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Alumni Spotlight: Masood Bukhari

Oct 22 2019

Ron Callahan

Masood Bukhari (MFAD ’07) is the design lead at Unagi Scooters where he creates, manages and implements all company branding initiatives.

Hi Masood, What are you doing professionally?

In 2018 I was asked by the founders of Unagi Scooters to help get the company’s integrated branding and e-commerce initiatives off the ground. Being that the company is still small I work on many different projects and wear many hats. I pivot radically between the type of jobs that I work on. At Unagi I have created the brand identity, brand guidelines, corporate business system, e-commerce platform, packaging, trade show & point-of-sale displays, printed marketing collateral, social media ad campaigns and animated motion graphics for product videos. 

As a designer it is an ideal work situation and the kind that I most enjoy: I have a blank canvas and I only have to present to the founders of the company. There are no mid-level project and marketing managers telling me to make the tagline bigger! Over the years I’ve come to learn that I’m best suited to the frantic energy of the tech start up world. I really enjoy the mission impossible, do or die, all or nothing work approach- its where I do my best work.

You can see our website and stunning Electric Scooter here.

Can you tell us about some of your most interesting projects?

Last year a friend of mine asked me to help her get her business off the ground: Art Actvst. Her idea was to connect artists with brands to support authentic social and environmental causes. I agreed to help and essentially took her through an accelerated version of the MFAD Designer as Entrepreneur program. I helped her with her thesis statement, branding, business model and pitch deck and then sent her out into the world. 

Well… through a chance encounter with the head of creative at Rag & Bone she landed her first client and a small starter project: A global branding campaign for Pride 2018 that would be featured in all 27 Rag & Bone stores! LOL. At that point I stepped back in and together we curated an artist and then worked with the Rag & Bone team and the artist to create the graphics for the campaign. It was a big success and the Pride 2018 campaign raised over $9,000 in support of The Trevor Project, which in turn created 400+ hours of suicide prevention & crisis intervention services for LGBTQ+ youth. It was a fascinating experience to use the skills I learned in the MFAD program and to go from an idea, to launching a business, to launching a global branding campaign in under five months.

You can see the project here.

What was your journey like after graduation?
It has been a wild ride since graduating from the MFAD program. I graduated in 2007 at the beginning of the Great Recession and I had expected to walk into a well paying agency job. But the employment landscape had shifted dramatically almost overnight and I went on interview after interview without landing a job. In the end I was forced to start my own studio and took on almost any job I could to stay afloat financially. It was trial by fire and I made almost every mistake imaginable but eventually I got my business and design chops down. I rented a desk in Martin Kace’s design studio and over a period of five years I managed to build up a steady and increasingly high profile client base. My focus and expertise became identity design and integrated branding and since then I have created work for a diverse roster of boutique clients including; Max Mara, Douglas Elliman, Nick Graham Menswear, Neil Young, Blin.gy, CrunchFund, BulletProof Coffee, Hotel El Ganzo and Rag & Bone.

What advice would you give incoming students?
I recently watched the Steve Jobs 2005 Stanford commencement speech on YouTube and found it deeply inspiring and 100% accurate. I would encourage every student (faculty too!) to spend 15 minutes watching it:

“Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.” -Steve Jobs

You can watch the full video here.