Interview with Ben Barry(@benbarry)...

Hello there! Sorry about the couple of days off! I had a very busy week as yesterday...I graduated the eighth grade! So currently I guess you could call me a rising ninth grader. I had the chance to speak at my graduation which was so fun! Now to the interview...

Today's interview is with Mr. Ben Barry. Ben is a designer at Facebook! In this interview he explains his thoughts on design, food, and the company he works at. I loved talking to Ben. Enjoy! (***Note: one question was removed per request by Mr. Barry.)

Q. What is it like designing at Facebook?

A. I once heard someone describe their work environment like a river because there was a nonstop flow of projects to be done, and ideas to explore. They couldn't stop and dam up the river, and instead just had to jump in and try not to get swept away by the current. This is a pretty good metaphor for what it's like to be a designer at Facebook too. Maybe it will stabilize and slow down at some point, but for the foreseeable future there is a nonstop flood of things to work on as we grow. You have to learn how to prioritize projects, and manage your time efficiently. Because resources are limited I try to spend a portion of my time on building tools and maintaining resources and documentation that allow us to extend the impact the Design team can have. One of my favorite things about being a designer at Facebook is the diversity of projects I get to work on. I've done traditional print, identity, illustration, motion, environmental, events, clothing, web / interactive, programming, printing, custom lettering etc… It's never boring and there are constantly new challenges to tackle.

Q. What is your favorite food?

A. Tough question. I have a lot of favorites, but I think the one thing I eat consistantly once or twice a week is sushi.

Q. What, in your mind, is the key to design?

A. There are many ways to think about design and disciplines within it. From my perspective though as a primarily visual graphic designer the key is to turn ideas into words and pictures that enhance the understanding of the ideas by the viewer. Imagine if you will being handed a plain white piece of paper with the words "racism is bad" typed in 12 point helvetica, vs. the experience of seeing James Victore's typographic illustration of the word racism. The idea is the same, but James' execution as a designer adds much more weight, immediacy, value, and impact to that idea.

Q. If I told you that I could publish any book you wrote, what would your first book be on?

A. Someday I'd like to do a monograph of my work, but that's a ways off, so probably wouldn't be my first. I'd likely write something about my experience going to work in-house at a corporation and the challenges that presents as the company scales. Many people thought I was crazy to leave the hip little boutique design firm I was working at to go to a tech company with little reputation for design. I think that's part of what's wrong with how we train designers. Instead of getting them to focus on the impact they could have and sending them out in the world seeking opportunities and challenges, we train them to want to work at places that are already known for good design.

Here is the desktop background I designed for Ben! Purchase it here.

Thanks so much to Ben.

Please check out Julia's video!

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