Creative director, Brent Porter, sharing about his career journey.

Article Structure:

  1. Speaker Intro (Brent Porter).
  2. Form & Affect, the digital creative agency
  3. Latest Projects
  4. Recommend Readings for Web & UX designers.
  5. Reference links.

1. Brent Porter

Brent Porter, pic took in Sheridan College
“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’er right.” — Henry Ford

His work.

He is now the partner and creative director at Form & Affect. He does 80 percent of the design work, and keeps him up late.

His childhood.

He grew up in a broken home (parents were divorced). At school, he was a bit of an outsider. He was bullied at school, and got into a lot of fights in high school, caused trouble. He loved art. in grade 10 or 11. He dropped out later, because he didn’t like school, and his home life wasn’t great. He started hanging out with the wrong crowd, and there were times he was homeless, and slept in the streets.

His advice

Definition of being in your element

Discovering your passion and using your god-given talent = being in your element. That’s where you can be happy.

One day, he found he was good at expressing things in art class. He was told to make paper mache things. He made a bird, but a bully had pushed him as he was carrying the bird, knocked it to the ground, and stomped on it. Now there was a footprint dent in the bird but he looked at it and was like “oh i can fix this”, so he goes home and painted tire tracks on the bird. He got an “A”, and he realized he was really good at this.

He got out of the nightclub scene and spent a year clearing his brain. He needed to learn about the fundamentals before he could go into what he liked. He went back to school Mohawk College and studied Graphic Design.

The harsh days on his career.

Until his late teens, things were pretty tough and an overall bad experience. He didn’t have a diploma and no hopes of doing anything. During that period of time, he didn’t know what to do. He felt hopeless and depressed. However, he realized that the only way he could change was if he changed his outlook on things.

He needed to figure out how to get a job without ever having a diploma. He made a portfolio from the posters he made, and just sent it out to agencies.

A woman in Oakville talked to him about an interview, and he was very excited about it. He got hired on the spot.

He had to make a campaign for BD medical. When his boss announced that BD Medical was going to do their campaign, she never mentioned which one. She called Brent in and fired him. Said it wasn’t working out. Two months later, he found his campaign all over the world. She had stolen his work and took credit for it

His advice.

You never fail. You take that, make a lesson out of it, and learn.

“Trust your struggle.” — his own words.

Whatever you’re going through, you’re gonna come out through the other side, and learning from it. Not just life struggles, but in terms of coding and design as well. He said his entire life was learning from his mistakes.

2. Form & Affect

“We use Design and technology to develop meaningful brand experiences.”

Current Clients

Holiday Inn & Suites, Days Inn, VISA, Niagara Parks, CBC, Samsung, Petro-Canada, etc.

Members in the company

Brent Porter: Creative Director.

Paul Vance: Operations Director (Partner)

Tamara Jensen: Digital Strategist

Brad Moore: Media Director

Kristina Gottli: Project Manager (their first hire from Brock University)

Josh Hanson: Lead Developer

Patricia Savoie: Community Manager (just recently came onto the team to help Tamara)

They’re very keen on working as a team, becoming friends (For example. go-carting together, go to hockey games to connect)

Advice of working with clients

Ask Why. This is the best way to deliver work with a purpose

Be Honest. honesty isn’t always easy, but it’s a must-have ingredient of a long-lasting and productive relationship

Have Empathy. putting ourselves in the shoes of a user or an audience shows us how to build an affective and engaging experience. they have to understand what we’re doing; bonding with people is important

Share Knowledge: it fuels discussion and pushes involved to become better in a way that feels natural.

Think Big: our job is to help clients discover opportunities they didn’t know existed.

3. Latest Projects


new technology website

Progressive web app: websites that can access other applications (ie. camera)

find 456 art projects: had to map them, research them, etc.

United Way

share the way campaign. Click on a person’s picture and it would share their story; it was to raise awareness; didn’t get any money but they wanted to support the community

The Bond(CBC Sports)

$50,000 to young athletes (20–50) for training, coaching, etc. to get them to the Olympics hopefully.

The campaign = got the young athletes to sit in an interview. As a surprise, they put a past olympic person (someone they looked up to) in the chair across from them.

Rio on the Edge

Exploring the culture behind Rio, behind the olympics and what was actually happening

VISA (Virtual Reality)

There was an app, you could watch a sport in that particular time. Watch the Olympics in VR.

Breaking Down The Quad

CBC Sports wanted to break down the mechanics of the quad jump, and if it was possible to do something more.

Fully animated site where scientists gave them data and stats.

Breaking Down His 100 Metres

They needed a side picture of his run, and PUMA had them. They wouldn’t release them unless they paid a huge amount of money. But for his last run, he got 4th and CBC jokes that form & affect had ruined his career.

4. Recommend Readings for Web & UX designers:


Anything by Smashing Magazine

Every book written in “A Book Apart” Library

They’re written by the best in the business

Good platforms for building sites

Browserstack: to check browser compatibility and debug it. If a client is having a problem, ask what browser they’re using and what version, and just fire it up on browserstack.

5. Reference links

Agency Related:

Speaker Related: