James Buyayo, Designer



We built our culture into everything we did, literally.


Hattery came together as a diverse group of people hailing from big tech companies, nonprofits, our own startups, product development and design firms across the country. We came together because we wanted our work to count. Together, we formed a company that was part design firm, part VC fund, all working towards creating an environment that nurtured innovation and people with audacious, world-changing ideas. We worked with early-stage startups to turn those ideas into reality.

As a start-up ourselves, we needed a new space to house both our growing team and the startups we would work with. The design team took an active role in shaping how the space would function and look, making sure that the space embodied our nascent yet already definable culture and value set. 


We talked to designers from IDEO and the d.school at Stanford to learn how other organizations designed spaces and furniture that intrinsically have collaboration and new ways of working in mind, visiting their workspaces to see firsthand how these concepts were being applied. We also took stock of the particulars and site-specific qualities of the building we were inhabiting. In the renovation process we identified a series of douglas fir rafters that were non-load bearing and blocked natural light sources. The wood beams were taken down and repurposed into office furnishings for the space. Will Holman, a master guerilla builder, together with architect Chris Currie hand-crafted conference tables and work tables out of the Civil War era reclaimed wood. The large work tables, mounted on wheels, invited teams to work shoulder-to-shoulder and could easily be reconfigured in the space depending on the shifting team needs. Built on-site and meant to stay with the building, the tables are too large to fit through the front door.

Together with our resident chef, Aubrey Saltus, we repurposed part of the office as our communal kitchen to create space for Hattery residents to not just get a nutritious bite to eat, but also interact with others outside of their own startup. The eating area also became our after-work yoga studio (probably a violation of some health code).

The office also served as an event space for the tech community, hosting hackathons and a series of talks. For one such event we arranged screenprinting stations for attendees to print their own posters. 


As we began to mature as a company it became important that we codify our values, mission and vision, which then were made visual in the evolution of the company's visual identity. We worked with type designer James T. Edmondson to create a hand-lettered logotype, and a custom typeface, Hattery Script as a part of the identity system. The team, space, and brand were all forming and coming together in parallel, each aspect feeding off each other in interesting ways.


I lead design teams working with portfolio companies and clients on creating new products and communication campaigns. We partnered with founders and executive leaders of startups and nonprofits including CloudPhysics, Google, Engine, Hipiti, and Invitae. CloudPhysics went on to win Best Cloud Management Award at VMWorld, and Invitae has since IPO’ed on the NYSE. Our work with Google helped bring together people across the globe to stop SOPA and PIPA. The design team was aqui-hired by Google in 2013.