Featured Studios

Bully Design Co.

September 2016

Seriously one of the funnier/ all over the place interviews we have done in a while here at TDK - The hilarious Matt Salik, from Bully Design Co originally fell in love with the patch on he's dads overalls when he was a kid, while also growing up looking at he's brothers skateboard deck graphics from a distant (and only riding it secrectly to avoid getting bashed from big bro)!

What are some of your earliest creative memories and what lead you into design?

I remember a few things. The first thing that came to mind when I read this thing was the patch on my dad's coveralls when I was a kid. He was, and is, a truck driver who worked for a company called United and I always really dug the embroidered patch. We grew up pretty low-key/middle-class so thinking there was a big, rich company that owned trucks and shit was cool. We'd go to the truck yard once in a while and the logo was everywhere. You couldn't miss it. The logo looked fast and big which in retrospect was probably (or accidentally) the intention.

Second thing was skateboards. Lance Mountain's Future Primitive deck . I remember we walked into the skate shop someplace near Vancouver when I was like 6 and it was like the coolest thing I ever seen. My parents bought it for my brother (with pink grip tape which is rad) and we went home. I used to just look at that damn thing, if I skated it my brother would knock the shit out of me so looking at it was about all I could do. It looked raw as hell and I wanted it. When my brother wasn't home I would ride it SO carefully it almost wasn't skating but I knew if I scratched it he would know and get pissed. Anyways that deck and most skating stuff was, and continues to be, a big thing for me.

Aside from that a drew all the time when I was little. I would buy comic books just to draw the covers. I still got a huge stack of 80's Batman comics which have never been taken out of the plastic sleeve. I'd draw and re-draw the covers over and over again then put them back in the box. This went on for years and really never stopped. Drawing's still one of the best parts of the design deal. Do it as often as I can.

Where did you study and what were some of your first jobs?

I studied in my apartment. I never went to school. Actually that's not true, I went to a computer school in the mall food court where I didn't buy any text books, very rarely went to class and disliked nearly everybody else in the class, including the teachers (except for Marty!). The school used up my education fund in a single year, I did not attend graduation and I learned literally nothing. After "school" I got a job at a computer book store where I actually learned a whole bunch of shit. I would show up for work, grab a handful of design books and read everything. Even "liberated" a few books and brought them home. It was great.

I spent a bunch of money on a pointless school then got an actual education while getting paid $9 an hour. Weird.

First design jobs were freelancing, working for a university (which sucked) and then started my own company. Not a real long list but I never really wanted to work for a design firm. I've never been real good at kissing ass and hate being told what to do so I was probably destined to work for myself from the get-go.

Give us the elevator pitch on what you do.

Hey. So I make stuff for people. Like logos and drawings and stuff. When we have a good day we drink a few beer. The goal is to have a bunch of good days. Yep. Soooooo ....................Man, this elevator is taking forever hey? Like an unusually long time. What floor you going to? 72? Seriously? This building has 72 floors? Fuck this man, I'm getting out. You're an asshole.

What do you look for in a great portfolio?

Not much. We see a lot of portfolios, many of which seem to lack one key thing and that's genuine creativity. We love people going nuts and trying something most wouldn't. It can't always work out but hey, few things can. The work I do now is a bit more tame than the work I did 15 years ago but there's a good reason for that. I was stupid and inexperienced which is why I would go so hard in all the wrong ways. I didn't know what a bad decision was which allowed me to take misguided risks and try new things whether the project called for it or not. Some of the best shit comes out of playing around and going off in a pointless direction. These days I kinda know what the client needs which allows me to think critically about how I can solve their problem in a cool way rather than trying to shoehorn a cool thing I like into a half-ass solution just so I can get paid. Having said that I'm not a people-pleaser, we bust our ass to take calculated risks and make something we're proud of.

The long and short of it is heart and creativity go a long way with me. Serving a client's needs can be learned, dunking from the free throw line is in you when you're born.

What have been some of your biggest disasters and how have you learnt from it?

Thinking back there's really only one and that's trying to do everything myself. The one thing that can absolutely screw you is being over-extended. Emails, phone calls, meetings, planning, proposal writing, coding, invoicing, networking, accounting, taxes, marketing and then FINALLY designing SUCKS. I went far too long trying to do all of this and what I got was hypertension, crazy blood pressure, pissed off clients and an ignored family. You gotta learn from your limitations and focus on what you're good at. Project managers, developers, accountants and a whole bunch of other people exist for a reason. It's their job. Not yours. Let them help. I'm exceptionally fortunate to work with my wife, Ryann, who's Bully's account/project manager as well as our writer and this frees me up enormously to focus on design. Couldn't of do it alone and that's a damn fact.

What career advice would you give your 16yr old self?

Probably don't get a credit card until you fully understand what interest and owing a shitload of money actually is. Cash-only until you're like 27. Also don't buy a house until you're like 50. Not really career advice but good to know. Career-wise I'd say remove your ego from everything you do for your clients. It's not yours. It's theirs. You're just being paid to think of cool shit. Make your client and their clients happy. That's the job. Aside from that have fun, celebrate when shit goes right and don't get too bummed out when shit goes wrong. You're being paid for your brain which is a wildly inconsistent organ and that's cool, you'll think of something good tomorrow.

2016 for me in a sentence.

Good/bad/gnarly/hectic/fun/disappointing/encouraging/relaxing/infuriating/fulfilling/
educational/numbing/beer/friends/art/charity/family/not dying.

Website:

 bullydesign.co
Instagram:  @bullydesignco

Instagram:

 bullydesign.co
 @bullydesignco

Twitter:

 @bullydesignco

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