SENIOR COPYWRITER & SENIOR ART DIRECTOR, BARRETTSF, SAN FRANCISCO CA
Phil Fattore graduated from the University of Michigan before heading to Atlanta to immerse himself in advertising at the Creative Circus. His student work landed him a job at barrettSF before he graduated, and in three short years he’s become the most prolific writer at the agency. As if that weren’t enough, Phil can also accurately quote the entire screenplay from the 80’s movie “Roadhouse.” Byron Wages studied marketing and Spanish at the University of Georgia. He also began his quest for advertising greatness at The Creative Circus. After an internship at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, Byron came to barrettSF and immediately began creating award-winning work, including gold, silver, and bronze One Show pencils for Bleacher Report. Although they never worked together in ad school, Phil and Byron quickly became a go-to team at barrettSF. Just three years into their careers, they have become creative and cultural leaders. This is particularly impressive given the number of hours they spend watching Tim & Eric clips on YouTube.
WHERE WERE YOU BORN AND WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW?
Byron: Born in Atlanta GA and currently live in San Francisco CA. Phil: Born in Detroit MI, and I also live in San Francisco CA.
DID YOU GO TO DESIGN SCHOOL?
B: Creative Circus in Atlanta. P: Same
LEFTY OR RIGHTY?
B: I am right-handed. P: Righty in life, lefty in hockey
MORNING PERSON OR NIGHT OWL?
B: What kind of bird stays up later than an owl? Whatever that is. P: Night b’owl. It’s a bat combined with an owl. It’s B’owl! From Cinco Toys.
FICTIONAL OR HISTORICAL CHARACTER YOU IDENTIFY WITH?
B: I’ve spent a lot of time as Arthur Morgan. lately P: George Harrison
ARE YOU MUSICAL AND/OR PLAY AN INSTRUMENT?
B: Though I had a brief stint as clarinetist, I am no longer musical. Artie Shaw would be very disappointed in my musical dedication. P: I played the trumpet in 5th grade. Now I just listen to music, none of which is trumpet driven.
B: Basketball (and Other Things) by Shea Serrano and Arturo Torres. P: American Pastoral by Philip Roth
B: Rear Window. P: Goodfellas
FAVORITE TV BINGE WATCH?
B: Seinfeld, The Office, the first 10 seasons of The Simpsons. P: The Office, Seinfeld, Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, Antiques Roadshow and Peep Show.
FAVORITE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM?
B: I spend a lot of time on Reddit; I need those memes. For sports you can’t beat Twitter. Instagram kinda bums me out. P: Instagram. I like to follow a lot of art and history museums, sneaker accounts, artists, and yes, memes too.
B: The Ringer NBA Show almost daily. Beyond that, How Did This Get Made is awesome, as most of Atlanta Monster was quite good. P: Don’t Get Me Started: A Podcast About Advertising (DGMS), Missing Richard Simmons, and This American Life.
FAVORITE CHARITY OR CAUSE?
B. Thanks to my fiancé’s family I’ve become a big ocean guy. Gotta take care of that thing. P: Any charity or cause that’s trying to find a cure for cancer.
FAVORITE FREE TIME ACTIVITY?
B. I get really into fantasy sports, so researching and creating spreadsheets and projections, and doing something really analytical gives the right side of my brain some rest. Other than that, lifting weights, taking pictures of my cat Cindy Clawford, and all things internet. P: Running and going to see old movies in old movie theaters.
B: Nooooo. I try to have fewer and fewer things; I’m engaged to a Marie Kondo devotee. More things = more anxiety (for me). P: I have a giant box of PEZ dispensers at my childhood home in Michigan. I also have a lot of sneakers and pins at my adult home in San Francisco. B: I would like to point out that Phil is using this interview as practice to write (good) pseudo-headlines. P: I would like to point out that Byron is using this interview to practice semicolon usage.
WHICH AREA OF GRAPHIC DESIGN IS GROWING THE MOST?
B: My personal favorite design growth is in stuff like memes and emojis. Languageless language is peak design to me. P: I couldn’t say. I’m a writer. B: You know you’re a damn good writer when a graphic design publication names you a person to watch though. P: Yeah, how’d that happen? Who goofed up?
B: In my personal life: Brad Kayal, Todd Eisner, Sylvia Gaffney. For popular design and illustration: Jessica Walsh, Mickey Duzyj, Ryan Simpson, Aaron Draplin, Joan Cornellà, Jessica Hische, Arturo Torres, Jon Contino. And in the least esoteric way possible: Saul Bass, Bob Noorda, Massimo Vignelli, Stanislav Szukalski and Dieter Rams. P: Brad Kayal, Todd Eisner and Angie Hering. I also really like Takenobu Igarashi’s calendars.
ADVICE TO A YOUNG DESIGNER JUST STARTING OUT?
B: Do everything in your power to be around good, smart, genuine people who are much more talented than you. P: What Byron said, also pay attention to great past and present work and understand why it’s good even if you don’t particularly like it. But I’m just a writer, so maybe that doesn’t apply.
IF YOU WERE NOT A DESIGNER, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?
B: Probably a writer. P: I’m already not a designer so I guess I’d be a writer too.
A MANTRA OR SAYING YOU LIVE BY?
B: “They don’t think it be like it is but it do.” – Oscar Gamble. P: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” – Spock