In this series of conversations, Behind the Scenes at Topos Labs, you’ll get a sneak peek into the various teams and people who contribute to our success. We’ll touch on everything from trends and product innovation to culture and passion.
Today let’s meet Luke Ban, the lead dictionary engineer and visual designer at Topos Labs. He’s also an artist and geographer who enjoys flexing his creative juices exploring Seattle’s outdoors and screen printing.
Here’s my Q&A with Luke.
Parna: Tell me a little about yourself.
Luke: I am an artist and geographer who found Topos Labs when living in Boston, and have happily remained. Whether in my own work or elsewhere, I always aim to add some creativity.
Parna: What’s your role at Topos and how are you influencing the industry?
Luke: I am the lead dictionary engineer and visual designer at Topos Labs. I spend a lot of time collaborating with our amazing team of dictionary engineers and making sure we stay connected across our home offices nationwide. Together, we work toward building Gracie’s out of the box capabilities, as well as more specific work tailored toward individual projects.
In addition, I work on any visual needs and it’s not unusual to fill a new role any given day or week at Topos Labs. Through design and close leadership, I aim to bring personability and humanness to an industry that can often feel faceless.
Parna: What do you like most about working at Topos Labs?
Luke: I really enjoy how close and communicative the entire team is. While I spend most of my time with the dictioneering team, I feel comfortable reaching out to just about anyone in the company. This open communication and small company size makes you recognize that every person plays an important part of our larger collaborative effort. My mornings start off with quick stand-up meetings to check in with the other dictionary engineers, and it’s always nice to get to chat with everyone for a few minutes and work together on any issues we’re facing. We always keep it lighthearted, which makes for a great way to start the day (for us West Coasters).
Parna: If Gracie was a physical product, what would she be?
Luke: Gracie would be a Lite Brite. It’s a super simple blank canvas, and plugging in different arrangements of components can result in an infinite number of images or uses. The models you build can be very straightforward or extremely complex depending on your vision.
Parna: What do you when you are not working?
Luke: You can often find me biking around Seattle after work and camping on the weekends, roasting a pork shoulder, painting, pickling red onions, or working on my clothing and accessories brand, superlukiestyle. Despite what you may hear, summers in Seattle are long and almost entirely rain-free, and there is so much to explore in the surrounding areas.
Aside from getting outside, it’s really important that I stay creative and have some kind of project to work on. I started superlukiestyle in 2017, where I design and screen print shirts and bags, sew accessories, and make whatever else I’m inspired to do at the moment. It’s been a lot of fun getting to experiment with design, marketing, and branding on something that is entirely my own.