How to Succeed in Design

Gira and Will of Aleberry Creative“We didn’t want to work at an ad agency and start from the bottom,” said Gira Desai, co-founder of Aleberry Creative. “We wanted to be creative directors.”

Founded straight out of college with her advertising class buddy, Will Bradley, Aleberry Creative has grown from a couple of (greatly) underpriced portfolio projects to a steely empire of startup branding and innovative web design.

“The only reason we went into advertising is so that we could do creative work for money,” chimed in Will. “Once I figured out where advertising was actually taking me, I realized that I didn’t want to be a part of that! If we started a company, we could start doing creative work while we were still poor enough for it not to matter if we were poor.”

Pitch Decks and Runaway Success

From those humble beginnings, Aleberry started an empire — working with clients in a variety of industries while retaining a special focus on startups.

“Local businesses took risks with us and that was so cool,” Gira said. “When we moved to Houston in 2010, we met a lot of great people, like Marc Nathan and Jeff Reichman, and were thrown into startup culture. They hooked us up with these new companies and seed accelerators — now we do predominately startup materials. A lot of pitch decks and things like that.”

“It’s a pretty cool niche,” Will adds.

“In our work with Surge [energy startup seed accelerator], all the companies we work with are oil and gas, and energy,” Gira said. “With OwlSpark [at Rice University], we get a little more variety. We also volunteer with Startup Weekend, where we do a lot of mentoring and knock out a few designs for companies.”

The Pursuit of Legitimacy

A cornerstone of Aleberry’s business is Perceived Legitimacy (PL), a philosophy which guides their work. More than just having a slick looking identity package, deck and website, PL is about showing the world exactly why they should trust your business by making it look trustworthy.

PL“You have a bunch of built-in trust on companies that have things together, Will said. “It’s the polished appearance [of a business]. It looks like it has time spent on it.”

PL is critical to success, which is why, from meeting one, Aleberry imparts the knowledge of why looking like you have it all together is so important to a fledgling business.

“We use it when we’re explaining to them how to get ready for pitch day,” said Gira. “We discussed that you need to look good in front of investors.”

Building the Plane While You Fly It — A Straight Line to Doing Work You Love

Now celebrating their five-year anniversary, Aleberry Creative has a brilliant past and a bright future. But they didn’t get to where they are by sitting around all day and planning.

“We had no idea what the company was going to be,” said Will. “That didn’t take form for a few years. We didn’t really have a solid business plan.”

“We just start doing,” Gira said. “We made a lot of mistakes and learned from them. [For us] it just worked out!”

For more about our partners at Aleberry Creative, check out their website.


Sarah Gabbart is an expert in helping companies find their voice. A firm believer in the power of human-friendly business copy, she strives to make even the most complicated stories engaging. Sarah brings over a decade of industry-diverse experience in copywriting, corporate communications, and small-business management to the GlobalWrites team, and enjoys a regular contributor role at Houstonia Magazine.