Advertising student Hayden Gallup designs animations for major companies

By Pari Apostolakos, Staff writer

For many students, getting a job offer from a company like IBM is a dream come true. Hayden Gallup has received that and much more from companies like Nike, LG and Audi.

Gallup, junior in Media, runs a design business where he creates animations for companies to use in their advertisements. Gallup’s animations are each designed specifically to suit the needs of his clients.

After completing the animation, he reaches out to the company’s public relations or marketing teams, or even the firm’s owner if it is a small company, to propose his work. If the company likes Gallup’s designs, they run them in advertisements.

Gallup likes to reach out to businesses offering a “design-friendly edge.” He had the idea to turn his passion for animation into a business during his sophomore year of high school. However, Gallup’s discovery of animation goes back to the sixth grade.

“I had a friend that was really into making these YouTube videos … and I was really interested in that at the time … I would just get on Windows Movie Maker and make a ton of little fun videos with my friends,” Gallup said.

Gallup is a self-taught animator, having never taken any classes. He uses curiosity as his guide.

He was influenced by the accomplishments of Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs, although they are not designers. Gallup is inspired by how the two have “changed the world.” He wishes to accomplish similar feats.

Gallup left the Art Institute of Chicago where he had a full ride scholarship because he felt he wasn’t challenged in its visual communications program. The department head Gallup spoke with said he was essentially ahead of the game, and there wasn’t much more he could learn from them in the design realm.

Back to the drawing board, Gallup decided to pursue a degree in advertising at the University. He realized having that type of education would be beneficial when running his business, and he views the University as a great place to make connections.

One connection Gallup made was with Evan Cassani, senior in LAS and Illini Media Company employee.

Cassani is one of Gallup’s associates who communicates with potential clients and presents the advertisement or package of advertisements Gallup creates.

“He realized I could talk to people a certain way,” Cassani said.

That’s when Gallup offered Cassani a position as an account manager.

Cassani said his communication strategy is very personal.

“I hit the streets,” Cassani said. “I hit (Green Street) and I seriously went down to every shop.”

Cassani regularly checks out new businesses in the community, like The Slice Factory, and inquires if they need design work.

Emmanuel Salas, a sophomore at Harold Washington College in Chicago, also works for Gallup’s company. Salas has known Gallup since his freshman year of high school but began a professional relationship with him only about a year and a half ago.

Salas’ job is to build a stronger client base and establish a network. He said one of his goals is to get Gallup’s work as much exposure as possible.

For Gallup, he said initially convincing clients of his expertise is sometimes a struggle because many people don’t believe a college student can have the skills that Gallup does. This is only a problem until clients view his portfolio.

“What I have growing right now is definitely being taken seriously,” Gallup said.

Gallup said his philosophy is quality over quantity. He wants to come to his clients with good ideas.

To get in contact with large corporations, Gallup said he has had conversations with receptionists that led to conversations with those in higher up positions.

He also tries cold calling, cold emailing and physically walking into a company’s office to get in contact.

Last year, Gallup said he was successful, but he did see a downside to it all. He was always swamped with design work and promoting his business. Gallup said he only went out to socialize with friends twice.

“Isolating yourself to that degree like I was doing was just super unhealthy for me,” Gallup said.

This semester he focused more on taking time off from working to make connections with people socially.

Even though his business is time-consuming, Gallup advises other students to start their own as well.

“Go for it … you really have nothing to lose … (there’s) only experience to gain,” Gallup said.

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