A Designer’s Story: Conforming vs Individuality I InvisionApp Pablo Stanley | Awwwards Amsterdam


Hola, hello Amsterdam, goedemorgen, yeah did I say right? dank je for being here that’s that’s as
much Dutch I have better have for you today
hola that’s in Spanish you you woke up early and you you know how hard that is
I mean you you have so many distractions you have Netflix you have online
shopping you have the red dress district and you have also a beautiful city so
but you’re here and and to watch me so thank you dank je for being here
so whenever I give talks or workshops I do them I usually give like a practical
useful actionable stuff and hard skills and I think there’s a lot of value in
feeling like you have a new tool that you can use him like create something
after that well today I’m going to do something totally different and actually the opposite of that and hopefully you’re not disappointed
because I’m going to be talking about some touchy feely stuff and I’m going to
be a bit vulnerable and before you raise your pitchforks I think you might still
get something useful at the end of this so but mostly this is just going to be
me reacting reflecting on a personal moment and trying to make sense of it on
how that might have affected who I currently am as a creative and hopefully
invite you to do the same so we’re going to do this with some storytime and I
don’t know have you ever been in like in the tower relaxing under the hot water
singing filling like everything is perfect or probably when you are just
about to fall asleep and you’re just drifting
way and then suddenly boom a memory that you had hidden deeply in your
subconscious just comes back and it just hits you and you shut her and you’re
ashamed and a little bit scared probably and you just cringe so bad remember that
one moment in your life when you did something there was extra stupid and a
memory that you are really embarrassed of and you had just hidden away never to
come back well like three years ago while in the
shower one of these memories came back to me and and I want to share with you
so I think a lot of us had a personal hero when we were kids when we were
growing up someone we just looked up to and we
thought they were just the most exceptional people well for me that was
my uncle Alfredo or Pio fellow as I would dearly
call him and I thought my uncle was just the coolest dude in the world and he was
young but older than me he was tall had great hair big smile he was just
good-looking and he had this charm and charisma they could just melt anyone and
my uncle is from Texas so but for some time he lived in San Diego and he was a
US Navy sailor and he was stationed there in San Diego so sunday was only
like two hours away from my hometown in Mexicali so once a month he would get a
free weekend and from his service and he would come to visit my family my home in
Mexicali so he used to wear this crisp all-white sailor uniform with the Dixie
cup and neckerchief and for me that was just the dopest Luke ever and he once
gave me one of his cats and I would never ever take it off I would play
basketball with it I will wear it to school I would go to the big beach with
it that thing got so then stain with sweat but I didn’t care
I thought I looked as cool as my uncle wearing that stupid hat
well now back in those times talking about a long time ago there was no
Spotify no iPods no mp3’s no discover weekly playlist and back then we had
this thing called mixtapes and let me do an explanation for some of the
Millennials here these mixtapes were a compilation of songs recorded on
cassette tapes and you have to physically record a song to a tape from
another tape or probably from the radio and creating a mixtape required a lot a
lot of dedication and thought and you had to think about the order of the
songs create a theme or write an experience and you had to be very
careful with your choices because there was a lot of Labor involved maybe you
have seen some how some old stereos will have two cassette players and you could
hit play one of the cassettes and record on the other and you had to sit through
the entire song while it plays to be able to record it from Wonka’s set to
the other and there was no dragon job no the truck and drop interactions no mp3
folders once you recorded a song that was sit unless you were willing to
reline find that moment when the previous song ends and record on top of
the old song and probably lose some quality and do it all over again making
a mixtape was an art form well my uncle was the master master of mix things and
he always carried with him a huge box of cassettes and it was his most precious
possession for me it was a goldmine of influence see back then I was a confused
and lost ten year old boy who was desperate to find a purpose in identity
well now I’m still a 37 year old who is still desperate to find a purpose in
identity but back then I was too and my uncle with his swagger
and his music was my only source of influence and he was just my ticket to
becoming cool so whenever he will come to visit us I was just like dive deep
into this box I would try to listen to his music as much as I could I was just
like blast his jams on the stereo and see something that didn’t mention about
the art of mixtapes was the documentation of the songs you had to
write the name of the artist and song to be able to know what the hell you were
listening to you also have to give it a name of your mixtape see if you wanted
to there was a new way to mix the rock makes the chilled makes the NuWave
volume to mix because we we had like chapters and volumes and stuff like that
so my uncle was just very meticulous about the writing of his mixtapes he
would take notes on these ruled books booklets and who would usually come with
cassettes like cassettes have had these booklets so on site age you will just
like a list with all the tracks on each line and then on site be just do the
same thing you will write the number the song name and artists with just perfect
penmanship so I will just devour these booklets they were my Bible and I will
try to learn and memorize everything I was listening to the more Vance I near
the cooler I will become they were like a coolness currency and see regarding
these reading these booklets and listening could be a challenge because
back then there was no digital display tell me exactly what song I was
listening to and how long it will the song will end and you had to pay a lot
of attention to match the song to the booklet we complained by the way about
songs that have just this repetitive chorus but they are actually super
helpful when you are trying to realize what the hell you’re listening to
because usually these repetitive chorus are the name of the actual song so
you’re listening to that and you’re like okay it’s this song I’m back on track
so every weekend that my uncle come visit us I will try to learn as much as
I could because my uncle will take his bucks with him and he will leave and I
will not see him until one month later so one time after my uncle had left my
mom took me to the downtown market in Mahakali in these outdoor markets you
could find a little bit of everything and you’d like toys of luchador des
dresses from Oaxaca spicy candy mariachi hats grasshopper and an tacos we have
those over there and some chops would sell bootleg albums like pirated records
so I was searched for a record from one of the artists my uncle light because I
whatever I could remember I would try to find the name of the band that I
memorized but to be honest these chops would usually never carry any of that
kind of music it was just mostly Mexican artists and
banda and mariachi and nothing cool that’s what my uncle listened to so my
searches were usually pointless until this one time when I found a record that
captured my attention and it had a cover with a giant number two and a letter you
painted with a ball typhus said to you – unlimited and it had the picture of
these two badasses and a woman and a mean and a man just being coolest shit
and it hit me I remember this I remember seeing this name in one of the booklets
from one of my uncle’s mixtapes so I say to my mom mom you have to buy this for
me she did and so we get in the car and I put that bad boy in the stereo and
boom is this loud hardcore eurodance techno 90 song maybe you’ve heard it it
goes like da da da da get ready for this so I was like wow all month old mark I
would just listen to this crap non-stop I would just put all my Walkman
and just like getting right for this I was just like got it walk to the
groceries no problem get ready for this data got to do my homework hell yeah
get ready for this data got a do my shorts I’m down get ready for this Papa
so even my mom liked it she would just like do her workouts to the music
probably that was just a signal for me that probably something was wrong and I
will be by her side and exercise with her and just like get ready for this an
ephod this is sit I’m cool I’m just as cool as my uncle and I was doing the
lamest things a kid would have to do but it didn’t matter because I was listening
to a band that my uncle liked and it was my record by the way this was a full
album so there were like 12 songs of this stuff and listen to this all month
on repeat in anticipation for when my uncle would come back so see in my mind
I had this Phantasy my uncle would get home then he
will go to my room and he would see this cassette and ask well who owns this
record who listens to too limited you know we like oh yeah that’s mine and he
would say wow Pablo you’re the coolest dude ever I’m so proud to have you as my
nephew let’s listen to this record all weekend together and the two of us would
just be raging to it dadada Tata that was my fantasy well
it’s the end of the month and my uncle is arriving soon so I prepared my plan
my uncle arrives he sees the cassette questionmark success here’s one thing
when my uncle visited he will stay in my room
he will take my bed and I will list like with just sleep on on the floor so I
sneakily put the cassette on the bed so he will
find it yet I didn’t want to be too obvious about it I just wanted to be
casually lay in there even then I understood that to be cool you got to
look like you’re not trying so my uncle arrives and he goes to my room and he’s
tired after the trip so he lays in bed and he just turns the TV on
he totally misses the cassette and I was like crap put it closer to him so I
would just carefully move the album just to slowly slide it to his side and
it widened I wanted him to find it accidentally but even after this it
stealthy move he was missing it he was just too distracted just watching
the TV so I said you know what I have to take matters into my own hands and a
graphic I said and I showed it to my uncle and said a deal look at the record
I got and he crafted and he looked at it he was confused and just saying what
what is this I was like John it’s it’s too limited you know that band that you
like it’s to you to a limit it he was still confused and I said yeah you know
you have it in one of your mix things it’s to you – unlimited he looked at it
carefully and then hit him I saw this sparking his eyes and then he started
laughing not to you you – not this crap I like you too who listens to this ha ha
ha ha and it felt and it felt so small my heart was broken
haha you like this crap dude this music it’s not cool and it tried to play it
cool you know yeah totally music it’s crap only losers listen to
this hall but and he kept laughing and watching TV and I was just by his side
sitting stoic watching the TV playing it cool you know but how I was seriously
dead inside I was so humiliated but of course I wouldn’t show it that moment
was put in the vault push those feelings deep inside me never to me remember and
now and I know this sounds like nothing and I know it’s just a band or whatever
but for this little kid that was everything his hero just fought that he
was lame and after that I got so mad at myself I felt so ashamed and stupid why
did I put out myself up to that I was obviously not cool well who was it
trying to fool I was a fake oops sorry and then it started feeling resentful
towards everyone and everything around me I saw I would never try to seek other
people’s approval I was going to do my own thing and I will not care if you
liked her or not after that oops sorry suddenly I found out about punk rock and
I just said I was going to be a punk rocker listened to obscure music and
dressed differently and go against the grain and be opposed to everyone else I
was mad at the world but one thing came out of it that anger
actually really power my creative energy having a band will be my excuse to
create Flyers album covers music trophy tea I made my first website
for my BAM with Dream Weaver back in 1999
back then it was with Macromedia not Adobe and you would design everything
with with frames it was kind of weird it was pretty cool too I was a webmaster
but a very dark and emotional webmaster I started building this wall around me
this facade it wasn’t only about being the dependent it was about keeping
people away my logic was if I let someone see who I really am
then this person will laugh at me just as my uncle did behind this mask I was
just sad isolated kid by the way look at that Donald Trump would be very happy keeping that little Mexican behind a
wall he will be good now looking back I feel it still have those two kids
fighting inside me one wants to assert his individuality and uniqueness move
fast not care about what others saying and just do something and the other kid
just wants to be liked and to be with other people get their approval he wants
to be long and I think that’s a creative these two kids can be very powerful if
they work together we need both to belong to a team to friends family loved
and to be individual having our own in original qualities so we could for
example use that what makes us unique and in order to achieve recognition and
belonging or collaborate with others and then put a touch of yourself in your
work something that sets you apart I think the trick for these two little
kids to work together is being kind to them both have their needs their reasons
to be and they’re both me and I’m still that kid that seeks validation I’m still
that other kid that wants freedom so by being kind to them I get to understand
what they want listen to their insecurities know how to soothe their
pain and maybe just work it out together because we want to be part of something
belong and at the same time keep or individuality and uniqueness so this
story has helped me understand a bit better Who I am and that to be able to
grow I need to acknowledge my flaws and be okay with them and be probably more
important honorable and I invite you to open open that vault and do the same and
well regardless of what happens whenever you need a boost I have a challenge for
you just to stop what you’re doing don’t mind who’s watching just press play and
start dancing and know that you’re alone on the other side of the world I
will be dancing with you and thank you

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