my story ►

01:01:01:20



My brother, David, and Me
Me (L) & David (R)


Growing up, I was an endlessly artistic kid, always sketching and illustrating, typically alongside my brother, David.

By the time I entered into my teenage years, however, I was experimenting less in the traditional artistic disciplines, and more with that of my own appearance … as well as the appearance of Krylon brand spray paint on train cars in the freight yards of Chicago.


The high school crew in 1994
(L to R) Me, Petey, Death Metal Geoff, Spatz, and Bboy / And yes, I wrote 'PeZ' =]


In my further pursuit of the illegal arts, I was first introduced to contemporary graphic design tools when my brother, Pete (above) and I self-hosted a crash course in making fake IDs using Photoshop. I found I rather enjoyed pushing pixels with various Adobe software products, and I began to imagine the possibility of a career in graphic design.


Fake ID
An analog for my early Photoshop work


With all the promise the Internet held, static graphics quickly paled in comparison, for me, to their interactive counterparts on the web. And when a pair of friends showed me their web-based, immersive, motion graphic creations, I was immediately hooked.


Friends of Ed book series
I still owe the Peachpit ‘Visual Quickstart Guide’ book series for my first couple career gigs.


Universities had yet to acknowledge the intersection of software, design and Internet technologies, so I learned how to design and code on my own time and terms. I bought the textbooks of my choosing, and hustled hard through the startup, client side, and agency worlds, before finding my way to IDEO, where I long worked as a Principal Interaction and Software Designer in the company's Chicago and San Francisco studios.


IDEO
👋 IDEO


After 7 years with IDEO, I accepted a position with Google, where I now work as a UX Design Lead for Ambient Computing and Assistant-enabled devices in Mountain View, CA.


Google's Mountain View Headquarters
Hey, Google.


I've had the honor to speak, both home and abroad, about how the ideologies borne of the 🤘 music and activism ✊ that raised me now inform the work that I do as a designer, and about the future I believe we've all a responsibility to create through our work.


Burton Rast on stage at OFFF Italia / DDD 2016
DDD Milan, photo by Graffiti.it


Formerly, I served on the Board of Directors at AIGA Chicago. And I cook a mean omelet; so mean, in fact, that I once made them for the entire IDEO Chicago studio.