Revision Path

303: Brian Cherry

Episode Summary

Brian Cherry is driven and passionate about design! He's a true hustler--not only is he the Creative Director of Nutrisystem but he also runs his own design agency Cherry Fresh Designs. Brian is a nonstop force to be reckoned with in this industry and he has no signs of slowing down anytime soon! We chatted about everything from his career trajectory and education to hopes for the future of the industry. Brian is truly humble and inspiring while his insights and observations are keen and on point. If you've ever been afraid to pivot in your career or path this is the episode to listen to!

Episode Notes

Brian Cherry is driven and passionate about design! He's a true hustler--not only is he the Creative Director of Nutrisystem but he also runs his own design agency Cherry Fresh Designs. Brian is a nonstop force to be reckoned with in this industry and he has no signs of slowing down anytime soon!

We chatted about everything from his career trajectory and education to hopes for the future of the industry. Brian is truly humble and inspiring while his insights and observations are keen and on point. If you've ever been afraid to pivot in your career or path this is the episode to listen to!

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Episode Transcription

Maurice: All right. Tell us who you are and what you do.

Brian: I'm Brian Cherry. I'm from Philadelphia. I wear multi hats. I'm a creative director. I'm also a senior front end web developer at Nutrisystem. On a daily basis. At nighttime I run a digital agency called Cherry Fresh Designs.

Maurice: All right. Talk to me about the work that you're doing at Nutrisystem.

Brian: On a day to day basis, I'm the team lead on the email marketing. What we do is we actually develop responsive emails. We also develop landing pages and develop a lot of marketing campaigns throughout the flow of actually kind of remarketing clients as well as targeting new clients. My day to day basis will be actually developing the emails. It's actually taking emails and stuff like that from the creative development landing pages, developing ... your basic corporate core pages that actually target our various campaigns through Nutrisystem, Southeast Diet, Lean 13 and a few other clients that we actually work with. We're actually under the Tivity Health banner, so we should be ramping up with more things under the Tivity Health banner within the next year.

Maurice: Okay. Because I was curious if there were a lot of design needs at something like Nutrisystem. I'll be honest, I only hear about it when I see the commercial with Maria Osman talking about eating Nutrisystem meals or something. What other design needs aside from the email marketing do you have to do there or do you work with?

Brian: Basic maintenance up, for the upsight actually you, we actually develop marketing campaigns. We probably camp, about maybe five marketing campaigns for that. And that's that's basically targeting clients, upselling to older clients, remarketing clients that actually are under the umbrella that actually used it and actually say, "Hey, you want to use it again?" For example, we deal with things like diet season and stuff like that. Which is the window pocket of time you actually have to sell the people that are actually trying to get healthy. What we do on a day basis, actually, we have, it gets an influx of time throughout, I'd say, November to March where we actually market hard core to actually people that actually actually trying to lose weight and actually get healthy and things like that.

Maurice: If you're running those marketing campaigns are, I'm assuming that's a perennial campaign. Like you said, it's every November through March, but how are you, I guess finding that information or is it through the website or any kind of other intake methods?

Brian: Yeah, we intake through the website, we intake through social media, through to people that actually call in from the actual, via commercials. Like you said, you know Marie Osman because that's the commercials and things like that. I know when I'm working out in the gym and stuff like that, I always see the commercials so people call and use that phone. We actually targets the actual people that are actually coming to the website from, or the actual calling the actual site to actually kind of order and place orders and things like that.

Maurice: Okay. How do you approach a new project? Let's say you've got a new campaign or something that you all need to roll out. Talk me through that process.

Brian: The processes we started off, we actually first to figure out if it's a actual, if it's in our male demographic or in our female demographic or gender neutral demographic. From that we actually take either data based off of the categories that we put them in from, "Hey, they run in this age range. Hey, they run in this actual eating plan per se." Hey, some people don't want to do Keto. Some people want to do a low fat. Some people don't want to, are, have gluten allergies. Some people are diabetic. We actually have to take into those type of variables. We're actually kind of marketing to the actual people that actually need the actual products.

Maurice: What would you say it takes to be a designer at Nutrisystem?

Brian: It takes creativity, actually. Understanding what hierarchy, visual hierarchies and things Because we actually do so many things with targeting, price points, and percentages, and discounts or things like that. You actually had to know, you have to know visual hierarchy, color concepts based off of the actual ads that were actually running. It's basically ran similar to your average creative agency where we actually get creative requests from the business office and they, from that we actually do project planning, sprint planning, things like that to actually figure out how we're actually going on target and execute these type of things.

Maurice: It sounds like there's a lot of data involved in it. Especially when you were talking about the retargeting. Now, that's something that I do hear about mostly through web ads. For example, if you visit something on Amazon that places a cookie or something on your computer, so then when you visit other websites, that same thing that you saw keeps popping up in other ads and things like that. It's interesting how much data goes into it. I didn't realize that.

Brian: Data is king ... on anything. From actually Amazon, from Facebook marketing, from your basic mom and pop shop. The design doesn't stop when you actually, when you first launch the website. It actually continues when you actually get that and actually targeted to other people.

Maurice: Now outside of Nutrisystem you have your own design studio. Can you talk to me about that?

Brian: Sure. I started Cherry First Designs maybe in 1998 when I was at Hampton. It wasn't called that back then, but it was, the foundation of it started there from me actually helping kids with class and saying, "Yo, I need an illustration for a project. Can you do it for me? I need something designed for a project. Can you do it for me?" That kind of gave me that entrepreneurial spirit of actually saying, "Hey, I can actually make money as an artist." From that, I started kind of transitioning from print design to actually web design and then started consulting and contracting for companies like Geico, Comcast, Pfizer, and a few other other companies throughout my years. That actually lead me to where I'm actually lead now.

Maurice: And you say you've been doing it since '98 so that's over 20 years.

Brian: Yup.

Maurice: Wow. Congratulations.

Brian: Thanks. It's been a struggle, but as ... I feel like I don't know how to do anything else but be a creative. I can run a business. I'm business savvy, but the heart of me is a creative that actually likes to get money at the same time. I don't know how to come up with a cool fly name for that, but that's what I feel like I am.

Maurice: How has it been a struggle? I'm curious.

Brian: Just try to evolve. Because again, think about it. We're talking about '98. Web 1.0 was around at that time. You had things like where everybody at one time wanted everything done in Flash. And something like Flash to me was actually my gateway drug in actually programming. The cool fly stuff that I could actually do with Flash lead me to saying, "Hey, wait a minute. Flash is not only a plug and play cool thing, it's obstacle oriented." It kind of helped me become that hybrid between a designer and a developer per se. And it took me just kind of like I said, usually learning on the fly and actually building the proper experience that I need to actually try to run the business, get clients and things like that.

Maurice: Yeah. I don't know if a lot of clients realize that there's a lot of research and development and trial and error that has to go into, really, when you have a design studio you can't stay stagnant. I know that because I ran my own studio for nine years, so I know that clients kind of can pigeonhole you into one thing if there's one thing you do for them really well and they expect that you will continue to do that thing forever.

Maurice: When I started out, I did a lot of email newsletters, which I think were good back in the day. And I eventually ended up kind of shifting to still doing email newsletters but doing it as part of an overall kind of marketing campaigns. We would do it if you also had a website and a campaign that went through it. And then we only worked with one vendor. We worked with Mailchimp. Even just taking that and trying to evolve it along those lines, we ended up losing customers that way because they only wanted the one thing that you did and they never wanted it to change or they never thought you would change from it I guess.

Brian: Exactly, exactly. Yeah. Sometimes the customer is always right, but sometimes the customer doesn't necessarily know the answer. They just feel like they're right. They will be stuck on something such as, "Hey, we want to do it this way." But we're like, "No. Stop sending faxes. We got email." To use that as a metaphor, at the time people were faxing things and printing things up, but it's like, "Well, who has a fax machine now?" Versus when I can just send them a random email or text message to actually get an answer or get some data we're get, send a form or something like that. You have to evolve as well as the people around you have to evolve as well if that makes sense.

Maurice: How do you, I guess, educate your clients then in that way?

Brian: I pretty much try to keep it very simple. I try to explain to them certain things. I try to use what I've learned through my years of going to Hampton and going to the Academy of Arts and explain to them that design is not painting a picture. Design is part psychology, part visual. For example, just a color contrast on something as a button, where it's like let's say for instance if I have a yellow button and it's white and the background behind it is white, nobody's going to see that. You have to kind of educate them on call to actions, how certain fonts may fit into it and things like that. You might get somebody going, "Yeah, I want to font that's glitter." How's that glitter going to translate if it's reduced to the size of a logo on a pen? You're not going to be able to be able to see that.

Brian: You have to kind of be able to actually explain to your clients what's going to work for them, how is it going to work and then just come up with some type of happy medium to actually help them and educate them on things that are actually .... helpful for, be successful when it comes to actually visuals things like that.

Maurice: Since starting your business, what would you say have been the three most important things that you've learned?

Brian: Communication is the first. I used to be one of those, wanting to be one of those mad scientists, lock myself in a room and just create type of type of individual. I was more on the introvert scale and now somewhat I'm actually more in on the ambivert scale because I've had to force myself to actually speak to people and communicate to people not just necessarily via an email, actually maybe a face to face meeting or actually via a Skype or something like that in order to actually get the correct results.

Brian: The second would be, I guess, determination and hard work. Kind of actually making sure that you see the task through, you're actually making sure that the task is executed correctly and you're actually focusing on the actual goals and needs of that actual client.

Brian: The third thing would be organization and talent management and that's organizing your life or your business. That's just actually trying to having a work life balance so that you can actually be healthy. You can actually travel, you can do fun things and you're not burning yourself out as a designer. Because sometimes we want to spend three days on a project, but we have to understand that it doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to be right for that actual scenario. And these are the things that I learned from actually being a software developer where we're actually planning off sprints and planning out a tasks that actually meet an actual end goal.

Maurice: Okay. What are the next steps of growth for your business?

Brian: Sure. The next step would be actually expanding on the business now and actually kind of ramping it up so that the end goal would be from here and now we'll be actually expanding to actually have more growth with my actual team. Sometimes I'm a one man band, but a lot of times I also actually have help. My goal would actually be to actually have a full fledged agency where I'm actually have a super big staff and that staff actually does the super cool stuff that I want to do. Working for companies, maybe Nike, maybe a big scale nonprofits and anybody else that actually feels like they would actually need what I provide.

Maurice: Okay. Alright. Now talk about where you grew up. Now, I know that we've spent a lot of time just right now talking about your current work, but I'm interested in learning about you from the beginning. Where did you grow up?

Brian: I grew up in Philly. I started out as an artist, just kind of like making my way. I was always been creative. I used to draw stuff off of family, draw stuff from school. Got inspired by my man, Bob Ross, like pretty much every artist out there. On a Saturday morning and just kind of, just saying, "Hey, I want to do this type of stuff." Art was always just something that stuck with me. And I guess when I saw Boomerang and things like that, I was like, "Oh wow, there's an this for actual ... I want to be an agency. I want to do this type of thing. I want to be very creative."

Maurice: It sounds like design was always kind of a big part of your childhood then?

Brian: Yup, definitely was. From actually design jean jackets for friends because my mom was like, "Well no, I'm not paying that money for a jean jacket." I drew drew on my own jean jacket and everybody liked it so I started doing that type of stuff.

Maurice: When did you know that this could be something you'd do as a career though?

Brian: Maybe senior in high school. I had my first graphic design class in high school and we actually had Illustrator. We had the very first version of Illustrator, but this was more the old school, you learned how to actually kind of ... white strip and do cut outs the old school way. It wasn't how it is now where I can just crank them with Photoshop and actually just kinda use the pen tool and just kind of do a cut out. We actually had to do the stripping. You had to actually do the paste ups and and other things like that to actually getting things set up for printers and stuff like that. Up until then I thought I was just going to be an architect, but then I kind of was like, "No, you can do this." All this type of stuff with graphic design and then from ...

Brian: Brian, you can do this. All this type of stuff with graphic design and then from there, like me going to Hampton, I got there and I said, "Oh so wait a minute, I can actually build a website. I can actually do interactive graphics, I can do-" There was so much stuff that I learned that I could actually do in the realm of actually graphic design, which now lead to me actually doing software development, building apps and stuff like that because there's always some design element needed in life. Think about it from a stop sign. That's actual visual design right there, you know. Don't park. That's another element of visual design. We're actually developing icons and things like that to actually building websites where you're not making a user think. You're actually helping them with the visual flow of the actual site and actually how they actually go through the actual site from placing an order or just getting basic information like maybe building a quiz or something like that.

Maurice: So I'm curious, I mean you're in Philly. What drew you to Hampton?

Brian: One of my favorite artists was there and, from what I understand, I had friends, like older people that were in my church, they were like, "Yeah, you should go there, you should try it out." John Bickers was one of my favorite artists, like him and Ernie Barnes, like as a kid they were like one and two to me. Then, maybe Basquiat to Andy Warhol. And when I learned that John Bickers actually went to Hampton, I was like, "Oh wow." So that going to Hampton, just going out. Going things like high school day and seeing this atmosphere that you feel about, that you thought was part school days, but it's nothing like school days because it's actually a lot cooler if I should say. Where you're around all these strong individuals. Smart, beautiful, funny. Just trying to be better parts of the actual world.

Maurice: Mm-hmm (affirmative). I mean I feel like I have to interject here about school day since it was based off of Morehouse where I went to school, but-

Brian: We're probably saying the same thing for the simple fact that, yeah, it just wasn't a different world even though Hampton was supposed to be, I mean a different realm. It was supposed to be based off of the Black Ivy League and stuff like that. But when I got there I learned there was a lot more to it. There was a lot more culture. There was a lot room to where I'm pretty sure how you experienced it at Morehouse where iron sharpen iron.

Maurice: Yeah, that's true. That's very true. And I know that Hampton also has a really strong legacy of art and design. I mean we've had a few former guests on the show who went to Hampton, most notably Douglas Davis and Nakita Pope.

Brian: I was there. I was probably like a freshman when Doug and Nakita Pope were there.

Maurice: Really? Wow. Look at that, small world. Delaney West, Jole Simmons actually we did an article last year. This is back when we had our blog, we did a whole article about the art and design program at Hampton from a Hampton alum. So I know that there's just a lot of history there in the school about art and design. So it sounds like you were able to pick up on a lot of that while you were there.

Brian: Definitely. It was definitely like a gladiator school. We were coming from the world, like again, I was there with Doug and Nakita when they were freshmen so it was like, we were getting part of the computer part of it, but we were also still learning the old school parts of it that kind of helped me work with specialty arts and manufacturing companies and stuff like that. To where you thought you might've been drawing all the time. No, you still need to learn AutoCAD at the time you had to learn AutoCAD, but then we learned Illustrator. Now Illustrator is the actual norm besides AutoCAD and Corel Draw. So you to learn those various techniques as well as you know, have some type of balance, some type of time management and just kind of like have your fun and enjoy life at the same time, if that makes sense.

Maurice: So you go to Hampton, you get your degree, you graduate. Tell me about what that early career was like once you got out there. Do you feel like Hampton prepped you for the working world once you got out there and started becoming a designer?

Brian: It prepped me because Hampton taught me how to hustle, you know, and that means, "Hey, I'm a black entrepreneur," I threw parties down there and stuff like that. So having to actually talk to people on a day to day basis, actually have pitched myself, deal with the rejection of not getting jobs fresh out of school, but still being able to kind of like find my way to get money through art as an entrepreneur. The foundation and the tools that was taught me, again, I learned Illustrator, which actually led me to my first job working for a specialty arts and manufacturing company.

Brian: But that job actually, I was able to build my very first corporate website through them because I was like, "Hey, you guys don't necessarily have a web presence, can I do websites?" So they was like, "Yeah, you still have to do your normal core task of actually developing the art work and the pasting and the mock ups that are needed. But in the meantime, with your free time, go away and build a website for them." So it helped me get the experience. It helped me kind of like build a foundation to never quit, never say die and don't say "Can't", say "Why can't you?"

Maurice: Yeah. And you did some agency work for a good while too.

Brian: Yep.

Maurice: What did that experience teach you?

Brian: It taught me foundation. It taught me the foundation and the fundamentals that you don't necessarily learn inside of an actual classroom. It taught me how to understand at the time when I was working for print, to understand between pixels, picas and inches and things like that. Far as like type settings and stuff like that, that you might think that, "Hey I want to create the next source." You need to know fundamentals of actually developing type setting and stuff like that to actually build the actual magazine, those types of things back [inaudible 00:19:38]. It helped me actually expand everything to where I am now so where I can actually code. I can actually still design, I can actually art direct. I can creative direct and actually just execute something on par.

Maurice: Mm-hmm (affirmative). I mean I think certainly for a lot of us that started designing like in the nineties like that, a lot of this stuff had to be self-taught so we had to be these like jack of all trades in a way. You know, there wasn't the option to just be a specialist on one type of thing, which I think is very different from now with job roles and things like that. A lot of people are specialized into just doing one thing and then from our, you know, just from the school of how we came up with learning and stuff, we had to know everything. You have to know how to code and you have to know how to do visual design and type setting and I know even with some of the projects I did, I also had to write, I had to write, I had to edit like I had to be the whole design department in a way.

Brian: Yeah. You had to kind of learn to be the actual firm. Some people talk about people and they're saying like, you shouldn't be a jack of all trades, but you know us as smart, intelligent, black brothers, you still had to learn how to be twice as good.

Maurice: This is true. Very true.

Brian: So actually having to learn how to wear many hats and actually executing those hats was something that was great for the fundamentals of actually learning how to do something because it's like, you can't necessarily like, you know how in Coming to America, He was like, "Yeah, I'm mopping up now, but pretty soon over at the fry." Like you got to learn how to mop in order to cut the fries, you know what I'm saying? Then they do stuff to the cash register.

Maurice: Oh man. I had a feel that you were going to go there when you said that too. Actually, I'm going to take a slight detour. So speaking of, you mentioned Boomerang as kind of being an inspiration for you. By chance, did you see the new Boomerang series that was on BET this year?

Brian: Yep.

Maurice: What did you think of it? I'm really curious because I haven't really talked about this on the show and I want- Oh my God, I so wanted to talk about it, like I wanted to do like a one off episode where we discussed the whole season. So I haven't really went into it, but I'm curious if you've seen it and if you have, what are your thoughts on it.

Brian: I liked the actual play on a lot of stuff that they actually did. Some of the actual episodes, they hit the mark, some didn't, but that's like most TV shows, if that make sense.

Maurice: I hated it. I hated it. Did not like the show at all. I think- To me I feel like they were really coasting off of nostalgia that people would know. I mean of course Boomerang is part of quote unquote the culture in that it's a movie that we've all seen. I think particularly for us that are in the creative field. It was like the first movie that we saw where we saw people that looked like us, that like dressed fly and that went to nice places and they were making money being creative. That was like the first time we really got to see that and I didn't like the show because I don't feel like they really showed a lot of that. Like they showed definitely the romance part, you know, with Bryson and Simone and whatever. Like they showed that and they had the extra characters and things. I didn't really get to see, cause I mean, yes, boomerang was a, you know, romantic comedy, but do you actually like saw them working? You saw what a pitch meeting was and-

Brian: Well the romantic comedy was, it was Seinfeld, I should say before it was Seinfeld. Seinfeld was adorable as far as it was a show about nothing. They just having to work inside of- It was a movie about nothing. They just happened to work in through an agency and the romantic aspects of how life goes on at an ad agency, which was the dopest thing alive, ad design, for me as a kid.

Maurice: The show though, I felt like they could have done more than that. Like I felt like we saw it at the beginning, like the first episode and then we saw, I want to say maybe the next to last episode where there was like this me too part and the Marcus Graham Agency was closing and I'm like, "We didn't really get to see them do any work."

Brian: That was one of my breaks with the actual show was, it was kind of like they tried to throw so many modern pop topics when they didn't have to do that. They could've just told the story.

Maurice: Yeah.

Brian: That was the thing where I was just like, some of this stuff is dope, but we don't necessarily need to see this to tell the story.

Maurice: Yeah, and I would think not only that, I feel like they did a poor job with, and we'll get back to the the interview part, but like I also feel like they did a really poor job with some of the characterization of people that weren't on the show. Like for example, the whole subplot for about two or three episodes where Bryson and Simone might be brother and sister because Jacquelyn was like, "Oh, well I don't know who your daddy is. It might be Marcus." And I'm like, "Would she really be like that after 20 years when she was never like that in the movie?" Like that feels really petty.

Brian: Right, right, right, right. I didn't like how they made Drew from Everybody Hates Chrismas. He was like the coolest bad boy ever, but then he just [inaudible 00:24:45] , right, he was like, "Oh, no, what's going on?"

Maurice: Well, I mean when I heard the pitch from it, they were like, "Yeah, it's going to be, you go from like the black millennial perspective and it's going to be about work and about Korea." And I'm like, "No. It's about basically relationships." I thought it was going to at least have some more of that angle in there besides like Simone trying to get the chick from Instagram, from the strip club, like trying to get her clients. It just felt really off in general. It felt like it was trying to be Atlanta's little sister, like it was trying to be like Marietta in a way.

Brian: Yeah, you hit it right on the nose.

Maurice: Yeah, I know people are going to be like, they loved the show, but whatever. I didn't like it. So earlier you were talking about not learning in the classroom and being able to go out there and work in the working world, but later on you did end up going back to school and you got your masters degree. Talk to me about that decision.

Brian: I knew that- Again you've got to remember, when I went back to grad school YouTube wasn't as big as it is now. To piggyback off what you were talking about, how trying to find those resources, it got to a point where I was in Barnes and Noble and I was like, "I'm spending too much money on books that I don't necessarily- They're going to give me a tutorial, I can follow this tutorial, this, that and the third. But I need more structure and foundation."

Maurice: I would copy the tutorials out of those books. You mentioned Barnes and Noble. I used to live across the street from one. I would go in there and go into one quiet corner and just be taking pictures and like I'll go back and figure it out later. Yeah.

Brian: Right. So it got to the point where I was just like, I feel like I need more and I feel like I can do more. So that again, I was trying to be like the next flash animator, like software engineer type of guy and then midway through my actual matriculation at the academy or art university, the first iPhone drops and it's just like, "Oh yeah. By the way, now we've got an iPad." So I'm actually working for building these various flash widgets at a GEICO and for Pfizer and they're all interactive and e-learning based off of the stuff that I learned via Flash and actually learn XML and all types of other stuff that I looked at it and then was like, okay. It got to one point where I got an assignment when I was working at Pfizer and it was like, "Yeah, we want you to edit this widget in Flash, but also we need you to kind of like create a mobile version of it now."

Brian: So that kind of, it was like, "Alright, I know a little bit of Javascript, I know a little bit of..." And anything else I can learn? So I'm sitting there like, "Wow, like yeah, I have to change," because at the time I wanted to build- I had loved Nike's stuff so much I wanted to build those shoe customizers and stuff like that. I did my whole thesis on it, like I pitched it. Everything was a go. I was going to do it in Flash, this, that and the third, and next you know, it was like, "Yeah, nobody's going to be using Flash in the next year, so you need to do something else again." I was lucky enough to where I was like, "Okay, I can pivot on it and off, and I know enough Javascript, HTML5 at the time, to actually pass and actually do that, but I feel like that was one of the things that grad school taught me.

Brian: But, I feel like that was one of the things that grad school taught me. That you should never be afraid to pivot.

Maurice: I mean Apple really killed Flash. I don't know if that's something that a lot of designers really even keep in mind. I mean, don't get me wrong, a lot of what Apple does tends to change what the design landscape becomes. When, like you said, the iPhone came out. There were smartphones before that, but there were none that, I think, put the web in such an easy to use package for everyone. Because I remember... Do you remember WAP, W-A-P? I remember... Oh my god. I remember having to make WAP pages and stuff like that. So, you still had ways where mobile information was being put forth on a phone, but it wasn't in the context that Apple did it, where it was like, oh this is my web browser on a phone. Whereas before, if you used a Trio or a PalmPilot or something, it's like, oh, this is a web-like experience on my phone. It's a totally different thing.

Maurice: Even with other things that Apple has done, in early versions of iOS with the skeuomorphisms, so you had everything with these different textures, and stuff like that. The leather had a little pebbly thing to it, or wood had a grain to it. There's a lot of stuff that Apple's done that's changed the game, and I think really putting, like... I think, really putting Flash six feet under was a huge step in the industry. It was huge.

Brian: Because again, at that time we were doing it with Web 2.0, and Web 3.0 was starting, but it wasn't how it is now. And that was the beauty of me actually learning how to pivot, and actually knowing a little bit of code at the time. I was able to be like, okay I can kind of like... I can do this through CSS3, and I can do this through JavaScript, and I had no issues actually executing what I needed to execute. So that was one takeaway from ... That I would never be afraid to pivot, because the thing about evolution is, life is always evolving, and you got to actually evolve with it sometimes.

Maurice: Yeah. Now being in the industry for so long, what is the next wave or next trend that you see coming over the horizon?

Brian: More mobile-first design, as far as when it comes to actually developing websites and apps and stuff like that. You still have a lot of Illustrator type stuff, and stuff going away from the skeuomorphism. I guess just to make sure things are clear, sleek, and things like that. You're going to see a lot more branding because we're getting it to the realm of where you're going to have voice coming around where it's like, yo Alexa, I want a cheeseburger. Versus, yo Alexa, I want Five Guys. You're going to have to deal with that type of stuff. So branding is going to be something that's on the rise, mobile-first design and your basic formatting of actually still needing other design elements throughout life.

Maurice: Now let's switch gears here. I know, again, we've been talking a lot about your work and everything like that. But I want to go more into just, kind of, you as a person. Now, you mentioned growing up in Philly, moving around a lot. What do you think helps fuel the ambitions that you have? Because I mean, you have a regular nine-to-five, and you've got this business that you have for twenty years. Where does the drive to do that come from?

Brian: The Philly hustle. Actually understanding that you should always keep moving. It's always better to have your hands in more pies than other, for the most part. It's always great to have more than one string. It's always good to find a way to actually protect your assets. Always good to actually find ways where you bring more money in than you actually spend.

Maurice: Who are some of the people that influence you?

Brian: I'm old-school as far as design. You got your [Paul Wrens 00:31:46], you got Basquiat, you got John Biggers, you got the greats, like Jay-Zs, the greats like ... Everybody, [Michael Meggs 00:31:54], Martin Luther King. Just to actually be a better person. Those are some of the people that actually influence.

Maurice: What would you say you're the most excited about at the moment right now? Is it regards to your business, or design, or anything like that?

Brian: I have two great opportunities as far as two clients that I'm actually working with now that I am very excited about what they're actually trying to build. So I'm very excited that I can help them as far as actually build those type of things. And once they are actually launched, I can speak about them more.

Maurice: Okay. Do you feel like you're satisfied, creatively?

Brian: Yeah, because I'm always going to doodle or... So it's like, anything that I can do to feed that creative need, I actually do. So I always feel like I can always get better because you can always get better.

Maurice: Is there a dream project that you have that you'd like to work on or like to do one day?

Brian: Yeah. I'd love to work on a big Nike ad, I'd love to work for a big ad on somebody like [USCF 00:32:50], that actually help social change. Those type of ads. So it would be great for a governor or a big candidate politically... While I know you've said you've done... I know I've listened to your podcast a few times, and you talk about working with political people. I've worked for a few in the actual city, and I was happy to help them with the last few elections. But I actually want to help change.

Brian: I'm actually working with a client now called Progress Plaza. Progress is the very first mall in the United States African American owned. We actually just launched that project, and I'm happy that we can preserve the history as well as keep them going. Because they are... The people that are actually in that organization are direct reflects of me as a person, because they are people that were role models and mentors in my life, that taught me to not only, hey, get a nine-to-five, or become an entrepreneur, but actually give back to your community, help the community, and actually help create change in the world.

Maurice: What advice would you give to somebody that's listening to this episode, and they want to follow in your footsteps and do what you're doing with working a nine-to-five but also doing this on the side? Getting involved in social change and stuff. What advice would you give?

Brian: Learn how to focus, master some steps, actually get out there and do some things. Don't just sit there and read a book, and then continuously read the book. I know for me, and I'm pretty sure with you, how you learn design, it wasn't just physically just reading a book. It was kind of like a science, per se. You had to learn the book, but you actually had to do a creative lag for these projects.

Maurice: It's a lot of trial and error. It's so funny you mentioned that, because someone asked me today, because we're doing our 300th episode of it this evening, and someone was like, how'd you stay so consistent? What books did you read? I was like, there's no books for this stuff. You just get out there, you do it. You have trial and error, you make systems, you outsource what you can, and plan for the rest. There's no book that's going to teach you how to be consistent, or anything like that, you know what I mean?

Maurice: You have to, I think you have to have the love for it, which it certainly sounds like you do. You have to have a love for this. And then, just the drive to do it. I've never taken a design course, which is funny, because I've taught design courses. But with books, I was just like, snapshotting books... I have design books at home that I've read and stuff like that, but even then, I wasn't like, book open at the computer, step-by-step things. It was taking what you learn and then just applying it in different ways, and seeing how it works, so... yeah.

Brian: No webinar is actually going to show you how to do this, no book is actually going to show you how to do this [crosstalk 00:35:46].

Maurice: Oh God. There was definitely a time in my business where I was attending so many webinars, thinking that that was going to help me, and I'm like, no, you have to take that knowledge and apply it. It's not just hearing it from people, or reading it. You have to actually do it.

Brian: Exactly. I remember I reach out to you, maybe like four or five years ago.

Maurice: I remember that! I remember that.

Brian: 'Cause I had actually just finished the 10k class, and you were like, I [crosstalk 00:36:15], I can't afford [crosstalk 00:36:17].

Maurice: I remember that. Yeah. Oh man. So, what's next for you? What do you want to do in the next five years? What's on the horizon for you?

Brian: Five years, I have a brand that I'm actually working on and I'm trying to build, as far as a clothing brand. So, I kind of want to launch that and get that off the ground. But I also want to actually... I actually have a non-profit that I'm creating called Life Career. And what Life Career... It's me and a couple of my friends from Hampton, and a few from the actual city of Philadelphia. What we're actually trying to do, is we're trying to do similar to what you're doing with Revision Path, except it's a different thing as far as, you're actually showcasing black designers. We're actually trying to showcase that there's other things in life you can do except for rap and play sports.

Brian: If you want to play a sport, you can... Or if you want to be into sports, you can be an agent. Or you can be the cameraman behind... that works for ESPN. Or, there's a lot of other opportunities that are going to open themselves up for you, as far as becoming some of these things. Because one of the things about me was, as a kid, I remember being in a basketball camp, and this was my first lesson in selection in life, as [inaudible 00:37:33] was like, we picked all you guys here, these are the stars. They gave us one of those, I don't know if they ever, they did this to you at Morehouse, but it [crosstalk 00:37:45] type scenarios. I got one... My first lesson in that in basketball camp in like '89. And I was like, uh, okay, I can try to get better, but they already told us that two of us are going to go to college and none of us in here are going to the NBA.

Brian: So I'm in there, in the camp, and I would do my drills and everything like that, but I found the computer lab when I was in there. So, the time that I didn't have any games, I was sneaking off into the computer lab, just learning on the first Macs, actually drawing, and all types of other stuff that I could do. So, I say that because basketball, it led me to art. Because I knew I wasn't going to be 6'5". I could jump a little bit, I had an okay jumper, but I already knew that, yeah, I'm not walking into nobody's division one, so I needed to learn how to do something else.

Brian: And that's where art has done to me, and that's what Life Career is going to do with other people. We're going to say that hey, there are these opportunities. Hey, you want to become a clothing designer, let's kind of like... We're partnering with this organization and we're going to actually show you how... show the kids how to actually make money as a clothing designer, how to generate ads, how to develop ads, how to do things that actually give you soft skills or strong skills to actually become better people.

Maurice: Okay. Nice. Well, just to wrap things up here, Brian, where can our audience find out more about you and about your work online?

Brian: Sure. You can find me at, on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. You can search Brian Cherry on LinkedIn.

Maurice: All right, sounds good. Well, Brian Cherry, I want to thank you so much for coming on the show. I know people are going to listen to this, and they're going to wonder, are we related? And I thought that too, because I looked at your picture, and I was [inaudible 00:39:39], I was like, he kind of looks like he could be a cousin or something.

Brian: We probably-

Maurice: We might be, I'll tell you, there's a lot of black Cherrys out there, it could be, but... I think it's great that not only are you doing your nine-to-five work, and of course, certainly using that to further your professional career, but that you've also kept up with your business, and that you're doing that to give back to the community and everything. I think it's important for people to realize that, as you so eloquently said, we can do more things with designers than just make a flier or design a website or something. There's ways that we can take our skills and put them out there and use them for good and use them out there in the world. And it certainly sounds like that's what you're doing. So thank you again so much for coming on the show. I appreciate it.

Brian: I appreciate it. Thank you for having me.