Paul Rand once said, “Design is the silent ambassador of your brand.” This statement rings true considering that the first thing most customers notice is the design of your brand, from your logo to your website layout. In recognition of the importance of design, Mo Validipak, York U alumnus, was inspired to launch Pixehl, an online platform offering online design tutorials, premium templates and custom graphics. Founded in 2013, Pixehl has grown its member base to over 550,000 subscribers and 48 million views on YouTube.
I had the opportunity to interview Mo to learn more about his path to founding one of the largest design tutorial platforms on YouTube. If you missed our previous post in the Alumni Spotlight Series, check out “The Silent Voices Project: Giving a Voice to Those Who Need It.”
Tell me about yourself.
MV: My name is Mo Validipak and I am a full-time YouTuber. I graduated from York University’s Bachelor of Commerce program, specializing in accounting. Some of my hobbies include traveling, playing basketball and listening to music. I also have a strong interest in tech, design and photography! My passion for all aspects of design inspired me to become a self-taught designer and start my own business.
What is Pixehl all about?
MV: Pixehl is a creative studio and template marketplace. Since 2013, we have been providing premium design services for YouTube and Twitch, specializing in motion design, graphic design and most recently web development and design. Throughout the years, we have worked with some of the biggest YouTubers and Twitch streamers on their respective platforms.
What is your inspiration behind forming Pixehl?
MV: After learning the ins and outs of motion design and acquiring my first customer, I decided to start selling my designs seriously. My inspiration behind Pixehl was to provide creators, both YouTubers and Twitch streamers, with premium design services to help brand themselves and enhance their existing brand. The name Pixehl (which is pronounced “pixel”) is a short and simple name that perfectly describes what we are all about: pixels!
How did you first get started with Pixehl?
MV: Although I was an aspiring business student, I have always been interested in design and spent my spare time learning about design. During my first year at York, I began to learn how to do motion graphics. I used YouTube tutorials as well as trial and error to familiarize myself with numerous software programs including Cinema 4D, Adobe After Effects, Photoshop and Illustrator. With the knowledge I picked up, I decided to upload YouTube videos to display my work and progress as a designer. Throughout the years, my channel began to accumulate traffic, gaining over 550,000 subscribers. From there, Pixehl was founded. Today, Pixehl is a team of 10 designers and programmers from all around the world working collaboratively in the online scene.
What skills did you learn as a York U student that helped you launch Pixehl?
MV: During my time at York U, I learned many valuable lessons such as working in a team, conducting research and managing workflow. My education in commerce at York U also provided me with a strong foundation of the core aspects of business. Using this knowledge, I successfully launched my online business with minimal difficulties.
What was the biggest challenge in starting Pixehl and how did you overcome it?
MV: Since I work with designers and developers from all around the world, one of the biggest challenges I face on a regular basis is working in different time zones. Over time, I gradually became accustomed to working with people from different countries. It has now become second nature to me to effectively manage my time. I can easily determine how late I need to stay up or how early I need to get up in order to communicate with my team. Despite this challenge, I appreciate working with individuals from around the world. I have learned so much from each and every one of them. It’s especially important for me to able to effectively interact with people from diverse backgrounds as the majority of our customers also come from around the world.
How has York U supported your success?
MV: One of the challenges of university is balancing school and other activities! At first, I found it difficult to manage my time between school and Pixehl. However, through this experience, I developed vital skills such as time management, organization and focus. The skills I gained allowed me to contribute to Pixehl’s success.
If you could go back in time and give yourself some advice before you started, what would it be?
MV: My advice is to get started right away. Whatever you may want to do, I can guarantee that there are a lot of free resources online that can teach you how to do it! Anyone can gain access to this information and all you have to do is look for it. It’s also important to do something you are passionate about. If you aren’t enjoying your current career path, then you should reconsider your interests and change your direction. It’s important to do something that you love!
What is your vision for Pixehl going forward?
MV: Going forward, I have decided to focus the majority of my time and efforts on a new project, Brandimize.com, which is an influencer marketing platform. My vision for Pixehl is to provide influencers and creators with the tools, skills and services they need to establish their own brands, successfully land sponsorships with companies and turn their hobbies into a full-time career.
Connect with Pixehl
Are you a York U Alumni who has founded your own business? We would love to feature you in our Alumni Spotlight Series! Comment below or tweet us on Twitter at @YorkUStudents.