Ben Barry: Advocate of Analog Arts at Facebook
Known as the Minister of Propaganda, Ben Barry is is a designer and analog arts enthusiast whose job focus on the internal culture mechanisms at one of the world’s most ubiquitous online companies, Facebook. His job is primarily to develop Facebook’s brand identity, but Barry also spends much of his time invigorating the inter-office environment by encouraging engineers and designers to work with their hands.
Before Facebook moved to its current location in Menlo Park, California, Ben Barry carved out a space for his screen printing workshop, known as The Analog Research Laboratory (ARL), in the basement with the help of Everett Katigbak. When the company relocated, the pair garnered an entire studio nearby dedicated to the ARL alone.
Here, with the help of a screen printing station, letterpress machines, and other analog arts paraphernalia, Barry coaxes engineers, designers, and office administrators to pull prints and get their hands dirty. Posters that read, “Likers Gonna Like” or “In Hack We Trust” dot the Menlo Park offices, as well as other Facebook office locations.
The main goal: boosting Facebook’s internal culture. How is this accomplished? Barry believes that using these seemingly obsolete machines expands the tools available to Facebook employees by imploring them to discover new technologies, hone their skills in using these technologies, and ultimately critique and grow from the process. Basically, getting employees away from the computer and into interaction with others, art, and their own creative approach.
These new tools lead to unplanned, spontaneous creativity, and nurturing this process not only creates a dynamic interoffice culture of innovation and cohesion, but also leads to better website platforms and user experiences.
On Thursday, February 21, AIGA Houston is hosting a talk by Ben Barry at Sundance Cinema. Barry will be discussing his work at The Analog Research Laboratory, and how being organize and having the right tools can unveil routes to spontaneous creativity.
Tickets are $10 for members, or $15 for non-members. The event begins at 7pm, and attendees are encouraged to arrive early to mingle in the lobby’s bar and bistro. Parking is available in Theater District Parking Garage 7, or a short walk from Preston Station on the METRORail.