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AMA: Matias Corea, Co-founder & Head of Design of Behance

over 4 years ago from , Co-founder & Head of Design

Hi I'm Matias Corea, Co-founder and Head of Design at Behance. I started out as a graphic designer in my natal Barcelona and moved to NY when i was 22 to pursue my career. Worked on advertising for a bit and in a design studio before my business partner Scott Belsky and i met and started Behance a few month after.

It's been now 8 years in which we have tackled design for Behance with the same goal of empowering creatives in any way possible. Over these last years i have had the opportunity to work in very different mediums: interaction design, mobile design, magazines, apparel, conference design, and even workspace design.

I still have a passion for objects and physical design which is why i move from pixels to inches as much as i can.

Also i love jazz music and vintage motorcycles and I'll be more than happy to talk about that as well!

So, if you're curious about anything please ask away!

Also: • See more of my work on Be.net/matiascorea • My thoughts on twitter.com/matiascorea

17 comments

  • Jeff ShinJeff Shin, over 4 years ago (edited over 4 years ago )

    Hey Matias,

    For many showcase-based communities like Behance, 500px, or Dribbble, I find that there's often too much shameless self-promotion, which sometimes hurts the community. I'm referring to the comments like 'nice work! please check out my work here' left on every single post / submission, in hopes that someone clicks on their link.

    I'd love to hear your thoughts on whether you see this as a problem or not, and how your team approaches this issue when designing and building your products.

    8 points
    • Matias CoreaMatias Corea, over 4 years ago

      Jeff, Great question. I think this issue is larger than any platform in the internet. I think the issue comes from the way people use and interact specifically on the internet. If you were at a party and met someone and right after 1 minute of talk you said: "Interesting point, do you want to check some of my work on my ipad?" people would think you're not very interesting to say the least, which is why most people don't do it.

      I think most people don't realize that these little (and continuous) self-promotion droplets are hurting their image. They offer no real opinion or conversation and they ask for something, bad equation.

      But knowing we don't have the power to change the way people act the best way is possibly adding a up-vote & down-vote for comments. People love being up-voted, liked or appreciated so after this could be a way to show how effort and intention can yield a something of value. We're thinking about this as i type.

      5 points
      • Jeff ShinJeff Shin, over 4 years ago

        Yes, definitely. I'm excited to see how online communities evolve with that in mind.

        Thanks for your insight, and congrats on the great work you're doing on Behance, looking forward to seeing more in the future.

        0 points
  • Matt AchariamMatt Achariam, over 4 years ago

    Hello Matias, great to have you with us today. It’s safe to say most of the design community is aware of your work and relies on the platform you have created with Behance. I’d like to start with a few questions.

    1. How did you manage the transition to creating for web while having a background in traditional print and brand design?
    2. Being a co-founder leaves you with various responsibilities that don’t often involve design, how do you find a balance?
    3. After gaining the experience of building a massive platform for creatives to share their work, can you share any insight that might not be common knowledge?
    2 points
    • Matias Corea, over 4 years ago
      1. Learning to me has always been a mix of curiosity and necessity. In this case necessity was more imperative as we needed to design Behance and I never designed a website before. The process was simple, look around and analyze what are other people doing, process it and try to apply it to your own needs. I was also very curious of a medium that i could change after being 'done', which in print is not possible.

      2. One of the most important things I've learned at Behance is how to leave my designer ego behind and think about all the aspects of the company we are building. If you want to succeed as a designer founder you have to remember that budget, time, resources and technology are also a part of your product and that means they need to be part of your design process. Finding the balance is an ongoing task of trial and error, i'm still trying!

      3. There's no silver bullet to grow a community. you have to hit the ground and talk to people, call them, ask them to join and make them engaged. This is a digital world but we're all still humans. As my colleague Alex K. says: "Get on the phone and talk to people". I'd love someone to show me a "growth-hacking" strategy that builds long-term value of solid costumers.

      0 points
  • Sean BlandaSean Blanda, over 4 years ago

    What's your advice to a young designer that also wants to start their own company? What should they keep in mind?

    2 points
    • Matias CoreaMatias Corea, over 4 years ago

      Sean, That's a question that would ask for a whole book!

      There's a sort of start-up fever going on for the last few years and people have a napkin doodle and think they have a startup. When we started having a startup wasn't actually cool, people would look at you like: "Oh, you don't actually have a real job". Today people think it's cool but starting a company requires discipline, a lot of stamina and patience and knowing how to build a network and nurture it, oh and understanding product, how to build a great experience and your market and target audience.

      I encourage anyone to become entrepreneurs and build their own stuff for others to use, it's a rewarding thing to do in life. But you have to make sure you're solving a problem, and that you really understand the problem, only that way you can find a real solution.

      What i would advice against is deciding you want to have your own company and THEN trying o come up with an idea. That's a recipe for disaster.

      4 points
  • Matt ThomasMatt Thomas, over 4 years ago (edited over 4 years ago )

    Do you find it easier designing for physical objects? There’s real-world constraints (materials, space, weight) that often limit and focus design and the tools that can be used. In the virtual world, most of these constraints are non-issues.

    Also since you like jazz, any relation to Chick Corea?

    2 points
    • Matias Corea, over 4 years ago

      Matt, No relation to Chick unfortunately, though once i almost got backstage passes because they thought i was part of his family while i was picking up tickets at will call! I didn't take them.

      I don't think either medium is easier, they just have different constrains. For example a website can't really have a smell (yet), or a tactile feel, or a particular weight that makes it feel elegant, a website doesn't really age with use... To me materials, space, weight, shape are not constrains but qualities and parameters. I often look back at the history of certain objects and many times i find that the less technology involved with it's creation the purest the design.

      On the digital space we have the possibility of improving, upgrading and continue to evolve the same product but it has many constrains, we just take them for granted. Technology is quickly allowing us to make more and more of our experiences online but we're still far from what it can be.

      2 points
  • Jeff EverestJeff Everest, over 4 years ago

    Walk us through a day in your life?

    2 points
  • Murat MutluMurat Mutlu, over 4 years ago

    Hey Matias,

    Thanks for doing an AMA! I'd love to know your thoughts on the following:

    • How did you decide which features to build early on? How much of it was gut feeling, listening to users and data?

    • It sounds like you are still heavily involved in design at Behance which is great, do you get your hands dirty much and tackle any UI or UX challenges by pushing pixels?

    • What are the biggest challenges now compared to pre-Adobe?

    • What do you think is the most important thing that you learned from your fundraising and acquisition experiences?

    • How many people in your design team now?

    1 point
    • Matias Corea, over 4 years ago

      Hi Murat,

      1. On features: I'll reply to you backwards. If I was to build Behance again i would build probably 20% of what we originally built.

      Think what are the features that are core to the experience you want people to have. The more features you add the more each one gets diluted. Think abut what you want each one of your users to do and build just that. Refrain from the 'it would be cool if they could also..." Generally the word also means optional, not core. Remove.

      1. On design: We have a very flat structure at Behance so we're always talking to each other and using each other strengths' to make better products. The process of growing means learning to delegate and build a solid team that you can trust and that can add more than if you were on your own, Behance wouldn't be the same without the design team as a whole. To answer #5, Our team is composed of Zach, Clement, Eric, Raewyn, Jeannie, Rumiana, Andrew and Matthieu.

      2. Pre-Adobe: How to maintain our focus, process and chemistry while growing fast. We have more than doubled our size the acquisition and that type of growth is a challenge on its own. culture will make a great team and a happy place to work in, you always have to keep the right temperature!

      Also, learning how to work with other teams after being a "single-child" for a long time, but this also give you access to great minds and resources to make the products even better.

      1. What i learned: Don't get in bed with a company that doesn't truly understand what you're trying to do in the world. In our case, the people at Adobe where the only ones who really understood where Behance was headed, so it was a clear match.
      1 point
  • Cameron MollCameron Moll, over 4 years ago

    Hey Matias, thanks for taking time out of your schedule to AMA here.

    With a brand like yours that spreads across several properties, achieving (and maintaining) visual unity is very challenging. What has been your process for visual unity across all things Behance?

    1 point
  • Rachel WhiteRachel White, over 4 years ago

    Hi Matias :)

    1 point
  • Miguel Solorio, over 4 years ago

    Hey Matias,

    Thanks for doing this! I've been a fan since 2009 and have loved the wealth of inspiration that your site generates. Thanks! A few questions:

    • What were some of your biggest design struggles as you started to plan out the Behance project? What helped conceptualize what you wanted to create?
    • In a nutshell, what's the design process like at Behance?
    • Did the wildfire attention ever affect your team's design process?
    • Where is Behance headed in the next 5 years?
    0 points
  • saptarshi nathsaptarshi nath, over 4 years ago

    Hi, I have a simple question for you...

    What makes Behance so great?

    0 points
    • Matias Corea, over 4 years ago

      That the people who build it are the same that will use it. When you truly understand the problem you're trying to tackle then you're in the best position to find a great solution.

      0 points