Deroy Peraza tells us how when he was starting out, he tried working at a few studios for extended periods of time, but didn’t make it past 3 months anywhere! After deciding to go freelance and start a business with he’s partner Julia and lots of sweat and tears, 15 years on, Hyperakt are doing some amazing work! We discuss a bunch of stuff, including their never-ending amazing passion projects, including one of our favourites – On the Grid.
What are some of your earliest creative memories and what lead you into design?
Creating books filled with car designs and superheros when I was 6 . Trying to copy sports team logos when I was 10. The smell of the inks at print shops where my parents worked. Helping my mom do color separations the old school way – Rubylith, Xacto, Light table. Making negatives in our home darkroom.
When did you fall in love with design and how did you get started? I truly fell in love with design in Barcelona. I lived there for a year and a half during college. The city has a respect for design unlike any city I’ve visited. It’s pervasive and it impacts your experience of the city.
Where did you study and what were some of your first jobs? Parsons School of Design
Winchester School of Art
Rubber Stamp Salesman
What was your plan for graduating and what actually happened? My plan was to try to make a living in any creative field. I started freelancing while I was at school and had tons of valuable experience working on creative for advertisement campaigns through an internship. I tried working at a few studios for extended periods of time, but didn’t make it past 3 months anywhere. I couldn’t manage to stick to prescribed schedules.
Freelancing led to starting a studio with a good friend from school (who is much better at schedules than I am). Hyperakt’s origins are quite humble. Both my partner Julia and I come from working class immigrant families. We started Hyperakt with no money, no contacts and few clients. It’s been one hard learned lesson at times and a lot of sweat and tears to get to where we are now, 15 years later.
Give us the elevator pitch on what you do. Hyperakt is a social impact design firm. We help change makers tell compelling stories through strategy, design and technology.
What does a typical working day include for you right now? Bouncing around
Whats your take on internships? (do you take interns now?) They are more important than school. I would be nowhere if it wasn’t for my internships. We’re always on the lookout for great interns at Hyperakt
What do you look for in a great portfolio? Great aesthetic sensibility, meticulous craft, loads of personality, and ambition to pursue self-initiated ideas.
What qualities and skills do you look for in a graduate? First and foremost you must be a nice human being. We look for people with strong values who care more about people than things and more about social impact than social status. You
Are you involved in any mentoring/teaching/workshops and if and how it shapes your practice? We’re actively working on developing a mentoring practice in the studio to inspire
Any passion projects you would like to share? So many. Here are a few…
We love them because they are a diverse group of lovely, passionate individuals who find meaning in creating beautiful and thoughtful work that celebrates equity and justice.
Tell us about any collaborations you have been working on. We’ve been working on about 700 collaborations through On the Grid. We have over 700 creative companies and individuals curating their favorite neighborhood spots in over 100 cities around the world.