in my room, something like that.

Brandon Groce:
But yes, it was a spelling test. Yes, it was something minimal. But it was like that big lesson that how, me, other people, what stories that we hold in our heads and that we apply to ourselves, and that weigh us down in terms of what we actually think is possible. And I’m not religious or anything. I found recently in the Bible, Exodus 3:14. And don’t forget who asks, but they essentially ask God, what his name is, what he’s called, and he says, I am.

Brandon Groce:
I was thinking about this school period or this anger, or whatever this experience that I had that made me feel less than, and I was like, why? Why would he say I am? And I was like, he’s probably so woke, that he understands and doesn’t even give the ability to somebody else to even label whatever he is. He just is, or whatever it is. And I was like, wow. Regardless of who said that shit, that’s some powerful stuff. I am. That’s something that really sticks with me because I live … this is a little bit going into talking about the imposter thing. I just understand that I’m an entity that becomes whatever I decide I would like to become. I come with a biological technology that allows me to pick up and put down whatever it is that I desire within my capabilities of operation.

Brandon Groce:
So long story, how can somebody become more so of themselves rather than like me? It takes time. I happened to find it studying 10 fucking words for a spelling bee and realizing that I was holding people’s stories of me and I never crafted my own. So every day, I hold myself accountable to what story, what I like to tell the world about me. That’s what’s highly important. And I changed from day-to-day.

Maurice Cherry:
Wow, that’s really powerful.

Brandon Groce:
I hope so. I hope it was worth the tears. It dropped in my tea.

Maurice Cherry:
No.

Brandon Groce:
I can’t drink that any longer.

Maurice Cherry:
I want to keep on that same vein, not trying to make you continue to cry, but-

Brandon Groce:
Two tears, we’re done. [inaudible 00:42:45]

Maurice Cherry:
As you have said, you’ve managed to kind of instill this confidence now within yourself where you don’t take in other people’s thoughts or stories about who you are. And to that end, you have this very unique personal brand, which you’ve taken time to craft, like I said, I’ve watched your videos, I’ve seen your photos, looked at your Instagram, etc. How can someone out there listening start to create their own personal brand? Is it more of the same process that you talked about?

Brandon Groce:
Yes, it’s really getting in tune with what it is that you produce and that you want to produce. I think it’s really important we produce things on autopilot. Like you by yourself, or me by myself, I’m more likely than not, I’m probably talking to myself, regardless of where I am, which probably makes what I do very natural. And that’s why the acting thing probably seems natural, because I do … Man, I talk to myself in the shower. My partner’s like, “Who the hell are you talking to?” And I’m like talking to Sarah, Jamil, and I’m like, “They’re in my head. They’re talking.” We have yet to be tested for schizophrenia, but there’s probably a little dose of that in there.

Brandon Groce:
But I think it’s really important to know what you enjoy and what you do naturally, that is, the way you don’t have to try too hard, but understand where your natural abilities and occurrences lie. It’s not just that because you have to also understand what people enjoy about that. But you have to find what people like and value. For example, you could be funny to yourself, but are you funny to other people? So for example, when I was young as in high school, I was picked on a lot. And it wasn’t until I started saying the dumb shit that was in my head right back at the person where other people started dying, laughing about what I said. I was like, “Oh, that’s funny.” And so this is when I started … when I realized I was like, “Oh, I do this naturally. Are there other people that are funny that I can study that could help me enhance what I do naturally?”

Brandon Groce:
So I’ve watched so much Katt Williams, man. I watch a lot of comedy to help me enhance what I’m naturally capable of and find people other … but I sound crazy, but I was about to say other avatars, other people who are built with almost somewhat of the same things that I see in me and just take what they’re doing and try to evolve my skill set from what they’re doing. I try to find who I would be in the future based on what I know about myself, and what I see in them and try to take what they have already done and apply it to what I’m doing today. I study … yes, I said Katt Williams, but I try to read as much as possible bibliographies because there’s frameworks, these people who have lived like hundreds, thousands, I don’t know how long the earth has been here. But there has been a repetition of your DNA and capabilities somewhere in the universe. Imagine if you were able to find throughout a couple of books, who you want to be or who you think you’ll be sprinkled throughout books, and just in a couple paragraphs, you can take those learnings and apply them to the frameworks that you walk about life with. The reason I read is to build the character that I’d like to see.

Brandon Groce:
I think of myself as a computer, essentially. I download software through books, or through watching people, or through whatever type of input, but it’s really important that I understand who I would like to become and find frameworks through multiple ways to craft said character. And I know that with the words that I’m using, some people will be like, that doesn’t sound good. This goes back to that first story, I told, would you rather be told who you are, or create who you want to become, or who you are, rather? And that’s just how I go about building my character?

Maurice Cherry:
What do you appreciate the most about your life right now?

Brandon Groce:
Honestly, probably my time with my partner and the freedom, that’s first. And then the freedom to just think about what I want to put out into the world and have time to do that and have a community and people around me who also are trying to strive for the same things and working together and building that idea. So my relationships, my free time, and my ability to, with that free time, think about what I want to put into the world and produce and what impact that has.

Maurice Cherry:
Speaking of that, what kind of legacy do you want to leave behind? When you look at yourself, say in the next five years or so, what’s the sort of work that you want to be doing?

Brandon Groce:
The impact is just possibility, man. Through this design, I’ll be able to have people understand that you can learn all day. You can be on YouTube and just learn, but just through doing and having fun, and just be tinker, just tinker and build what you want. That’s what makes you learn. And to facilitate that, just how Dean Kaymer has, that’s something I’d like to do in addition to some, not entirely sure even what to call it, but because we are going to be getting into the metaverse and being able to produce quality 3D movies almost, but just because of our virtual setup. I would also like to do some storytelling as well. We’ll see. The combination of both.

Maurice Cherry:
I can see storytelling. You got the voice for it.

Brandon Groce:
I appreciate it.

Maurice Cherry:
So just to wrap things up here, Brandon, where can our audience find out more about you and about your work and everything online?

Brandon Groce:
For sure, you guys can find me … If you just type my name into Google, you’ll find me. Brandon Groce, G-R-O-C-E. If you guys want to participate in DesignOff, you guys can go to designoff.live. The majority of my stuff, you guys can find me on Instagram, that’s probably where I’m most active, or you guys can join our amazing discord community with over 1,000 other creatives from all over the world and not just UI/UX designers and we have illustrators, 3D artists, we literally have, I think there’s more people from other countries than where I’m at. So it’s really nice to have people who are not just in one vertical, but can help each other build on top of something. So short answer, Instagram at Brandon Groce, YouTube, same thing, but if you find me on Instagram, you’ll find me everywhere else.

Maurice Cherry:
All right, sounds good. Well, Brandon Groce, I definitely want to thank you so much for coming on the show. I honestly want to sharing your story and being as open and candid as you were to share it. I think it’s important for people to see the path that people take to get to where they are. It’s not always this straightforward, you went to this school, then this school, and then worked at this place. People come into this industry in so many different ways and I think it’s really important to be able to see how you’ve been able to make your own place in this industry, how it’s helped you build your confidence, how you’ve not only helped to build a community, but also help to empower so many others out there to see the possibilities for themselves that they didn’t see. So, thank you so much for coming on the show, man. I appreciate it.

Brandon Groce:
Likewise, Maurice, thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it.

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Samuel Adaramola

“Blackness is multifaceted.” When Samuel Adaramola told me that before we started recording, I knew we were going to have a great conversation. Samuel is a talented multimedia creative, who most recently used his skills as a media producer on Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. We talked a good bit about what it’s like to work on a political campaign of that magnitude, how he first got involved, and how he worked to get the campaign’s message out during this time of physical/social distancing.

Samuel also spoke on growing up in the USA and attending school, spoke on how journalism impacts his creative process, and gave me a peek into his visual storytelling process. Samuel’s energy and drive really come through in this interview, so I hope you take a listen and get inspired!

Transcript

Full Transcript

Maurice Cherry:
All right, let’s start the show. All right, so tell us who you are and what you do.

Samuel Adaramola:
Hi, my name is Samuel Adaramola. I am a multimedia professional currently working as a media producer for the Bernie Sanders 2020 presidential campaign.

Maurice Cherry:
What is a regular day like for you on the campaign? And I’m asking this considering for people that are listening, we’re recording this on April 2nd. We are in the midst of this coronavirus outbreak. As much as that has impacted nearly every industry in every sector, I’m just curious, what’s it like working on the campaign right now?

Samuel Adaramola:
Well, let me start by answering what it was like before the unfortunate pandemic. And yesterday made it a year since I’ve been in a campaign, and this is my first time working on a presidential campaign.

Samuel Adaramola:
And every day is different, and what we’re trying to do in the campaign and what we’re able to accomplish somewhat was, do everything internally in terms of our production, all of our design is in-house, all of our ads that we do on video and all of our social media videos was done in-house.

Samuel Adaramola:
So it’s a constant churning of production, and this means that we have to put on multiple hats. We have to be producers, we have to be editors, we have to be filmmakers as well. So every day kind of brought something different.

Samuel Adaramola:
So sometimes it’ll kind of give you a newsroom vibe where we meet regularly and try to determine what ideas do we have for today or this week based on certain policies that have been released or certain things that are in a new cycle. We want to meet regularly to determine what that is.

Samuel Adaramola:
And sometimes these ideas are short term, like quick turnarounds based on new cycles, and other times they are long form projects. If we want to go to a certain community and for example, I had the privilege and honor of going to North Carolina, Durham, North Carolina to McDougald Terrace, which is a public housing facility that was unfortunately been neglected. And as a result, the tenants there have been living in inhumane conditions.

Samuel Adaramola:
So finding stories like that or having those stories come our way where we will have to fly out to certain locations and do some location scoutings and set up interviews and things like that. So it really depends. But I would, it’ll be most likely kind of like a newsroom setting where we’re just meeting together and trying to figure out what’s the best idea to put out there.

Samuel Adaramola:
And I’m part of the digital team and we would, this is comprised of film editors, graphic designers, the social media team as well. So we will just come together and kind of discuss different ideas.

Samuel Adaramola:
Now in the face of this pandemic, we have had to pivot like most people in America, and the world right now. We’ve had to pivot to a fully remote operation and we’ve tried to and what we’ve done and shout out to our team, we have kind of pivoted to focusing a live stream and doing content that way.

Samuel Adaramola:
But, however we have regular meetings online and we are coming together kind of keep that vibe to brainstorm ideas of how we can do it in the midst of this pandemic. One idea I wanted, I pitched in the middle of producing is, how does this pandemic exacerbate the disparities that exist in Black communities and low income communities?

Samuel Adaramola:
So I was able to reach out to some doctors who serve low income and Black communities and do a Skype or a Zoom call and have it recorded and conduct interviews that way.

Samuel Adaramola:
So I think you know this Maurice, and I’m sure your listeners do know this as well, it’s like creativity really comes when there’s constraint and I think right now, we are in a deep constraint where we are forced to kind of think outside the box and try to find ways to really get our messaging out there.

Maurice Cherry:
Yeah. How did you first get involved with the campaign? You’ve been there now for a year. That’s a long time in a political campaign. I don’t know if people that are listening really realize that, but given the intensity and the frequency of work that you have to do, a year is a long time.

Samuel Adaramola:
Yeah. A year is a long time and how I did get involved in the campaign was prior to joining the campaign, I was working as a multimedia specialist for Our Revolution, which is a nonprofit that came out of the Bernie Sanders 2016 campaign.

Samuel Adaramola:
I wasn’t involved in the 2016 campaign. Honestly, I wasn’t really, I wouldn’t call myself a very politically active person, but I think that the opportunity came at a time. I was a freelancer prior to that and it came at a time where I was kind of, for lack of better words, fed up with the working on projects and doing things that I didn’t really care for.

Samuel Adaramola:
I call myself an idealist, I believe in a better world and I wanted to work in that capacity. Use my creativity for good and this opportunity came as sheer luck, saw it online and applied and I was liked enough to be asked to join.

Samuel Adaramola:
Yeah. I was there for three years. Initially started as the lead designer there and we weren’t doing any type of video production and anybody will tell you, the landscape of social media, you kind of want to be producing videos, whether it be short term or long term. And I saw it as an opportunity to kind of pitch that idea of hey, we should do videos.

Samuel Adaramola:
I have a little bit of a background in it. I minored in film in my undergrad at Towson University, so I was comfortable doing it and also did a little bit of video work while I was freelancing as well.

Samuel Adaramola:
So I pitched it, put up a budget of what it would cost to get all the gear and shout out to Senator Nina Turner, who’s also a part of the Bernie campaign. But when she came into be the president of Our Revolution, she sat all the staff down one-on-one and one of the things that we talked about in my one-on-one with her was that it is my desire to kind of rebrand the campaign.

Samuel Adaramola:
And she gave me that opportunity and I was able to do that as the lead designer. This was before I switched roles, but I just wanted to kind of throw that out there as that being an experience that really allowed me to kind of flex my muscles a bit in a creative capacity and actually take on the task of rebranding of an organization.

Samuel Adaramola:
Since Our Revolution was so closely tied to Senator Sanders, it was kind of a no brainer that people who are involved in Our Revolution take on the opportunity to join the campaign. So it was just like an easy transition, and Senator Turner who was the president of Our Revolution, joined the campaign and we were given the opportunity to join the campaign as well.

Samuel Adaramola:
And that’s how it happened. Luck being at the right place at the right time and rising to the occasion and stepping up to those opportunities.

Maurice Cherry:
Sounds like it’s a little more than luck though. I mean you put in the work too.

Samuel Adaramola:
Yeah. I want to maintain humility here, but I definitely worked hard. Being in Our Revolution, which was a new organization and we were always trying to, as the term goes, we were always trying to build the plane while flying it. And I’m very proud of the work we were able to do there. And a lot of people who were part of Our Revolution are on the campaign currently and we’re still doing great work.

Samuel Adaramola:
And it was kind of like we graduated college together and we all started the same job together because it was such an experience that, how can I say this, that constituted growth and being on a campaign allowed us to grow even further in our respective areas.

Samuel Adaramola:
I can speak for myself that joining the campaign as a media producing, producing some of these social media videos and being a part of some, creating some ads. I did some voiceover work for one ad, but just being a part of that process and kind of see how things that have been made in my year definitely allowed me to grow in my creative capacity.

Maurice Cherry:
I mean it sounds like you have the opportunity to involve yourself in a lot of different projects within the campaign. Like you just said, there’s a little film, there’s some voiceover, you’re doing design work and for those who don’t know, I mean I’ve mentioned this on the show before. I used to work in a campaign, not a presidential campaign. I want to be clear about that. That was a mayoral campaign.

Maurice Cherry:
So I at least understand to a degree the level of intensity that has to go into it. Of course, running for mayor and running for president are two entirely different things in terms of scope and scale and everything, but I know what it’s like, like being in the campaign office. Late hours, everyone’s working together. It’s such a, it becomes a very tight knit group of people and you’ve all went through this experience together.

Maurice Cherry:
It’s interesting, like even from past administrations. How you hear like say the Obama administration, you hear about people that are working together or they’ve partnered up with someone else who worked with the campaign or something like that.

Maurice Cherry:
Going through that kind of crucible of an experience, it does spark growth because there’s just so much that’s, it’s a really like a microcosm almost of what it’s like to work for a business or to run a business. There’s so many different things you have to do.

Samuel Adaramola:
Absolutely. I would say that it does kind of feel like a startup. I do want to backtrack. I didn’t do, or I haven’t done much design work if at all during the campaign. My task was mainly video production, so that’s where my lane was.

Samuel Adaramola:
But some of the designers who came from Our Revolution are the designers in the campaign and I’m able to collaborate with them with certain pieces and see what they’re working on and put our heads together for creating dope content.

Samuel Adaramola:
But yeah, you’re absolutely right. It is a microcosm, so to speak. You don’t know how much you’ve grown until you sit and look back. And with my one year being yesterday, I’m like wow. I don’t think I would have created this many videos or pushed myself this far. Some things that I was kind of a little apprehensive about doing initially, April 2019. I have no fears in doing that right now.

Samuel Adaramola:
So definitely appreciative of this experience and how grueling it is. I mean, I have no reference. I mean you’ve worked in a gubernatorial campaign and I had no prior campaign experience. So it’s funny because a colleague who was at Our Revolution who didn’t want to join the campaign, she had her experiences in campaign. She’s like, my experience is enough.

Maurice Cherry:
I think that’s one thing about campaigns. You either will only do it once or it’s the only thing you will ever do.

Samuel Adaramola:
Oh yeah, and I haven’t…

Maurice Cherry:
Or it’s the only thing you will ever do.

Samuel Adaramola:
Oh yeah. I haven’t done it at all, so I said, “Let me see what this is about, at least.” I believe, and again, like I mentioned before, I’m an idealist. I believe in a better world. That’s part of why I support Senator Sanders and have been a part of his network of policy and social change. Because, in him, what initially drew me to him, because I’ve never seen someone run for president who is a documented, I guess, activist for the civil rights movement. I’m referring to the picture of him getting arrested for protesting housing segregation in Chicago. Seeing that picture and be like, “Huh, he’s running for president?” And knowing that he wasn’t aware that that picture even existed. You know what they say that, show me who you are when nobody’s looking? That’s your true stuff, so that’s why I’ve taken a liking to him so much initially and just grown to believing in equitable world for everybody. That’s why I’m here and that’s why I want to continue to fight.

Maurice Cherry:
When I worked with campaigns, it’s funny you mentioned that about the point of reference. There was no point of reference when I did it either because I was working on the first set of municipal races after Obama got elected for his first term. Obama’s first term, that team did so much around design and social media and getting the word out that was really unprecedented for-

Samuel Adaramola:
Absolutely.

Maurice Cherry:
… not even just a political campaign for president, but any type of campaign like that.

Samuel Adaramola:
Absolutely.

Maurice Cherry:
Those first sets of municipal races afterwards, I will tell you every politician that I spoke with wanted to copy that Obama playbook. They were like, “How do we get votes through social media? How can we do what Obama did? I’m trying to get some of that Obama magic.” It’s like, “Hire someone from Obama’s team?” I don’t know, but it was a lot of trial and error and at the time when I was working in the campaign, I mean, I had my own studio. I had just started actually my own studio in late 2008 after Obama got elected.

Samuel Adaramola:
Okay.

Maurice Cherry:
The first big client I had was the political campaign that I worked on, and so it was a lot to come up to speed with what they were trying to do and the message they were trying to get out. I mean, it was a totally … Now that I think about it, that was over 10 years ago. It was a totally different landscape. We had a MySpace page.

Samuel Adaramola:
Oh wow. That’s a throwback.

Maurice Cherry:
We had a customized MySpace page. We had a Flickr page. We had a Meetup page. Twitter was around. We had Twitter. We had Facebook. We had LinkedIn, most of the big social media places that are out now was there. But we legit had a MySpace page. It seems like ages ago, but that was over 10 years ago. I’m curious because technology has continued to change since then, I would say most notably how much more people are using smartphones. There’s a lot of push towards mobile, a lot more things going on mobile. I’m curious from your standpoint, how do you plan for mobile given that more people are used to receiving text messages and doing stuff with apps and things than they were, I’d say, even four years ago in 2016?

Samuel Adaramola:
Oh yeah. I mean, some things that I observed whether directly or indirectly played a part of during the time of the campaign is that our ground game is strong in terms of our organizing efforts and our fundraising efforts. One of the ways we prepared for mobile is we actually developed an app for mobile. This app, you can see all of the policies there. You can see some of the graphics that our design team has created. You could see some of the videos that pertain to some of the policies that we’ve created all on the app. Not only that, we’ve made it an engaging experience where people can sign people up to help register people to vote. If you have a network as friends, you could share all the videos and share all the graphics and stuff.

Samuel Adaramola:
That’s something we definitely kept in mind. Like I mentioned, we did everything in-house. We had an in-house product team that developed the technology and the apps to create it, so that’s definitely something we’ve always kept in mind. Even on the video sense is, we always create our videos to be optimized for a mobile experience. So we’re cutting things in square. We’re making sure that captions are always present and legible, so whether you have a disability or not or whether you just don’t have the volume of your phone on, we want to make sure that people are able to see or at least read what the video is about. These are things that we’ve always kept in mind when we’re constantly creating, whether it’s something that is as direct as having an app created or in the way we create videos and create content.

Maurice Cherry:
Do you have to do any internationalization, because just given the coalition of people that you’re trying to reach as a president, I’m wondering if you have to do a lot of translation or things of that-

Samuel Adaramola:
Oh yeah.

Maurice Cherry:
… nature too. Yeah.

Samuel Adaramola:
Absolutely. I think one of the things that we started to do was we started to translate all of our graphics to several languages; Spanish, Arabic, a slew of others, where we started to have that in mind. With our videos as well, we will always do Spanish translations, especially if it’s a video that pertain to a specific policy or issue that affected that community. That’s always something that we kept in mind, and I’m proud to say that we did a pretty good job with it, especially on the graphic side.

Maurice Cherry:
How do you end up reaching supporters or voters who are probably not traditionally online in like this current pandemic climate we’re in right now?

Samuel Adaramola:
Yeah. I mean, one of the ways we did it, and I guess pre-pandemic is that we had a lot of volunteers who would make calls. That was probably one of our largest efforts in organizing. We made millions and millions of calls to organize people to vote or volunteer or get active in this political campaign. Again, going back to the app, the app was like a device that is used for you to go out and talk to people and engage with people and share what you’re seeing and share why you support the campaign. Those are the little ways that we attempted to reach people who aren’t online.

Maurice Cherry:
Okay. So the app then I guess has talking points, you are able to use that almost as a guide to talk-

Samuel Adaramola:
Absolutely.

Maurice Cherry:
… to the other folks that aren’t online. Okay.

Samuel Adaramola:
Yeah.

Maurice Cherry:
All right. Now, you’re working in media, you’re a media producer, as you know, and as I’m sure our audience knows, between 2016 and now we have seen a proliferation of, what’s the best way to call it? Can I call it the smear campaign? I don’t know. But we’ve seen this proliferation of “fake news” and distrust in the media and we’ve seen lots of altered media, whether it’s Photoshopped images or even deep fake videos and stuff like that. What are your thoughts on the challenges of truth and veracity and media when it relates to that sort of stuff? With the public service sector because, I mean, now we see social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter, trying to fight those kind of claims of misinformation. How does that stuff work in a campaign?

Samuel Adaramola:
I mean, fortunately, we haven’t had to deal with deep fakes of Senator Sanders out there. I think the onus is on people to be as media literate as possible. I think we can’t only rely on big social media companies, Twitter or Facebook or what have you, to take it upon themselves to do it. I mean, they should do it, absolutely, but we also have to make sure that we are as media literate as possible. Having the ability to identify a deep fake or to question and to evaluate and analyze the content that we’re consuming. But that’s a tall task, honestly, because as human beings we’re just predisposed to do what’s easiest and most convenient. And so, I think as in the campaign, I’m not sure how it manifests itself, but I think what we try to keep in mind is that we, to the best of our abilities, are sourcing material and sourcing facts. We constantly cross-reference with our policy team to make sure that everything that we are using and putting out is legitimate.

Samuel Adaramola:
I think that’s part of the process of tackling the misinformation. I think if we have presidential candidates running, that should be something that is constantly at a top of mind, just making sure that they’re not falling victim to these false claims and false facts that we see online. Hopefully, in the future, and I think we’re not too far away from this is, in future presidential campaigns that there are platforms, specific things that deal with disinformation and fake news, for lack of a better word. Because it’s been abundantly clear, like you mentioned, since 2016 that facts and reality is being under attack. Journalistic institutes are being under attack, so I think it’s something that we do need a leader with a vision to fully understand that, “Hey, these places, at least some of these sources, are our friends. Their job is to inform the public in a true manner.” So yeah.

Maurice Cherry:
Before we started recording, you asked me how I found out about you.

Samuel Adaramola:
Oh yeah.

Maurice Cherry:
And so, I said I was going to wait till we got on the show before I mentioned this. Last year in September, which seems like 20 years ago at this point, just to be hones with you. It was like late September last year. I will tell the story. I was on Twitter under the Revision Path handle and I asked, “Are there any black designers or developers on any of the campaigns of the current candidates running to become the next U.S. president from either party? If this is you, let us know.” Because I was like, we’re going into January, 2020. I want to be able to talk to some black creatives that are on these individual staffs. I mean, September 2019, there were like 30 people running. It was like a bingo card on the Democratic side.

Samuel Adaramola:
Oh yeah.

Maurice Cherry:
There was a ton of folks that were running, and so I was like, I reached out to every candidate multiple times or the candidate’s campaigns at least, reached out multiple times and we heard back from only one campaign. It wasn’t Bernie, I’m just going to be honest with you.

Samuel Adaramola:
Okay.

Maurice Cherry:
It was Beto O’Rourke. We heard back from Beto O’Rourke’s campaign and he was like, “Oh yeah, we’ll pass it on to the team.” Other than that, I couldn’t find anyone. And so, I said, “Well, let me just go on LinkedIn and just start searching for designer with the candidates name.” And so, I’m doing that for all of the … Had a spreadsheet, doing it for all the candidates. The only one, the only person I found was you with the Sanders campaign. This was back in September of 2019 when I said there were a lot of people running on both parties. That’s how I found out about you.

Samuel Adaramola:
Well, all right.

Maurice Cherry:
I say that to lead into my next question though. What is it like for you being a black creative working in politics with progressive organizations?

Samuel Adaramola:
I’m not the only one, fortunately, in the Bernie Sanders campaign. As far as the black creatives go, on my team in the videos, is a talented motion graphics designer. Her name is Bria, she’s on the team. A young black lady. There’s another on the design team, her name is Laura as well. There’s also Chris and [Sumarias 00:12:09]. We’re represented within the Bernie Sanders campaign in terms of black creatives. But as far as what it’s like to be a creative on the campaign, honestly I would say it’s like any other job but my more intense and a lot more is on the line. But, obviously, we are privileged in a sense to be there and serve as a voice to our communities. All black people aren’t the same, but when you have representation even from the top on down, it’s very important because it allows you to voice your opinion and perspectives that may not have been considered or of thought of before.

Samuel Adaramola:
So as it relates to what I’ve been doing on the campaign is that, when I am thinking of a video idea or creating some work in whatever capacity, I’m always thinking about, “Okay, how does this affect my community, black community and the black immigrant community too. Because I’m a first-generation Nigerian American, so I’m always thinking of these things in this way. How I create and how I birth ideas always has that frame of reference. I’m fortunate that there hasn’t been a lot of hurdles for me to be able to voice my ideas and my opinions and they have always been met with respect and consideration, so there isn’t really anything I could point to that’s much different from what anybody else would experience.

Maurice Cherry:
Now you mentioned being first-generation. Where did you grow up?

Samuel Adaramola:
I was born in Lagos, Nigeria, and was immigrated to America when I was two, so I was basically raised in America. But I was undocumented all of my life. Well, most of my adult life too. So I’ve been raised as American as Apple pies, people say, but not having documentation until I graduated from undergrad. So a lot of my time in America was living in the shadows, not really getting the opportunities that one would normally get as a citizen of the country. So yeah, it was particularly difficult. That’s how I actually got to becoming a designer. I’ve always had an interest in being creative. In high school and even middle school I would like … It’s funny when I think about this, I had a head start in creating for a political campaign because one of my best friends in elementary school ran for student president. I drew his campaign posters and I would always draw on clothing with fabric paint and I developed an affinity for creating. I didn’t find out my undocumented status until I was-

Samuel Adaramola:
Oh, I didn’t find out my undocumented status until I was graduating high school and wanted to go to college, but I didn’t have a social security number and I didn’t find out until I was applying. That’s how my world got flipped, turned upside down: not to quote Fresh Prince.

Samuel Adaramola:
But I was still able to go to school undergrad because of two things. One, my late mother, who was a permanent resident and she was on disability at the time, she was giving me some of her disability checks to go towards paying tuition. I’m not saying it like it was a lot, but it meant a lot to her because it was her only source of income. But I was taxed of doing is completing the rest of it and I did that with a group of my friends.

Samuel Adaramola:
I was deejaying in college and we would throw parties and one of my friends, he made a flyer for one of our first parties that we were going to go to throw, and it looked like something that came out of Coral Paint. It was just a terrible looking flyer. And I knew, like I mentioned, I was creative up to that point and I just knew I had a taste of what looked good and what didn’t. And literally, when I saw him do the flyer, I was like, “Nah, we could do better than this.” I went in our school library and I looked at YouTube tutorials of how to make flyers in Photoshop and nine hours later I had a Halloween party flyer that I was really proud of and stuck with it. That morphed into figuring out how to make logos and figuring out how to create different brand assets. I just hacked my way into learning design.

Samuel Adaramola:
When I graduated, because I got my undergrad in mass communications with a concentration in advertising and public relations, I graduated college without a portfolio like somebody who would have traditionally gone to school for design. But I had a portfolio of several party flyers and some logos that I made for student body organizations, so I thought I had a little something. I thought I was working with something. You couldn’t tell me nothing back then, but then you get humbled when you apply for jobs and you’re like, “Oh, so that’s what real design looks like.”

Samuel Adaramola:
But I eventually ended up working at an advertising agency in DC and my role wasn’t designed. My role wasn’t digital, my role was being a digital producer for the social media department. That’s just basically someone who project manages different projects for different clients. What that enabled me to discover was the process of creating with multiple creatives. Got to work with developers. I got to work with other designers. I got to work with copywriters. And I got to be someone who was tasked with managing the resources and the billable hours for everyone who was working on a specific client project.

Samuel Adaramola:
So, being able to sit in their room and meet with clients and have the ideation process of what they seek and desire, and actually see it through fruition by observing the creatives on the team there, it opened my eyes to, “Okay, I know I was doing all this stuff, making party flyers and doing all this knockoff stuff, but I’m in a room with people who have gone to school and did this stuff and super talented.” I knew then that, “Okay, I didn’t want to be the project manager of this stuff, I actually wanted to create. I wanted to be a designer.” There was only a few black people there at the time. Maybe still is, who knows? But it was myself and I think one other person. But the person that I want to bring up, her name is Kim Williams.

Samuel Adaramola:
I bring her up because she gave me the opportunity to go for it. I remember one day I came into work and she pulled me aside. We went into the room and she was like, “Hey, I noticed that you don’t seem like yourself or something slacking. What’s going on? There’s not too many black people here and I just want to make sure that we are holding each other up and doing what we can do to survive here.” I just opened up to her and said, “Hey Kim, I want to do what you’re doing.” She was the art director there at the time. I said, “I want to design. I want to be a part of the producing this creative stuff.” She said, “Then why don’t you do it?” And I was like, “Huh. I can, right?” But she was like, “You can do this. You can really do this. I have books. I have stuff that I can give you. You can just dedicate your time to learning this stuff and being creative and you can find yourself doing this work.” She bought me a Wacom tablet-

Maurice Cherry:
Wow!

Samuel Adaramola:
And she gave me some books and she just patted me on the back and sent me on my way. And I was like, “Wow!” And to this day, I can’t talk to anybody without mentioning her because that put me in a trajectory of where I am today. If I did not have that conversation with her, if she did not pull me aside as have that, “Come to Jesus black person to black person conversation,” I wouldn’t be here speaking with you right now and my career to that conversation and I appreciate her wisdom back then.

Samuel Adaramola:
So, I ended up leaving because of personal reasons that I had with my family, but I worked part-time at a nonprofit organization and then a dedicated the rest of my time to going ham with designing and figuring it out, taking on freelance gigs here and there just to get better. As a result, the portfolio I was able to put together from that time was what landed me at Our Revolution and being at Our Revolution is what landed me at being a part of a presidential campaign.

Maurice Cherry:
Wow.

Samuel Adaramola:
So yeah.

Maurice Cherry:
That’s quite a path.

Samuel Adaramola:
Yeah, it is.

Maurice Cherry:
You mentioned Kim Williams, you were at Ogilvy when this happened, right?

Samuel Adaramola:
Yeah.

Maurice Cherry:
I think we’ve had that same Kim Williams on the show. She for a while was design director at Indeed?

Samuel Adaramola:
Yeah, she was.

Maurice Cherry:
Yeah! We had Kim on the show last year. Look at that, small world.

Samuel Adaramola:
Small world, big world.

Maurice Cherry:
Small world.

Maurice Cherry:
Was your family supportive of you going into this creative route? I can only imagine first-generation, they want you to go into something that’s more lucrative and more secure.

Samuel Adaramola:
Yeah, absolutely. I’m blessed because my parents were… My dad is a hippie, right?

Maurice Cherry:
Okay.

Samuel Adaramola:
I call him a Nigerian hippie because he’s traditional. He’s a traditional patriarchy type of figurehead, but he’s also into meditation and juicing and metaphysical stuff. He’s not your typical Nigerian man. I think for some immigrants, their experience are different. I think some people come in here with the idea of I’m coming to America to be the best XYZ. Other people say, “I’m coming to America to survive.” So, my parents were the survivors, right?

Maurice Cherry:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Samuel Adaramola:
My dad had many odd jobs. He was an ice-cream man at one point. He was an insurance salesman. He was a taxi driver. He was everything. So, his idea of success wasn’t really tied to being a doctor or a lawyer or engineer, which is what the stereotypical expectation is of a black immigrant child. His idea was just being happy. My mother, on the other hand, she was just more or less the same, just the idea of being happy.

Samuel Adaramola:
When I was in elementary school and in high school drawing on shirts and ruining my clothes and making new clothes out of old clothes, my mother says, “Yo, this looks good. Can you write some Bible scriptures on the shirt for me?” So they’ve been supportive in that sense. And I think because of… Another thing is that some people come to America with the understanding of how to navigate the immigration system and other people don’t because they’re just on survival mode. Again, my parents were under survival mode and that, unfortunately and somewhat fortunately, resulted in me being undocumented for most of my life. So, I don’t think my parents quite had time to worry about what I’m going to do with my life, but they always made sure that they provided for me.

Samuel Adaramola:
I always felt like I was a good kid. I knew I wanted to be creative or do something in some creative capacity, but I think I am a product of my environment. So having relatives and friends who belong to the black immigrant community and seeing that most people are in those traditional doctor, lawyer, engineer paths because of what their parents want for them, you do find that quite often. I do feel, at an earlier point in my life, felt pressured to fall in line. At one point I thought I was going to be an entertainment lawyer because that was my way of working in media and still having a respectable position. But I think what most immigrant parents and elders who come here, they just aren’t educated on how lucrative some of these careers can be.

Samuel Adaramola:
They may not know that you’re a developer or they may not know that you’re a designer or a media producer. They’re just not accustomed to it because all they know is that being a doctor is distinguishable and can earn you a high income. But also, somebody, even if it’s a doctor, someone had to design the tools that they’re using, somebody had to create the software that they’re inputting their patient information in. These positions are very valuable and I think it just takes people like me and other people who are in similar career paths or those untraditional paths to educate them on that. I think some people are coming around to that now.

Maurice Cherry:
Yeah, well said, man. First of all, it’s great to know that your parents were really supportive of you being behind it. But I feel like that’s something that… and I’ve had hundreds of black designers on the show… I don’t think this is unique to black designers. But I think it is unique probably to people of color that are going into a creative field, is that unless there’s an example that they can see their parents or guardians can see of some type of financial success, then they’re like, “Okay, I’m good with this.” Because our parents grew up in a totally different environment, totally different.

Samuel Adaramola:
Absolutely.

Maurice Cherry:
They had to go through a lot more struggles than we had to and they sacrificed to make sure that our generation wouldn’t have to have those sacrifices. And so, maybe being seen as going into a creative field like that, because they don’t see examples of success, they probably think the opposite right off the bat. Like, “Oh, you’re just going to be spray painting, airbrushing shirts at the fair,” or something like that. You know?

Samuel Adaramola:
Right.

Maurice Cherry:
I see how that could turn into something much more… necessarily say much more lucrative, but that you can take that creative skill and use it in a number of different applications.

Samuel Adaramola:
Yeah, everybody’s needed. I think everybody can’t be a doctor. Everybody can’t be a lawyer. Everybody can’t be an engineer, but I think what you said is exactly right. I think when they have a hard time seeing the success of those untraditional paths, so it is like a trial by fire where you just got to do what you want until you just are successful and you’re like, “Hey mom and dad, I did it.” If you watch that Netflix movie Uncorked, it has that same feeling to it.

Maurice Cherry:
Don’t ruin it for me because I haven’t seen it yet.

Samuel Adaramola:
It’s really good.

Maurice Cherry:
I do want to see it.

Samuel Adaramola:
You got to watch it.

Maurice Cherry:
I’m going to watch it. I’m going to watch it.

Samuel Adaramola:
That’s also what I wanted to talk about, the dualities of the black identity. I think sometimes the black immigrants and black Americans or descendants of slaves were sometimes pitted against each other. And I think we can realize that we have similar experiences and we can learn to celebrate our differences, and that’s all I want to do with my life.

Samuel Adaramola:
Being raised in America and just being an immigrant, I always felt like I’m not quite American enough, but I’m also not quite Nigerian enough, so I’m just in this little box. And I’m like, “But I experience both things,” and I just wanted to mention that. It’s good to share our stories and be able to celebrate each other, whether it be a creative pursuit or not. It’s just good to know that we exist. I think our communities and the black community in general is that much better by having our stories told.

Maurice Cherry:
Yeah, absolutely. So later on you mentioned going to Twoson? Am I saying that right?

Samuel Adaramola:
Towson, yeah.

Maurice Cherry:
Towson. Sorry. I’m looking at it like, “Is it Towson?” Okay, no. So, you mentioned going to Towson for undergrad, but then later on you went to Syracuse and you got your Master’s Degree in Communication and in Journalism. How does your journalism experience impact your design process?

Samuel Adaramola:
Well that…it’s new. I only graduated last fall.

Maurice Cherry:
Okay.

Samuel Adaramola:
But in saying that is, I wanted to go to Syracuse and to do that program in particular to be a better storyteller. I think what my experience there has taught me is just how important it is to do your research right and to consider other things, like how data comes into play with how you tell your story, or how different technology and the media landscape changing can affect how you’re telling a story, and thoroughly understanding media law will affect how you tell your story.

Samuel Adaramola:
So unfortunately, I haven’t experienced enough in my current career that can inform what I do with my creative path. But I do, in going through the course and finishing it, it did open my eyes to just how deep storytelling can go, especially when you’re creating from a journalistic landscape. Because a fun project I did during my master’s was looking at the data of the black filmmakers, black directors, and black casting, looking at how they fared the last 30 years in terms of reaching the top 10 status. And how, although it may seem that we are represented in terms of the film industry, we are still having quite far some ways to go, especially with the fact that there has not been a female director who is black, who has reached top 10 highest grossing films. And there’s only…

Samuel Adaramola:
10 highest grossing films, and there’s only been one black filmmaker to do that, which was Ryan Coogler with Black Panther. So I think doing those projects, they helped me be curious about where are we now as a community and how much further do we have to go. As I think about projects and things that I want to do in the future, I know that having this education at Syracuse has given me a solid foundation in terms of understanding and learning how to navigate storytelling better in any aspects of creativity, whether it’s a film or or creating different designs or developing a website.

Maurice Cherry:
So when it comes to the visual storytelling, where do you typically try to begin the story?>

Samuel Adaramola:
I’m trying to pull from my experience at the campaign. For me is understanding the issues that are affecting the community. And I want to pull this North Carolina video again as an example because it’s probably one of the videos that I’m most proudest of that I was able to do in terms of visual storytelling. When I found out that this was what this community was going through, the first thing you want to do is research. And when you research it allows you to think of some pointed questions that you can ask the subject you’re interviewing. And that’s just the set up, because when you are going to film and interview someone, what they say could be completely different from what you expected. What you go in there thinking it’s going to be, the story ends up being something completely different. You may experience this doing the podcast, but I think when you are able to have all those elements come together, your research, the questions and the interview and the response, and you’re able to transcribe that and find a story, you can then find supplemental materials there. So I think it all begins with just doing enough research on the issue that you have at hand, and I think doing enough research, whether it’s even a video or a design, can steadily inform which way you go about creating.

Maurice Cherry:
So you’re in the DC area, you mentioned being in Silver Springs, Maryland, but in the DMV area, outside of the work you’re doing with the campaign, what is the design scene or the creative scene like there for you?

Samuel Adaramola:
For me it’s everybody’s… I think DC is unsung, man. DC doesn’t get the love that it should. It’s a very, very creative town, a creative city, this DMV area, especially within the black community. I think people, if you go on IG, there is a sense of community. There is a sense of people actively creating. And this is another thing and I wanted to bring that up as it related to the conversation about career paths and what’s distinguished and what isn’t. You still find that people who are engineers, their side hustle is that they paint or that they bake cookies or that day design shoes or have a fashion brand and you find a lot of that in the DMV area, especially within the black community that they have.

Samuel Adaramola:
It’s like they live a double life. They have their nine to five, I’m going to clock in and clock out at my engineer job. But as soon as they’re out, they’re out being creative and hustling and bustling. So I think you do find a lot of that in DC where people have that dual identity in terms of being a creative and being someone who’s has, I guess, a distinguished career in engineering or so. And you also have like… I think me being here, this is a very rich African immigrant community, and being raised in that environment, I’ve always felt comfortable being around here and… From churches to little grocery shops to even now venues and clubs that are owned by Africans. You see that community also as well.

Maurice Cherry:
What keeps you motivated and inspired these days? These are some interesting times that we’re in right now. You’re also working for a political campaign, which is always full of ups and downs in the campaign. I don’t care where you’re at in terms of rankings or whatnot. What keeps you inspired, motivated these days?

Samuel Adaramola:
Oh man, it’s tough these days, man. Things just seem so dreary and we don’t see a way out right now, but I just look back at my past and the nature of how I got to this country and how I am able to be where I am now despite the obstacles that faced me with my immigration status or what have you. And I look at my father and my late mother and the things that they were able to do to provide for me with the little that they have. What keeps me inspired is knowing that I have the opportunity to build generational wealth, and I’m not just talking about wealth financially. I’m talking about wealth with knowledge, the first one with my Adaramola last name, to have a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. So that is legacy. That is wealth to me.

Samuel Adaramola:
And when I think about the future that I want to have for my future kids and my future wife, I think about that and to be able to say, “Hey, I’ve had these experiences while taking a path that wasn’t traditional or or easy,” is what keeps me motivated. I want to do so much and I’m grateful to have this experience in the campaign because I’ve learned so much and what I’m going to be able to take in the future is exciting and what I want to build for my legacy and the community for black people in general, to share the stories and to have more people, to be able to say, “Hey, that’s somebody that looks like me that’s representing a different sector or telling stories that are nuanced in a way that haven’t been told enough because people think all black people are the same.”

Samuel Adaramola:
So when I think about all of those things together, my history, my path, and what I want to create for the community, that definitely keeps me motivated, especially in these down times where everyone’s just sitting at home and it just seems it’s Groundhog’s Day, the movie, where you’re just repeating the day over and over and over and over and over again. I look at the books on my bookshelf and say, “Hey, I haven’t read that book. Maybe I can learn something about it.” You know what I’m saying? And have that experience of reading the book inform how I want to create in the future. So little things like that will keep me motivated. And just honestly, people like you, Maurice, people who are out there creating and seeking out the stories even when people weren’t trying to tell you what black designers are in the campaign, you went and saw it yourself.

Samuel Adaramola:
I mean honestly just knowing that people are creating their own platforms. And when I see people who are doing things that I want to do or are somewhat adjacent, I don’t get jealous. I get inspired. Man, that was tight. Let me see if I can do it better. So just the creative community, the black creative community as a whole just always motivates me, and I just want to always see us win no matter if you’re a black immigrant or you’re born and raised in the South or wherever you’re from. I think black people, when we learn that we can create more and create together, I think it’ll be a phenomenal thing and definitely something to keep me motivated and inspired.

Maurice Cherry:
Amen to that. Where do you see yourself in the next five years? It’s 2025, hopefully all of his pandemic mess is a faint memory behind us, but what kind of work do you see yourself doing in the next five years?

Samuel Adaramola:
Honestly, man, I’m working towards this right now, I want to have my own media company and I want to be able to use that media company to tell black stories in new and unique ways that are informed by my experiences of being raised in America as a black immigrant and bridging the gap between black identities. I want to do that work, whether it’s through video or audio storytelling with podcasts, but just continue to contribute to the zeitgeist of black creatives and continue to offer something new and to create more room at the table for different kinds of black creativity. So in the next five years, I want to spread that good juju to the world and be working for myself and employing other black creatives, other creatives of color to lead that legacy of telling unique nuanced stories of the black community.

Maurice Cherry:
All right, well just to wrap things up here, where can our audience find out more about you and about your work online?

Samuel Adaramola:
Yeah, I’m fairly active on Twitter. My handle is samoriginals, one word, S-A-M-O-R-I-G-I-N-A-L-S, and it’s the same with Instagram. I’m not as active on Instagram, but you’ll see me there, and you know my website, samadaramola.com. Just look out, I’m working on some things in the future and yeah, if you are politically activated, vote, make sure you vote, make sure your voice is heard and make sure you’re registered because we don’t want another pandemic that is mishandled.

Maurice Cherry:
Listen, I know this is a design podcast and I don’t mean to get political, but for y’all that are listening, if the last three months have not shown you how important it is to get out and have your voice heard in terms of the future of this country, I don’t know what will. I don’t know what celebrity needs to dance a jig in the streets or whatever to get you to get out there and vote, but it is necessary. Just look at what the last three months have been like in this country, and you should go vote. That’s all I’m saying. That’s all I’m saying. That’s all I’m saying.

Samuel Adaramola:
Not just in 2020, too. Every two years you got to put that in action. Just vote, be active in your communities. The situations have always been worse for for black people even before the pandemic, and this pandemic is just going to further exasperate the disparities that we have in this country. So get active. Like Bernie says, never lose your sense of outrage. Don’t lose it. All we have is our life on the line, so just get active, get informed. Still create, but don’t lose your sense of outrage.

Maurice Cherry:
Yeah. Well Samuel Adaramola, thank you so much for coming on the show. Again, I know we are recording this during very trying times right now that we’re all going through in this country, but I think just your message and your drive and really just your enthusiasm for making sure that you’re telling stories is something that we need now more than ever, whether it’s on a political campaign or not, just people that are out there that can show, not just how different we are, but also how we’re very much the same in many ways is really important, and I’m really going to be excited to see what you do next. I feel this is just the start for you, for whatever next is going to be coming big.

Samuel Adaramola:
Oh man, thanks so much.

Maurice Cherry:
Thank you so much. Thank you for coming on the show. I appreciate it.

Samuel Adaramola:
Yeah. Thank you for having me, Maurice, and I look forward to hearing myself. All right, take care.

Sponsors

Facebook Design is a proud sponsor of Revision Path. The Facebook Design community is designing for human needs at unprecedented scale. Across Facebook’s family of apps and new product platforms, multi-disciplinary teams come together to create, build and shape communication experiences in service of the essential, universal human need for connection. To learn more, please visit facebook.design.

This episode is brought to you by Abstract: design workflow management for modern design teams. Spend less time searching for design files and tracking down feedback, and spend more time focusing on innovation and collaboration. Like Glitch, but for designers, Abstract is your team’s version-controlled source of truth for design work. With Abstract, you can version design files, present work, request reviews, collect feedback, and give developers direct access to all specs—all from one place. Sign your team up for a free, 30-day trial today by heading over to www.abstract.com.

Lorenzo Wilkins is a multitalented creative who has worked extensively in his field for more than 40 years! Graphic design, photography, videography…you name it, and Lorenzo has probably had his hand in it. His most recent endeavor, a video series titled “ArtLife/LifeArt: An Insight into Creativity” talks to artists across the creative spectrum (including one of our past guests, Sela Lewis)!

Lorenzo and I talk about life as a designer before the advent of the personal computer, his history of work across print, television, and video, and his advice for designers on maintaining a creative legacy. I hope that Lorenzo’s story helps you with following your passion and fueling your creative self!


Did you like this episode? Get special behind-the-scenes access for just $5/month!

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Revision Path is sponsored by Facebook Design. No one designs at scale quite like Facebook does, and that scale is only matched by their commitment to giving back to the design community.
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Revision Path is also sponsored by Glitch. Glitch is the friendly community where you can build the app of your dreams. Stuck on something? Get help! You got this!
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Revision Path is also brought to you by Google Design! Google Design is committed to sharing the best design thinking from Google and beyond. Sign up for their newsletter!
Revision Path is brought to you by MailChimp. Huge thanks to them for their support of the show! Visit them today and say thanks!
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I couldn’t think of a better person to start 2018 with here on Revision Path than Jermaine Bell. The Baltimore-based visual designer, photographer, and social designer embodies what it means to work within a supportive creative community.

Jermaine started off by talking about his childhood growing up in Baltimore, and we followed his design journey through high school and college. He also gave us the lowdown on the ups and downs of fellowships, his first foray into retail, and discussed what it means to him to “make it” as a designer. Keep an eye out for Jermaine — he’s doing big things!


Did you like this episode? Get special behind-the-scenes access for just $5/month!

rp_patreon_banner


Revision Path is sponsored by Facebook Design. No one designs at scale quite like Facebook does, and that scale is only matched by their commitment to giving back to the design community.
fbdesign_logo_75
Revision Path is also sponsored by Glitch. Glitch is the friendly community where you can build the app of your dreams. Stuck on something? Get help! You got this!
glitch_75
Revision Path is also brought to you by Google Design! Google Design is committed to sharing the best design thinking from Google and beyond. Sign up for their newsletter!
Revision Path is brought to you by MailChimp. Huge thanks to them for their support of the show! Visit them today and say thanks!
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Revision Path is also brought to you by SiteGround. Save 60% off all hosting plans by visiting siteground.com/revisionpath. Excellent!

As a digital creator, you may not even think much about the concept of digital governance. Don’t worry though — this week’s guest, Lisa Welchman, literally wrote the book on digital governance!

Our conversation begins with an overview on the topic, and Lisa describes how she got involved with digital governance. We also get into digital ethics, talk about how companies can apply digital governance to what they do, and a lot more. Lisa also discusses her recent vacation, the things that keeps her inspired and opens up on what she wants to do in the near future. Thank goodness we’ve got experts like Lisa to help decipher concepts like this that are important to our digital lives!


Did you like this episode? Get special behind-the-scenes access for just $5/month!

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Revision Path is sponsored by Facebook Design. No one designs at scale quite like Facebook does, and that scale is only matched by their commitment to giving back to the design community.
fbdesign_logo_75
Revision Path is also sponsored by Hover. Visit hover.com/revisionpath and save 10% off your first purchase! Big thanks to Hover!
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Revision Path is brought to you by MailChimp. Huge thanks to them for their support of the show! Visit them today and say thanks!
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Revision Path is also brought to you by SiteGround. Save 60% off all hosting plans by visiting siteground.com/revisionpath. Excellent!