Freshly Laundered 031 / Gerren Lamson


Our most recent interview catches up with Gerren Lamson. As the Head of Design & Community at Creative Market, he gets a chance to make sure that the work he does makes an impact, not just on the business, but on the greater community as well. Read on to see how important intention is to design.

CB: You’re the Head of Design & Community at Creative Market, co-founded Satchel & Sage with your wife Morgana, work on side projects like Drawologist, and you’re a new Dad. How do you wear so many hats and stay sane?!

GL: That’s a great question! Honestly, I think it comes down to context and priority. It goes without saying that being a dad comes first above everything else. (That includes changing diapers.) Next, I prioritize my design and creative projects. My work at Creative Market takes up (more than) 40 hours during the workweek, and then I squeeze in illustration projects and drawing exercises when I need to scratch the creative itch. I’m doing a lot less of that these days. Spending time with our son is its own rewarding “creative” experiment.


CB: Do you work from home? How has being a Dad changed how/when you work?

GL: I do work from home, and have been working remotely for Creative Market for 3 years. I’ve traveled a ton to our San Francisco HQ, too. To be honest, becoming a dad has totally enriched my design work. I care a lot more about the intention of my design work and the time I spend on it, and a lot more about the humans (read: users) who benefit from it. I love the fact that I get to be around my son all day. I can take a break at any time of the day to kiss his forehead or change his diaper, and that keeps my design work in perspective. I imagine that working from home with a kid will change in the future when he’s running around and banging on the office door.


CB: What does that mean, intentional design? Why is design better when the designer thinks about the people who will benefit from what they’re building?

GL: I believe that the intention of design work should always be to benefit the humans who engage with it. It’s easy to see how an app can help users achieve a goal, but I also think that illustrations, shirts designs, and related design projects can make people pause and think about the important things in life. In western culture, we focus so much on achieving, and that’s ok. It’s great if a design intention helps raise money for the impoverished or those in need. However, I also think that we undervalue design projects that makes us contemplate and gain perspective on our life experience. That’s equally important.


CB: Are there some examples of design that you think do a great job of being intentional? In what ways have you incorporated intention into your work lately?

GL: Here are a few projects that I’ve seen others applying *more* intention into the work to affect viewers and produce a positive outcome from their experience or use of the design. Sometimes, positive intention is baked into the business that the design work is supporting. Sometimes, positive intention is the thoughtfulness put into the visual work itself.

Atomic Lotus by Scott Lewis
This CB shirt illustration is sure to stop people in their tracks and think. By combining the lotus flower (a symbol of purity and rebirth) and the atom (a scientific symbol), viewers might be encouraged to see science and spirituality as a combined and integrated - rather than a polarized - system.

Skillshare Class! by Mikey Burton
Mikey’s class teaches folks to create illustrated idioms, which could spawn off a ton of intention-rich illustration pieces that could make the public think more about what’s going on society. We can only hope, yea?

50 Logo Mockups Bundle by GraphicBurger
This handy mockup set-up could help designers present their identity work as high caliber visuals for client presentation. It could make their logo pitch easier, ensuring that their current project is secure and approved. It could also aid them in growing future potential work just by elevating the presentation quality.

Learn Lettering by Simon Walker (for Sean Wes)
Simon took time to support the education efforts of fellow designer Sean Wes, by putting together a small batch of appealing visuals to help Sean promote the launch of Learn Lettering 2.0. Simon’s intention with this work is to excite and encourage users to illustrate lettering. Sean’s project is a deep dive of education, which has many layers of intention of teaching the visual craft and turning it into a business.

Here are a few of my recent projects that I’ve created that have more intention:

Pay It Forward Bundle
This one was an automatic win in terms of great intention. We (Creative Market) partnered with many design brands to create a pay what you want bundle of assets and services to raise money for Watsi last December. It raised over $150,000, and Watsi started sharing stories of how the money impacted impoverished people in need of healthcare.

Studio App - Birthday Kit
I produced a batch of fun illustrations for users to overlay their photos in the Studio App. This pack let’s them celebrate the birthday of their friends and loved ones online in a positive, fun manner.

Made With Creative Market
I designed a sub-identity for our Made With Creative Market platform where users can share how they’ve used design assets in their personal projects. It gives customers a place to share their creative work, gain more spotlight for their creativity, and a new channel to meet other creative professionals in the community.

Make Good
I drew a hand with a ribbon tied around the finger a while back, and then decided to upgrade the illustration and turn it into a gold on charcoal print for sale via Satchel & Sage. The message encourages the viewer to do two things: (a) remember to keep their important promises to others in their life, and (b) to go out and make a positive impact on the world.


CB: The Creative Market “Pay It Forward Bundle” seems like it was quite successful! How did you guys decide to partner with Watsi?

GL: Great question! The pay it forward bundle was a larger campaign that the team conceptualized as a natural evolution of similar past campaigns. The idea was to partner with lots of top design brands and services that the greater creative community loves, and get them to offer great resources in a pay what you want bundle. Before that, we also helped folks who were impacted by the flooding in Colorado and Hurricane Sandy through All Hands Volunteers.

We chose to work with Watsi because they have a great mission and they also went through Y-Combinator just like Creative Market. They were one of the fewer non-profit initiatives to go through Y-Combinator, and they showed great promise in terms of helping impoverished communities. How could we not join them in their cause?

Since creating our campaign for Watsi, we also launched an initiative to raise funds for disaster relief when Nepal got hit earlier in the year too. It’s in our culture to find a way to make a positive impact outside of the creative and design community, so we’ll likely do more campaigns like this in the future!


CB: Wow, congrats! That must be so rewarding for your team to have had such an impact on all those organizations. Finally, and for something a little different, where is your favorite place to visit? Why?

GL: I’d be hard pressed to pick one place in particular. I really enjoy visiting big cities with different cultures than the southern part of the United States, like where I live in Austin, Texas. I get energized by exploring places like France, Italy, New York, California, and more. In contrast, I love making treks to quiet destinations in nature, like state parks, beaches and mountain ranges. I find that those recharge me more than city trips. I guess the tl:dr short answer would be the mountains or the beach. We don’t really have either down here in the south.

CB: Trips to the beach are always a great way to recharge. Thanks for chatting with us Gerren!

To learn more about Gerren, check out the blog on his website or catch up with him on twitter, instagram, and dribbble. See all of his CB designs here, and check out his side project, Satchel & Sage, here.