We have been busy bees this Q1 but we still manage to have some fun. Next in our series 'Digital Goodness: 20 Questions' is Adam Salois Harlo's newest digital designer. Answers below are verbatim, so, enjoy hearing our [sometimes too-real] voices. But at least you know they're real!
You had to lose one sense, what would it be?
I love food—so, tasting is out. I need to hear music. Without sight, I couldn’t live the hard and fast creative life I lead. Having a sense of touch is my love language. So, by process of elimination, my sense of smell would be most expendable.
You go to jail... What for?
Trying to cross the Mexican border because I lost my passport in Tijuana and border patrol isn’t convinced I’m American because I have olive skin. #maga
What piece of advice did you get that you'll repeat or reuse forever?
Figure it out.
What type of music puts you into full production mode?
House Music (Dirtybird Label)
Favorite workday snack?
Almonds & raisins trail mix
What inspires you most in your work?
Deconstructing a problem, then driving clarity with language, hierarchy, visual interest.
What do you think Harlo does best?
Harlo is great at being scrappy. We’re small, but we do great work on short timelines.
What were you like in high school?
I’d say I was pretty well behaved. I didn’t really get into trouble at all. I did get suspended once for fighting because boys fight sometimes. Otherwise, I was an honor roll student, band geek, NHS member, math team/science olympian wiz, skateboarding theatre kid.
Do you play any instruments? If so what?
I’m a drummer through and through. The marching snare is my drum of choice and experience. I’ve mostly been involved in percussion ensembles since I was 11 years old. Concert bands, symphonic ensembles, college marching band @ Michigan State, the Detroit Pistons Drumline, and NorthCoast Academy, a competitive youth activity part of an international organization, WGI. Every now and then, I’ll get down on a djembe when I come upon a drum circle out in the world.
Describe your creative or development process. What are the major steps?
Every project begins with discovery. What, where, when, why, who, how much, etc. I tend to develop a series of questions with whom I’m building any project for in order to dig at the root truth. Then, I build a set of words that I use to characterize what types of thoughts I should be having when considering how to make when I’m about to make. The last critical step is allowing the work to come out on its own through deliberate iteration and experimentation. It’s important to note that this process is non-linear by nature, but, the end result is always better than could have been planned.
Water or La Croix? Why?
Water—La Croix is gross. Fight me.
Best place you’ve traveled?
Barcelona. Hands down, the most beautiful city I’ve ever been.
Tell me something about your last job, other than money, that would have inspired you to keep working there.
If I had felt like I had a little more creative autonomy, I would have been more motivated to stick around longer.
What are your parent's occupations? Did that influence your path?
My mother has always been a mother, that’s her job. My dad is a tool and die maker, meaning he designs and makes the machines that build cars and other large machines. I guess, in a way, that did influence my path. I’ve always been a little maker. When I was a kid, my favorite toy was this building set called Construx. Mattel only made them for one year in the 90s and I ended up getting a set when I was 8 or 9. For a long time, I wanted to be an engineer. I excelled in math and science, but I just really loved figuring out how to make things. I think, if I had known that industrial design was a career path when I left high school, I might have tried to pursue that in some capacity. When I was 15, we had this junky PC tower that didn’t have the internet and I wanted to be able to have different wallpapers. I ended up using paint to create these super elaborate backgrounds where I would set the zoom at 800% and create images one pixel at a time. Later, I inherited a pirated copy of Photoshop from my friends, and the rest is history. Today, I still get to use my mind for math and science and apply it to communication problems while still maintaining my drive to create beauty. I feel very fortunate.
What does “win hearts” mean to you?
‘Win Hearts’ means that you truly listen to the needs of the people around you while also offering up your best self at all times.
Sketch or Photoshop? Why?
Right now, I’m a digital designer. In this industry, Sketch is the leading tool for that task. Photoshop, at the end of the day, is for editing and manipulating images. It can do a lot of other things, but that’s its main purpose and that’s what I’ll continue to use it for.
First CD/Cassette tape you bought?
Linkin Park: Hybrid Theory ✊?
If a documentary was made about your life, what actor/actress would you want to play you?
A combination of David Walton (Jess’s doctor boyfriend on New Girl) + Jim Carrey
What are the best and worst purchases you’ve ever made?
I bought these dark blue jogger jegging pants with a cuffed ankle and drawstring waistband a year ago and they were the best purchase I’ve ever made. They are stretchy, durable, and high quality, they fit well and I can wear them for almost any scenario / any outfit. Work, biking, lounging, traveling, going out, etc. I wore them so much that they now have several holes on the inseam that I’m actively trying to maintain with intermittent sewing. I may have to retire them soon. Excuse me while I grieve.
I bought this iPhone holder for my desk when I was designing apps every day to hold it up while designing on screen. It had this adjustable arm so you could move the phone where it needed to be. The first time I try to adjust it, the plastic bracket immediately broke. I gave up trying to buy a new one.
My biggest fear is to reach the end of my life not realizing my fullest potential or the highest expression of myself. My main drive is to make sure that I hold nothing back and that I give every day everything I have as a contribution to my continued evolution. I’m convinced that I owe it to myself and the people around me to not let that contribution go to waste.