Underbelly | Whale, Whale, Whale...

3/12/2015 | Katie Bald
Kerri Fukui


As anyone who’s spent at least two seconds on the beautifully be-gridded streets of this city should know, SLC is certainly no slouch in the creativity department. We've got a fair amount of movers and shakers up in this band of Salt Lakers, so you oughtn't be surprised by the slew of cool that the creative cats over at Underbelly have been churning out regularly since the day they planted themselves in our salty soil four years ago. Not sure about you, but we COLLECTIVELY love a good grassroots success story, especially on the local level--and to say Underbelly is succeeding would be a whale of an understatement.

Underbelly is, as founder Anthony Lagoon articulates, "a tight group of designers, developers, and illustrators." Jack of all trades-style, the folks at Underbelly are flourishing in all matters of creation. Says Anthony, "Whether we are designing a clever brand for a company, or coding an impressive animation, we don't stop tinkering until the work inspires. Everyone on our team has their own unique skills and talents, but main things that set us apart are our attention to detail and willingness to keep pushing ourselves to solve complex problems in simple and elegant ways."The testament is in the tapioca; they've worked with some majors, both on the local and national fronts. In summary: they're killing it.

This lovely little team of passionate pixel pushers creates an intricately-designed [and equally delightful] user experience every time. Word of Underbelly's expertise in damn-near-all-things is out, and they're on to bigger digs and greener pastures by way of a new address in Pierpont Place. Come to that, they had a little party to celebrate the space, and we happened to wander in, camera in hand. It was all good times and fine lines. Underbelly is going the route of the Jeffersons in more ways than one, so you'd do well to listen close and find out what's up...

Underbelly | 378 West Broadway, Suite 3 | 801.770.0830


So you slay the game at creating apps and branding for companies. What are a few things you just as easily do oh-so-well? We also design and develop websites, create motion prototypes, packaging, environmental graphics, to name a few. We also make a mean cup of coffee, with a little help from our friends at Charming Beard. We find that doing our own photography or video is really helpful in controlling the quality of our designs. You’ll often find us hauling a ton of camera gear around town with a bunch of techy devices. We love to get away from our desks to capture people using or enjoying the things we designed in real environments.

There's got to be a particular client or project that you were particularly stoked to have collabed with. Who's the "Queen" to your "feat. David Bowie"? Hmm, tough one…we’ve had the privilege of working with so many really great people recently. One that really stands out, though, would be Salt City Builds. Those dudes are legit. And not too many projects come with an inherent adrenaline rush. While working on their website, we were able to go out with them and literally hang out the back of cars with a Steadicam taking photos and videos while they rode up Guardsman’s Pass. Not only did we have incredible photography to start our designs with, but they are always open to us using the latest technologies and tricks as we develop their website. [Editor's note: we've just checked the Salt City Builds site, and it is legiiiiiit.]

As Vincent van Gogh taught us, it's hard being creative for a living. Do you have any special techniques or go-to places you frequent for inspo? I find that there’s no secret equation to being creative, but if you get all the right ingredients together at the right time, that’s when the magic happens. That could mean something different for every project. For example, if we're trying to come up with a really great logo, we often grab some paper, pencil, and a short stack of books and head over to La Barba coffee to focus on sketching up a ton of ideas for a few hours. Or if we’re building an app that solves some unique problems, we’ll hit the streets and test our ideas with people to make sure our designs are easy and delightful. Good design comes through a lot of hard work and refinement. Some of my go-to places for inspiration would be books, Dribbble, coffee shops, or by immersing myself into our client’s environment and bringing back photos, videos, or whatever I can and surrounding our workspace with it all.

Y'all just moved to a new HQ in Pierpont. How do you like the new 'hood? We absolutely love being a part of the Pierpont neighborhood! There are so many great shops, businesses, and inspiring artists all within walking distance from our studio! Being just across the street from Pioneer Park is really great for those of us that bring our dogs to work. As far as our studio goes, we couldn’t be happier. The layout is so perfect for us. We have great lighting, open meeting rooms, and plenty of space to get away and focus on our work. I look forward to coming to work everyday. It doesn’t feel like work when you work in such a great area and get a chance to make a real, positive impact on people’s lives.

A little birdy tells us you're going to be holding an open house in your new spot the 3rd Friday of every month. We loooove open houses... Dang, news travels fast! Yeah, our space is just too good to keep all to ourselves. We’re stoked on our amazing culture downtown and are excited to invite our clients, friends, and community to enjoy an evening of food, beverages, and shop talk. Its one of the many ways that we want to stay connected to the amazing creative community that we have.

Anything big on the horizon we could say we heard about first? We’re always working on a slew of projects that we’re dying to talk about but there are actually several that we’ll be sharing soon. One of them in particular is a huge landmark in the Salt Lake Community. We can’t say much about it yet, but you’ll definitely know it when you see it. The other project that you should definitely be on the lookout for is Salt City Curl Co. Salon. It’s a great new addition to the local business community, in an amazing space right next to Caffe Niche. We’ve worked up a really great brand for them, and are rolling out a ton of environmental graphics over the next few weeks.

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