Read An Answer

We all have questions. Thoughtful questions. Irreverent questions. Questions about the nature of existence. Questions about nothing at all. Ask us a question. 
We have answers. They may not be the only answers or the correct answers or even relevant answers. But they are our honest answers to your genuine questions.

Lauren: What’s a surprising and/or delightful experience you’ve had recently?

DAD: I was thinking about the movie Vanilla Sky. On the list of greatest movies ever made, Vanilla Sky doesn’t even appear. Nor does its predecessor Open Your Eyes (although it’s considerably better than the remake it inspired). There’s a line in Vanilla Sky that Jason Lee, in a role as Tom Cruise’s best friend, utters. It’s a sort of refrain throughout the movie“The sweet is never as sweet without the sour.” 

This concept is not new. 
Jonathan Safran Foer said it: “You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness.”
Even the Rajneesh said it “Happiness is like a tree going into the sky, and sadness is like the roots going down into the womb of the earth. Both are needed.”
In other words, you can’t look for happiness. Happiness isn’t a state of being. It’s neither perpetual nor sustainable. Happiness is an experience. A moment. And, as anyone who’s thought much about time can tell you, a moment is an immeasurable thing. It’s an instance. And as soon as you’re aware of experiencing it, it’s gone. Or, as Don Draper said“What’s happiness? A moment before you want more happiness.” Which leads to the first part of your question. 
Happiness is a surprise. You can’t orchestrate it. We all try. We try all the time. We try to do what makes us happy. We try to surround ourselves with people who make us happy. We try to recreate the moments when happiness occurred in the past. But the truest, most joyful and happiest of times always come out of nowhere. 
Small little unexpected moments are the real happiness in life. Small victories that remind us all, subliminally, that it’s worth going on. Because we never know when another one will be around the corner. But, there is always another one around the corner. 
The last surprising and delightful experience I’ve had? Receiving this question and getting to spend a few minutes thinking about everything you’ve just read.

Luke and Bryce Bryce:

Hello, We are currently students at George Fox University, and interns for AIGA Portland. We are reaching out because we’re trying to put together an article detailing how different studios are keeping their practice going during Covid-19 to show how other designers might be able to do the same. We were hoping you might be able to take a few minutes and give some insight on this. We plan on taking all of the responses and submitting them online as a resource for other designers in the community to reference.


Have a great day



In a recent discussion with a friend, the topic of advice came up. Namely, the idea of listening to advice from famously successful people. This is an industry in and of itself. Our outcome of the discussion on the topic concluded thusly: no one should take advice from these people. The billions of small decisions that shape one life and its outcome can’t be boiled down into a quote or a TED talk or a book or anything that has anything to do with another person’s life. Plus, truly famously successful people seem to lead miserable lives. And even if it doesn’t seem that way, they’re probably lying.
Thankfully, we here at Studio DAD are not famously successful people. We’re just regular people. As regular people, we didn’t have any special skills or experiences on which to draw in order to figure out our plan moving forward when the pandemic hit, then the social uprising, then an entire coasts’ worth of wildfires (plus the already antagonizing political division in the country). We just talked about it and made our plan day-to-day.
At the beginning we lost some big projects that we had hoped would take up most of the year. We shrunk our operation as much as possible. We moved out of our rented office space. We cut some other expenses. But we never stopped coming to work together each day (virtually) and pushing forward on our goal for the studio. (Don’t ask us what the goal is exactly, we’re still working on that.) We kept working on whatever client projects we could get. We kept working on our own studio projects. And we kept in touch with our friends, colleagues and collaborators, and brought them on as freelancers whenever possible.
But there’s no one way to do things. What worked for us might not work for anyone else. So, if you want some advice from regular people: trust yourself and keep doing what you already know you want to do. No one can ever fault you for that.

Carson: Is it OK to start a sentence with And?

DAD: In 213 BCE, Chinese emperor Qin Shi Huang had a problem with words, namely the words used to write history. The emperor wanted to make sure that the version of history written about his rein was his version. So, to make sure he got was he wanted, the emperor ordered the execution of 460 Confucian scholars (official writers of said history). The method of execution? They were buried alive.
Censorship is as old as history itself. There have been banned words, banned books, banned languages, banned songs, banned movies…pretty much banned everything. At Studio DAD we once banned the use of the word “cool” because its extreme overuse effectively neutered its meaning. (Side note: we’re back to using “cool” and our favorite hashtag: #cool.) 
The whole point being that language is in constant flux. Heck, it was just a few years ago that people stopped placing double spaces after a period (and that only started around 150 years ago). Any attempt to censor any use of any word will, inevitably, backfire. We all want what we can’t have. Especially if we’re told explicitly that we can’t have it. If we start putting blinders on language then we’re back in the dark ages of nuns forcing lefties to be righties and everyone will run around saying “one” instead of “you.” So, we’re good with starting a sentence in any way that works. 
And don’t get me started on exclamation points!!

John: Any chance you guys are hiring?

DAD: When we started Studio DAD we weren’t called Studio DAD. We were called Dean Donohoe. And we were adamant that we wanted to be and remain a small studio. Just a writer and a designer. But we also wanted to work with some of our favorite creatives that we had met over many years in the agency world. We’ve been lucky to do just that. And we continue to work with freelancers, small studios and the like. So, no, we aren’t hiring. But we’re always looking for good people to work with. And we’re not changing our name again. At least not this year.