Carly Ayres joins me for episode 6 of the podcast! Carly's superpower is her voice and how she is able to discuss design in an inclusive and empowering way. On this episode Carly takes me through her experience through design school all the way up to running a studio with her colleagues and much more.
Jon Sorrentino: On this episode. I'm excited to welcome my guest, Carly Ayres, writer and creative director, previously partner at the studio, HAWRAF, Google creative labs alum and the founder of the influential creative community, hundreds under a hundred. Carly, thank you so much for joining me today.
Carly Ayres: [00:01:46] It's great to be here.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:01:47] You just mentioned that you're originally from Florida.
Carly Ayres: [00:01:51] I am.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:01:51] Grew up in a small town, what was it called?
Carly Ayres: [00:01:53] Bradenton
Jon Sorrentino: [00:01:54] Bradenton
Carly Ayres: [00:01:56] Bradenton, it's on the Gulf coast by Sarasota and Tampa. It's one of those towns where you name like all the neighboring cities and hopes that someone has some connection to something really close to it. Totally. Manatee County. Home of the Manatee hurricanes.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:02:11] Manatee hurricanes. What is that? Is that a hockey team?
Carly Ayres: [00:02:15] You know well, that was our high school football. Okay. But technically our mascot was Billy the blowhard.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:02:23] Wow. So naming is really...
Carly Ayres: [00:02:26] It's a real struggle there.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:02:28] Carly, as I was doing my research, I mean this in the most sincerest way, but it could be said that you were given the gift of gab as a kid.
Carly Ayres: [00:02:38] Yes. And now, and to this day.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:02:41] To this day, I mean, you know, I relate cause my mom would say that if I walk into a room of strangers, at least one of those people will come out as a friend. You know, you're just able to like walk up to people. Um, when did that start for you?
Carly Ayres: [00:02:52] Oh gosh. Oh. I've always been very talkative.
I've always been very much a social butterfly. I actually remember thinking that I was introverted growing up. I think it was like my third grade teacher was asking the class. He's like, now who hears interfered? And I was like, me, I'm introverted. Yeah. Something like that. And he was like, he's like, yeah.
You are the least introverted person in this entire classroom. And I think that was my, uh, first step towards self awareness around a, sometimes I am the loudest one in the room.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:03:19] There's no problem with that. It's knowing when to harness that a little bit and when to let other people speak, and obviously that comes with experience.
Carly Ayres: [00:03:28] Yeah, that's definitely something I've been consciously working on too, I'd say in the last few years of just like making sure like. And asking questions and listening and being curious about the other person as well. Cause I think sometimes when you're excited to talk, you're excited to meet someone, you can just really fill the space.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:03:43] Completely. Was there anyone that influenced you when you were younger to follow a creative inkling or anything like that?
Carly Ayres: [00:03:51] I think, I mean, I always grew up in a very creative household. Like my mom, she would crochet beads on taller socks and she like built and designed a puppet theater that she made one for our home and then gave one to my pre-K so that we could all do like a doorway puppet performance.
Um, and everyone was always making things. I remember my dad, when we were doing remodels on our house, he was building the house out of foam core with hot glue and building like a scale model. And so I think there is always, uh, even though they're both professionally and medicine, there's always kind of like a creative bend.
And they definitely encouraged me to like take classes and go to like the community college on the weekends. And I'd take like still life painting courses there and the like.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:04:36] So eventually you end up going to RISD, which is like one of the, when I started to apply to schools, you know, RISD is like the far reaching.
You're like, good students go there. The good creatives go there talent wise.
Carly Ayres: [00:04:50] I grew up in Florida so I had no idea what RISD was when I was in Florida. The only reason I actually ended up applying was because my mother's father had gone there and he had passed away when she was in college, so it was more of a, a gesture to her and to his legacy to even consider applying there.
The other 11 schools that I applied to because I'm that type of person were all engineering programs. I was looking at engineering and industrial design, and RISDD happened to have an industrial design program as part of their design curriculum, and I remember we visited once and it was raining. And I thought it sucked.
And then we visited once when it was sunny and I fell in love with it.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:05:30] So what's the ratio of, of nice days to rain in?
Carly Ayres: [00:05:34] Well, coming from Florida, anywhere above the Mason Dixon line, there's a little bit more rain, a little bit more snow. It's a little colder in general, although it rains every day in Florida, kind of like around two o'clock. It's real tropical.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:05:45] Just just like an every forecast.
Carly Ayres: [00:05:47] Like thunderstorm, like every afternoon just gets like really hot. And then I'm like it cools off.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:05:53] What was the application process like for RISD?
Carly Ayres: [00:05:55] Oh, well, and I think it's actually changed since then, but um. They have, of course, the infamous bike drawing that you do.
And for that, I had my sister get in the pool with my bike and I tried to draw the bike underwater or no, you know, really creative.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:06:12] Not tear the lining up. Your parents are like, "watch the, watch the lining."
Carly Ayres: [00:06:15] What are you doing? Yeah. But I remember even a, they do like a big show with all those bike drawings and you get there.
And I remember walking in to the gallery where they had all the accepted students. At the end, like you kind of like walk down this, these rows of, uh, bikes and the one of the grant, there's like Jesus and he's carrying a bike on his shoulders, like perfectly articulated, like super muscular and like the bike is like cutting into his back and there's like blood.
And I was like, holy shit, I'm way out of my fucking league looking at my drawing and like looking around the room and I was like, . It's Jesus. It's Jesus carrying a basical on his shoulder. So yeah.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:06:53] Yeah. I mean, how do you confidently submit that in an application and you're just like, yeah, this is good.
Carly Ayres: [00:06:58] This is it. And you have to like fold it to, to like show your humility at least that. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And then there's essays, and at the time we submitted slides, which seems wild now. Yeah. A few different things.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:07:11] While you're in school, you were very active in terms of extracurricular, you know, volunteering, student organizations, things like that.
You also organize and formed a publication. Where you would talk to alumni.
Carly Ayres: [00:07:23] Oh yeah, I did do that.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:07:25] What was that called?
Carly Ayres: [00:07:26] RISD-id.org I remember that so that.
Good research good research.
I remember that came about when I entered the industrial design department. So the way structured kind of like your freshman year is all foundations.
You're doing like 2d, 3d and then like eight hour charcoal studios where you're just like drawing naked people. Yeah. Drawing naked people, which was also very new for me for coming from very conservative part of Florida. And then I entered the industrial design department, and I remember when you would Google RISD industrial design online.
They didn't have much of a digital presence at all. The only thing that would come up was this core 77 forum post where they said, why you should never ever hire a RISD industrial design graduate. And I was like, Oh, this is, this does not bode well for my, uh, my future career in anyway. Yeah. I was like, wait, we've got to turn this ship around.
And I remember I like went to like, gosh, I went to like the digital department and like the communications department, and I was like, come on. Like, can we get like a website up? I really want to like start something to bump this first search result down. And uh, no one, no one would give me permission to.
But uh, did it anyways, uh, with a few other Intrepid industrial design students, we started a blog where we interviewed students and faculty and alum, and eventually beat out that core 77 forum post for top SEO rights.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:08:49] Before SEO started to become. Through that publication, you were able to meet the president, John Maeda.
I know John Maeda it through his various press appearances on Bloomberg and things like that. Very intelligent designer, very intelligent person. What could you say about John?
Carly Ayres: [00:09:06] Oh, I could say a lot of things. I remember. I think I tweeted at him or he or he tweeted at me or he DM or I was like, Hey, I did this thing, look at this thing.
And I loved that about him. I loved that he was very much like a president of the people. I felt like when he was there, like he was very open to meeting with anyone about anything and it was very, made himself very accessible, using like new forms of technology, which I think it was very weird. Also at the time, it was like a very different way of communicating.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:09:35] Calendly invites, yeah, put some time down on my open schedule.
Carly Ayres: [00:09:40] I dunno. He's always trying new things and trying new ways of connecting with people and I always admired that. So I met him after that and I remember coming to his office, he had like a role of newsprint. He was like sketching out like what I could do and like where my career could go and all these tips and like none of that eventually came through for whatever.
But I did end up. Working in the office of government relations. He introduced me to Babette Allina, who I believe is still there. We worked on this project that he had called STEM to steam. So the idea of integrating like science, technology, engineering, mathematics, adding the a art.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:10:13] Arts always getting forgotten or just like excluding art at one point.
Carly Ayres: [00:10:19] You shove it right in there.
And I think that was cool cause it was cool to see. How do you talk about a movement? How do you talk about like a concept to different groups? We went to DC, we presented it to a various senators and try to get people on board for funding more arts education.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:10:36] So this is sort of the beginning of your speaking, writing in a way you then kind of, I don't know if it was before you graduated or while you were in school, you.
Begin to intern at creative mornings.
Carly Ayres: [00:10:49] Yes. And I also met Tina through John.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:10:53] Big hero.
Carly Ayres: [00:10:54] Yeah. So Tina came as part of that STEM to steam initiative. She hosted a creative mornings in Providence where I was going to school at the time, and so I got to like meet her. It was the beginning of thinking about theming these events.
She had just started, gosh, creative mornings. I don't know. When it started. Now I'm like blanking. Yeah, it's been fun.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:11:16] I ended up clicking a link and I'm just like, wow. Thing I found in the last two years. Yeah. There's so many talks and it's just been around for a good while now.
Carly Ayres: [00:11:24] Maybe like 10 years or so at this point, maybe more, but yeah, at the time, I think there were about maybe like nine or 10 chapters and she had started in her studio.
Creative mornings is an international lecture series for the creative community. So it happens at like eight thirty, nine o'clock on Friday mornings once a month. And so she just kind of started hosting these breakfasts. Then there were speakers, and then it really snowballed from there. She did it in Zurich when she was visiting one year, and then they wanted to keep doing it, and a friend wanted to do it in LA, and I think now it's in 217 cities.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:11:55] I found that you basically cold called her and asked her for an internship and she offered it to you over the phone. And that's kind of a big, the big thing, you know, to one on her part, but also for you as well. Tina was thinking at the time and then was going through her head, this person needs to join the team.
Carly Ayres: [00:12:14] Well I know what she was thinking cause she told me. I guess the day before it happened that she was musing to Kevin, who was the first employee at creative mornings. She's like, yeah, I think we could get like someone else in here. Maybe we should have like an intern this summer, like someone else to like help out. And then I emailed her. And yeah, that email came because I was like very far into this interview process to do a product design internship at Proctor and Gamble, and I had submitted a hair sample and all this stuff and I was like, I don't know.
Something about this still doesn't. I don't know if this is how I want to like spend my summer. And of course at that point too, you think everything you do is the end all be all step towards what you're going to do every day for the rest of your life. This is it. And I was like, I gotta get the fuck out of here.
I was like, I got to get to New York, I've got to go work for Tina and I think a lot of things in my life have happened that where I'm like, this person is doing something interesting. How can I get as close to that as possible? And that was true with John. And that was true with Tina for sure. And I ended up spending the summer there and then I ended up joining full time after I graduated.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:13:19] You spent about definitely over two years there and then before joining a branding studio. And I think when I found this out, I think it's really interesting because it's not something that you hear too often, and I can also share an experience where you join and it just doesn't click. There's like a, it just doesn't align. My endeavor was even shorter than yours.
I did three days and one it was due to a lack of responsibility on my part immaturity. But I was in a small studio. It was four people. And the creative director, everyone worked on their own projects in their own lane, no collaboration, and it just felt so stark and like very like, uh, you know, you just kind of cringe a little bit, but for you, you were there for six or seven months and you just sort of realize this wasn't for you.
Carly Ayres: [00:14:07] Part of it was too, I was like so eager to like see what was next and so eager to like get out in the world. I had figured out what brand strategy was reading around online and I was like, this feels really in tune with what I want to do more of. And I was like ready for whatever was next and I was introduced to these two women through friends who are starting a studio together and they were figuring out their dynamic as one. We're all friends to this day, but it was a, we did like a three month trial and then we're like a six month trial and it was like pretty clear that it was not a good fit. I was bursting at the scenes wanting to do more things.
I kind of wanted to do my own thing. I think just personality wise too, it was just like not a good dynamic and there's just a ton of friction around like. Be that file management or, uh, who's doing the dishes or like all this stuff you have to figure out when doing a small studio, which I've since also figured out again, we had a conversation, I was like, this is not a good fit.
And we were all like, yep.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:15:03] And that's why I asked because I think like younger creatives. They just never understand that it's okay. Like walk away if you don't feel like this is it. And also like we have the ability to do these three months, six month trials, trials, and I say that in air quotes because it's presented to you like that.
But also don't be afraid to like actually bring that up as well.
Carly Ayres: [00:15:21] Yeah. I would never take a full time job without like a three to six month trial. I'd rather freelance for a place, get to know the team, get to know their dynamic before committing to something full time. And I say that from a place of privilege to where I've been able to like freelance and able to like try something before I bought it or signed on entirely.
But yeah, especially for situations like that, making sure you know the dynamic, know the team. I think worst case scenario is when you let that stuff faster, which we've all been there too, where you're just like. All right. It, I, I gotta get out of here. We got you out of here. Got to get out of here. And that stuff.
Yeah. That stuff kind of bubbles over and you're not your best self and you bring that stuff home with you. You bring that into your relationships and really has a way of fucking shit up so.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:16:01] That sort of leads you to, now, correct me if I'm wrong, it leads you to the Google creative labs. Is that also around the same time when you start to form a hundreds under one hundred.
Carly Ayres: [00:16:10] Yeah, yeah, those timelines are pretty close.
Yeah. So post, uh, working at the small brand studio, all of a sudden I was freelancing and I had nothing lined up. I had a few projects, a few conversations, but very much free falling into freelance and through various projects I did. I was introduced to the creative lab and I started talking to them, and that was kind of like a situation where you go in and you're embedded there, and I think I was there for a total of.
A little less than a year maybe. Yeah. Towards the end of that, Slack was coming around and like everyone was using it at work and I was like, Oh, anyone can like make an account. This could be really interesting as like creating like a space with channels where you could talk about things like freelance because very much through that process of free falling into freelance, I had a lot of questions and a lot of things that I knew other people had figured out, especially from my time at creative mornings, which was based in studio mates, a coworking space in New York back then, and it was full of freelancers. And I remember them having these conversations over lunch and figuring out payments and these difficult conversations you had had with clients. And I knew everyone else. Some other people had figured this stuff out and it didn't make a ton of sense for me to just fumble my way through it without their sage feedback and advice.
So creating a space where I could like ask those questions without tweeting them out.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:17:30] You just start to have all these questions and you're searching for the answers, not finding them. You're just, I don't want to just make this myself. Yeah, let me just do this.
Carly Ayres: [00:17:37] Well you try? I think at the beginning of a project like that too, and you're like, this could either be really good and you like fantasize about like the best case scenario of like what this thing will be and you're like, it's going to be a community and people are going to share and can create resources, yada, yada, yada.
And then the other cases like, and it might be nothing.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:17:54] You always got to build that in.
Carly Ayres: [00:17:56] Well, and that's actually another a, that's another like John truism is a, I remember meeting with him that first time about risd-id.org and he was like, the thing is, Carly. When it's time for it to die, let it die. I remember being like, what the fuck?
I just came to show you this like super cool blog. I'm like, super pumped about it. We're like succeeding and I've never forgotten that. It's true. It's the worst thing you can do is when this thing is God, I'm just letting, and it makes room for other things and other opportunities.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:18:25] Around this time. Also, you decided to put your website on Google docs, which is like a big phenomena and the design and creative community web community where your site, anyone can go onto it. It's in a Google doc. They can change any of the content and things and comment on stuff. And have you taken catalog of how many people have visited this thing and contributed?
Carly Ayres: [00:18:45] It's funny, I had to make a new Google doc, I'd say like a year ago because it just started crashing like all the time. You can only have so many people edit a Google doc. It turns out I was looking at it yesterday and you can, you can see, and there's been I think, close to a hundred so far since then who've added comments or made changes that are still in there.
I remember making that and I remember I wanted to make a website and I'm not, despite having like a design background, I've never really considered myself much of a designer. I can like mock things up and I have ideas and I'll sketch them out, but. There's way better designers you should hire if you want to hire a designer.
And I always worked more with language and words and worked more as a writer and I was like, what can I make that's like not a Squarespace? Not really, but like that speaks to like the way I work. And so it ended up being Google doc, just like forwarding the domain. Leaving it open. It's like comment only.
So like people can comment and edit, shows up in their drive. Their names are associated with it. Sometimes I've only gotten porn on it like once or twice.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:19:46] Around the internet you know, you have people that have mentioned that, you know, when they open their Google drive, your site is there and it's just kind of interesting.
And I think you touched on this idea that you've recognized that your strength isn't necessarily in design. And I think that's also a big hurdle that people come to bare with and something that I've definitely have in the last year or so where sometimes my goal or my objective is not to make the thing, it's to communicate and delegate that work and some people, it takes longer than others, but then also some people just want to do the work.
Carly Ayres: [00:20:17] Yeah, and that's totally true and I'm excited to get the right people in the right roles to do the right work and define people's strengths and to make sure that to get the team together and like make their best work.
That's the stuff that gets me excited. I love working on teams. I love working with other people. But yeah, I think even in school I realized I was like, my strength is clearly not the visual design. Like I was like. But I can make a press release for my classmates and communicate what it is they're trying to do and like help them get on blogs or get out in the world, which is the most on-brand, probably Carly student story ever.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:20:51] To me, it's almost like that takes time and not only in your experience, but also to prove that you can do that. It's frustrating to not be able to leave school and let everybody know that you're like, Hey, like my thing isn't making and like I have these great ideas. What would you say as advice to younger students that are very much finding themselves. That's the case. How do you battle and deal with that over time?
Carly Ayres: [00:21:11] Totally. I think there's a lot of shame too. Like I remember going to critiques or something like, Oh, like. This stuff is, I did the project. I know it's fine, but it's like not great, like it's missing like a certain thing.
But yeah, I think to find that you just have to make a lot of stuff too. Like I remember I made all sorts of things before I was, all right, like this stuff is not clearly like what I'm very good at. What am I really good at? How can I do an independent study or carve out a team project or start a design blog or like start these various things that will allow me to find where it is that I feel like I'm doing my best work or that I'm really contributing the most to this project.
And I think doing all those extracurriculars was one of my ways of figuring that out.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:21:54] I think this is a perfect segue to, it leads you to start this, the creative studio HAWRAF, and there's so many things out of not only, that I've learned that you've been able to share. One, the big thing was like working with friends and then also working with friends that share qualities that you don't have. And to this whole point of you recognizing that you may not be the best designer. Like what was the dynamic going into the studio.
Carly Ayres: [00:22:18] Totally. I mean, and we had those conversations, so yeah, we all met working together in the creative lab, Andrew, Nicky, Pedro, and myself. We had all had those conversations, at least as far as like Andrew, Pedro and I went. We all knew at some point we wanted to started a studio.
Nicky was coming more from an engineering background. He was like, . What is this design studio business? Y'all are crazy, but for the three of us, we all kind of knew we wanted to do at one time or the other, and for the most part, we had each had those conversations and I definitely talked to like other people who were writers or similar kind of new business people, operations people.
But. We knew we needed like the design piece. We needed this. And I definitely saw that as well in play at that small design studio I worked at after creative mornings. But with this team, it really felt like we each were bringing something pretty unique to the table. Our skill sets sometimes overlapped, but for the most part, everyone had a clear thing that they did really well that was missing from everyone else's wheel house, so to speak.
And, um, it felt like a really pragmatic relationship.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:23:20] You guys ended up working on a lot of different projects and some of the projects that stood out to me, it was like the Brooklyn symphony, um, the work done for Tia because you guys did the branding, but you also like ended up doing a project where you were able to customize these posters and that ended up at like the woman's March.
And that's like always, I think. I want to see your work live out in the world, but also like just live in a very political movement in culture. Yeah. That's like huge.
Carly Ayres: [00:23:45] Yeah. Those are two interesting projects. I should say. Sam Rhodes did the branding for TIA, but, um, we met Carolyn also working out of the creative lab and as well as Sam and all of us, uh, after.
We left, Carolyn had left first and she started that company and then we left. We started the studio and she wanted to, uh, collaborate with us on some sort of activation around the women's March. And for us, it was always about, we knew we wanted to have like an ethos as well as distinct point of view as a studio.
And for us, that was making projects that invited people to interact with them in some way, which. Is a pretty open ended point of view when you think about it. But, uh, it was a good set of constraints for a project like that where it's like, okay, for us to do like campaign, how can we make this playful?
How can we make someone like want to interact with this? How can we make this something that's even useful? Which is the ideal when for something that's interactive, you want someone to have a positive experience that actually enriches their life rather than just like blasting them with taglines and what have you.
So for that one yet, we made a website where you could go and you could make your own poster for the March and add your own sayings or your own slogans that you wanted to carry with you using like these brand assets that Sam had put together, which was a fun one.
While the studio
Jon Sorrentino: [00:24:58] also focused on creative work and creative services.
You guys shared so much of the process along the way. Like I have the 14 gigs of files existing on my computer.
Carly Ayres: [00:25:08] I'm pretty sure at some point that drive will stop.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:25:10] Yeah, exactly. But that was something that. Also was established at the very beginning. You know, being able to share these resources, share that information for people to kind of learn from it and better themselves.
What kind of informed that?
Carly Ayres: [00:25:23] Well, I think for us, we all wanted to learn how to run a studio. That was the name of the game when we met up. We do breakfast once a week while we're still wrapping up our time at Google and we're like, you know. What do we want this to be? What do we want to get out of this? It was very pragmatic in that way.
We each want to learn how to run a studio. We had worked in different environments. We had picked up certain things, but we knew that there is so much more to learn that you could only learn by doing it and along the way, we wanted to share that as well. We talked about sharing the drive from the beginning, but it's a little more difficult to do that when it's still an operating function or contracts clients.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:25:59] You also touch upon like this idea of having retrospectives at every opportunity, and I think being in somewhat digital and product design, there are moments of that, right? Like at the end of a sprint or something, but I almost think like that should be required at the end of every campaign when possible, because like sometimes when you go through a marketing campaign, it's just like work, work, work for like three days straight, just like start to finish.
And then at the end of it it's like, cool, great. That was awesome effort. Let's move on to the next project.
Carly Ayres: [00:26:27] Because there always is. Well, hopefully there's always another project, and especially as a small studio, it became. Really hard to prioritize. Even just doing projects like the drive projects that we wanted to do that weren't necessarily client work, but even just like projects that made the studio better.
I remember taking a business class, I think in our second year, and they always talked about working on the business versus in the business, and it's so hard to prioritize even just making the studio better, like doing these retrospectives, setting out that time where you can learn and be better. When you have another project like knocking on the door and that's where your next paycheck is going to be coming from and you're like crying going, I'm going to do that.
But the goal of it was to learn and doing, I think retros and setting up that time where you can actually take apart like how something went is so important for that.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:27:14] Over this time, you've shared so many resources from basically college to going through the studio, but you also share on this tool called the arena.
And there's a ton of collections there. But one of my favorite are things that you found on eBay but didn't buy. And, um. I've seen some, you share some on social media and things like that, but what are you mostly looking for on eBay and what is the why?
Carly Ayres: [00:27:37] I mean, look around. Yeah. So we moved into this apartment in April.
I moved in with my boyfriend, Sebastian, and I think also like post studio was like, I've got like a studio shaped hole in my life. What can I fill it with? And the answer ended up being a lot of seventies era cartel plastic furniture. Um. But yeah, that's trying to find a good deal on some of the stuff, but also kind of hearkening back to my industrial design education and studying furniture and looking for certain pieces.
Ideally things with lots of drawers, like the one behind you.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:28:09] I've seen like you've, you've been able to find these really amazing designed puzzles. And not only that, but a ton of books and knowledge that I think can sometimes just be forgotten. And it's good to see that still living on.
Carly Ayres: [00:28:21] It's fun to discover that stuff. I think nothing is, is new. Everything kind of ends up repeating itself. And I think even finding, yeah, a lot of those old Enzo Mari games, we have a an Enzo Mari right now
After this, but yeah, to see like one of them is a this card game for telling stories and each card has a different silhouette of a different animal or a moon or a tree or all these different like characters and you build them together to create like a physical three dimensional structure and you're supposed to tell a story as you do that night.
I think those things are really fun and it's probably also just like subconsciously trying to like push away from just being on my phone all the time and like find something tangible to hold onto in this world. But there's a lot of cool stuff out there and it's kind of getting me back into. Breaking open those design history textbooks and trying to remember all this stuff came from.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:29:11] And you share a lot of the stuff that you find on social media and things like that and I know you mentioned like getting away from your phone, but it's becoming so much a part of culture in life. You also love to share story filters.
Carly Ayres: [00:29:24] Yeah.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:29:25] And I just realized that they've opened it up to kind of the community to create anything. And there's so many, it's like almost hard to kind of navigate, but like what have been some of the gems that you've found?
Carly Ayres: [00:29:33] Oh my gosh. Well, one thing also I'd say about that is I remember going from when it was just Instagram's filters and then they invited certain creators to make filters. Just how that bar blew up. It just like all of a sudden you had like. These filters that were changing the space and changing color and then now that it's open to the whole community, the range and diversity of ideas and things that people are making, that stuff makes me super excited.
Cause it's just like, yeah, when you get everyone, you give everyone the technology and they're all able to create things. It's really wild to see what they come up with. But I think my most famous, we were at a party last night. We were going through all my filters, it's impossible to navigate on my phone.
I have just like. Thousands of them. My favorite one, I'm blanking on the creator's name. I'll have to look it up later. Who he makes you into like a lion or they make you into a lion and your face is the lion's face, but the mane is also made out of your face. The body made out of your face and the legs are made out of your face.
And it's like, how? How do you know something like that? I think there's, yeah, there's fun ones that change your expression. I think Zach Lieberman has been having a lot of fun with those and making some really cool stuff. But yeah, it really, uh, it expands your mind to think about like what's possible with those filters.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:30:45] Every time I see Zach's work and I like, I've already bought like three books on processing and I'm just like, you're going to get to eventually, these platforms are almost becoming ways of testing and experimenting with new technologies. Do you see it continuing or like where do you see social media playing a part in that culture of design and experimentation?
Carly Ayres: [00:31:03] It's funny. On the way to that party,
Jon Sorrentino: [00:31:04] last night Sebastian and I were
Carly Ayres: [00:31:05] walking and someone came out of her restaurant, took a photo of the restaurant and then went back inside and we're like, we are for sure living in the weirdest simulation of all of the simulations like going on right now. It's interesting.
I think we'll look back on this and be like, so wait, you just like took photos and you just like shared them to like, connect with people or what was the goal of a lot of that? I think it's fun to test stuff for sure. And I definitely think of social media. Sometimes it's a bit of a megaphone, but also a way of like testing ideas out and seeing what sticks and, but you have to, you do have to be careful about getting too much.
Either validation from that or letting that dictate too much what direction you should take your own work and like you do have to isolate some ideas and let them grow and then put them out into the world. But. I don't know. It's fun. I mean, I have the gift of gab. I like making friends and I've definitely met a lot of people through the internet.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:31:55] Absolutely. I want to circle back just to do a hundreds under a hundred cause you just recently did a show and tel event. Would you maybe talk about the event, how that went, you know, what was the purpose and then coming out of it.
Carly Ayres: [00:32:07] Yeah. So that was the 10th show. And tell and show in halls were kind of born out of, so we had this Slack community that I started kind of nearing the end of my days at Google's creative lab.
And then there's a channel, it's called show and tell and it's like, brag about yourself, like share this stuff. Cause he, you know, so people want to share and it's great to like have a space where like this is where you do that and we can all celebrate you and be pumped for you. And then that kind of evolved into wanting to do in person event.
So we do them quarterly, like four times a year. And six people share something like six minutes or less, and they've been a lot of fun. Like people show up whether they know who's speaking or not. Everything from the one before the last one, someone did a monologue talking about caretaking for her mother.
We've had people read short stories. We've had people show every design that's ever been rejected along the way of a project. It runs the gamut, but yeah, the last one I'd made an announcement that Farah and Valentina who've kind of been with me like probably like the last year, helping and volunteering and helping put these events together.
They're going to take that series over, which I am very excited for.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:33:08] That's awesome. Yeah, so be on the lookout for that. I want to close out with this quote that I think I've found from you. I don't know where exactly, but it was, "life is about relationships" and I think that's so true because as you mentioned, maintaining relationships is really key, especially in a creative industry.
But as you mentioned before we started this, there's some new things coming up in the future for you.
Carly Ayres: [00:33:33] Even just through the questions you've asked me, it's clear to see that every opportunity and kind of every direction I've pursued is then the result of either a relationship or a well-timed email. Yeah.
Everything that I've done is been connected or influenced by the people I've met and who I've surrounded myself with and how they've influenced what ideas I'm thinking about what kind of books I'm reading, which also goes to say, should always be expanding that circle, but I'm a big believer in the power of relationships and community and bringing people together.
We'll see where it takes me next. Who knows?
Jon Sorrentino: [00:34:07] You kind of have a little bit of an inkling of an idea of what's gonna come up soon if it's not the new year.
Carly Ayres: [00:34:13] Not the new year. So yeah, I did recently joined Google. I'm at Google full time now, which is terrifying cause I haven't had a real full time job since Creative Mornings, which is a very different environment.
And then a Sebastian. You're also going to be teaching at Parsons in the winter, which I'm very excited for.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:34:31] Sounds very exciting to me or kind of go back. Carly, where can people find more of you and potentially get in touch everywhere?
Carly Ayres: [00:34:38] All over the internet. All over the internet. Yeah. Go on my Google doc, leave me a note.
Say hello on Instagram and Twitter, although I'm there less and less these days.
Jon Sorrentino: [00:34:48] Carly, thank you so much for joining me.
Carly Ayres: This was lovely.