Motion design matters:
A chat with Mack Garrison & Cory Livengood of DASH
I had the chance to sit down with Mack Garrison and Cory Livengood, Co-Founders of DASH, to learn more about the amazing work they’ve been doing as our 2017 Hopscotch Design Festival motion design partners. Not only have they been helping us create the beautiful video assets you’ve been seeing around our site and and social media, they’re also speaking at the festival, and will have an exciting collaborative installation at Wristband City in Raleigh Convention Center that you won’t want to miss. Read on to learn more about Mack and Cory, DASH, and what they have in store for us this year.
Why is design important to you, Raleigh, and the world?
M + C: Design is a fantastic problem solving tool that allows critical thinkers a chance to push boundaries and make differences in a myriad of subject matters. In terms of the importance of design in Raleigh and the world—design matters because it pushes innovation and growth. Raleigh is a prime example of that growth. We need critical thinking skills to solve tough challenges. Designers help test different avenues and approaches to find the most desirable outcome. There are lots of sociotechnical problems and complex issues that arise as populations grow (like healthcare, putting food on the table, jobs, etc.), and it’s all interwoven. That’s why it’s important to approach these issues through design thinking, through collaboration with others to break down big problems into digestible pieces while also thinking about these solutions holistically.
Tell us about the project you helped Hopscotch Design with. Why did DASH want to be part of it?
C: There are lot of moving pieces with what we’re doing with Hopscotch Design Festival. As the festival’s motion partner, we’re shaping what Hopscotch Design looks like in motion. We’ve been developing collateral at the heart of Hopscotch Design and design thinking across multiple disciplines—which is really exciting—and finding a way to show it dynamically. We have also been thinking a lot about the design community in Raleigh and how we can collaborate with other freelancers and studios to work towards a common goal. There are a lot of talented folks in the area and we’re looking forward to connecting with more of them at the festival!
M: We’re both born and raised in North Carolina, so we’re very invested in this area. Hopscotch Design Festival is a great opportunity for us to share our creative talents with a community we hold so dear to our hearts. Our goal is to create high-end motion design that matters, and Hopscotch offers us the opportunity to share that. Hopscotch brings all of these different fields of study into one place. So we wanted the motion design element we’re creating to encompass all of that. Some live action, some animation—all with the idea to reflect the myriad people attending the festival. We also wanted to highlight Raleigh as a staple in the design community. Raleigh has a ton to offer—and not just locally. We wanted to showcase that.
What’s your vision for the future of DASH?
M + C: Our mission is to create high-end motion design that matters. With the way content is being created and delivered today, we think motion design leads the way in sharing information. The average attention span of consumers is getting shorter and shorter, so motion design has become a great conduit for retaining attention. There are a myriad of different deliverables and channels we’re focused on to get the message across, and with so many different industries expressing the need for video content—we’re always learning something new. As we look ahead to the future of animation and motion design, we see a world of content-driven sites, installations, and more motion elements integrating with everyday life. As DASH grows, we’re looking to build a culture around great people with strong ideas. A culture of thinkers and makers with a passion for motion design.
You guys are also giving a talk at the festival this year. Could you give us a little insight into what you’ll be covering?
M + C: We’re titling our talk “Key Frames”—which is a term used in animation to visualize the creative direction for a piece. Key frames are a set of still images pulled from key moments in a story that convey the overall look and feel of a piece (typography, colors, graphic elements, etc.) without the motion component. They serve as the foundation for the piece and ensure everyone is on board with the direction before moving forward into the animation. We want to talk about our key moments, our foundation, that led us to where we are today and how to use these key frames to build a foundation for the future. We embrace the fact that we both have similar backgrounds and made similar choices to stop what we were doing to start something new. We’re invested in people and culture, building the right state of mind and a family of creatives that can lean on each other. We’re both designers and now business owners—and that was, and still is, a learning curve. We want to talk about how design thinking relates to owning and running a creative business, and how all of this comes together as the key building blocks for what we think will be a successful endeavor.
Tell us about the installation DASH will have in Wristband City.
M: We’re really excited about it! Plus we did some searching around, and it doesn’t look like anyone has done something like this yet. Basically we’re creating crowdsourced animation. There are usually 24 or 12 frames per second in animation—so we’re going to do a 10-second animation to encapsulate the thinkers, makers, and storytellers at Hopscotch Design Festival. Attendees are going to have a role in creating the animation in real-time—they’ll sketch or design a frame (or five or six), and then we’ll take it and animate it on a big screen right in front of their eyes. We’re showcasing the power of collaboration—which is what Hopscotch Design Festival is all about.
C: As you can imagine, there are a lot of technical and moving parts to the installation. But that goes back to our idea of what we think motion design will be in the future. We’re constantly looking for ways to break away from traditional channels. So this project is really our first attempt at breaking away from traditional venues and ways of animating.
What do you hope that attendees will experience or take away from this collaboration? What’s the intention of this work?
M + C: DASH is a young company—so we want to spread the word and let people know we are around. We love the design community in Raleigh. So many movers and shakers and existing companies helped us out when we were getting started and really lifted us up—so we want to say thanks and give that back a little bit (and it doesn’t hurt to help us get noticed!). Also, motion design is kind of a new field. If you talk to people about what graphic design is, there’s a pretty clear understanding. But people don’t know much about motion design. It’s a discipline that pulls from a myriad of other fields: animation, motion graphics, illustration, painting, sculpting, etc. We’re hoping to influence other folks and get them interested in motion design, and to inspire people to bring their ideas into motion. We like to think of it as the “capital T theory.” We start at base of the T, and then branch off as we grow. Motion design is kind of like the top of the T—you can branch off in so many different directions. Writers can write for motion. Graphic designers can incorporate motion into their work. We’re hoping to inspire others to think about how they can apply their skillsets with motion.
What studios are you inspired by, and why?
M: Buck is a studio that I really admire. They’re so inspiring as a collective of animators, innovators, and artists. They’re pushing the boundaries of what can be done and what has been done before. As an upcoming designer, Buck really set the stage for me to know that it’s possible to have a high-end business based around that mentality. I felt there was a need for high-end animation, and that’s why we started DASH.
C: In the motion industry, our goal was not to be the best designers in the world, but to build the best team. I really admire Giant Ant (they’re based in Vancouver). They’re a small, talented group of people who make amazing work together. Each of them would be great alone, but putting them together is just incredible. They also work with clients that share their beliefs, which is something we’re trying to do as well. We vet our clients just as much as they vet us. Working with people who are doing good for the earth, and good for humanity—that’s who we want to work with.
Anything else you’d like to add or that we should know?
M: We’re trying to build awareness around our brand and create high-end motion design that matters. It’s a new medium that will really help a lot of people as companies and individuals, and we’re excited to be at the forefront of that movement. We hope that we can inspire the audience that will be at Hopscotch Design Festival to learn more about motion design.
C: We’re both from North Carolina—we grew up in Raleigh and Greensboro. There is so much talent and opportunity here, but we also want the Raleigh design community and DASH to be known on the national level too. We’re trying to position ourselves, and Raleigh, in that way. And I think that vision aligns perfectly with Hopscotch Design Festival. We want to get the word out that Raleigh’s design talent and community is not just incredible for Raleigh, but also for the rest of the world.
Thanks Mack and Cory! Intrigued by the work DASH does and what they’ve got planned for us at Hopscotch Design Festival this year? Check out their website, watch the amazing promo video they created for us, and make sure you have your tickets for Hopscotch Design Festival: September 7 – 8, 2017. See you there!