When the last four years of your career have been spent transitioning between Pentagram and Bloomberg Businessweek, all while your personal illustration projects achieve international acclaim, it’s got to be tough to plan the next step. Do you keep going at your multi-award winning magazine or strike out on your own as a freelancer and watch your own work flourish? Braulio Amado chose another route, and moved across town to work for yet another one of the world’s most respected creative enterprises, Wieden + Kennedy.
He followed the lead of his former boss, Richard Turley, whose move from Businessweek to MTV, and latterly onto W+K has been well-documented in the industry press. Unsurprisingly, he’s taken some of his finest collaborators with him.
“It’s a no-brainer for me,” says Amado. “I was at Bloomberg Businessweek for three years and I was doing all my own work at the same time. Businessweek was my full-time job, and I liked it so much I realized, that if I didn’t leave right now I would probably never leave, ever. I want to learn new things before I feel like I’m ready to settle into a place for the rest of my life. Richard emailed me to see if I was interested in joining him at this new department, and I decided to risk it.”
Exactly what this new department will be doing remains ambiguous. Turley has talked around the subject in previous interviews, and Amado doesn’t seem fussed not to have a coherent job description.
“It’s all very new,” he says, “but Richard was brought in to shake things up a little bit. We’re involved in some client work, but we’re mostly doing our own projects, just here experimenting and creating new things. We’ve been doing all of these Instagram animations and videos for social projects. We were part of the relaunch of Spy Magazine, and doing all these fake ads. It’s a lot of things right now. I’m really new here and I’m just trying to understand what’s going to happen.”
This is a common occurrence among ex-members of Turley’s original Businessweek team; they’re snapped up by new enterprises looking to get their hands on some of that special sauce. Former Businessweek art director Tracy Ma has just been hired by Medium’s Matter platform, to transform it into an experimental publishing think tank with a brief as loose as Turley’s is at W+K. They’re brought in not only for their practical skills, but for an attitude towards making work that’s refreshingly unfocused.
“We had the freedom to do all the crazy stuff we were doing,” says Amado “and I feel like people were following our work. Now we want to maintain the same working environment here. Businessweek was such a free and experimental place that it would be really hard for me, and I imagine Tracy, to leave and go to a regular, traditional agency or design studio.”
Strangely, having a crazy day job isn’t enough for Amado, and he fills his free time with commissions for record labels and some of the big names behind New York’s nightlife. “I feel like I have the need to feel busy all the time,” he says. “So I do enjoy the craziness of staying a few more hours at the office and doing my own work.”
Then why doesn’t he just take the plunge and go freelance? “I’m a terrible businessman, and I hate working alone at a desk.”