Students Gain Inside Track on Eventbrite's Exciting Offices


Tom Censani, senior product design manager at Eventbrite, gives a presentation to visiting Academy of Art University students. Photo by Bob Toy.

“Make it happen” shines in bright white neon lettering over the entrance to Eventbrite’s seventh-floor offices. It’s there to motivate employees and visitors on their way into the office, a glowing beacon of possibility. On Wednesday, March 25, it greeted students from Academy of Art University, as a group of 20 attended a studio tour with the tech company’s design team.


The tour was led by Senior Product Design Manager Tom Censani, who actually helped design Eventbrite’s new 5th Street offices. As a “global marketplace for live experiences” operating in 190 countries, Eventbrite now has more than 500 employees and 350 of them work at their San Francisco headquarters.

Customer support and sales are the first two departments located past reception in the white walled offices. All of the phone calls “drive up the excitement happening in the space,” Censani told the students after walking past. An outer wall of windows looks out on SoMA and southern San Francisco, and the entire office circles around the elevators in the center.


Tom Censani, senior product design manager at Eventbrite, provides a studio tour for Academy of Art University students. Photo by Bob Toy.

Eventbrite’s conference rooms are labeled after types of events, with names like “Silent Disco,” a music festival event, and “Countdown” on New Year’s Eve. Eventually the space and conference rooms will be filled with art—even after moving in May 2014, the offices still feel brand new. Complete with a kitchen, library, two nap rooms and two rooms for new mothers, Eventbrite’s new offices utilize every square foot.

After the tour, a team of Eventbrite designers provided the students with insight into their own design philosophies and practices. Four speakers shared their unique perspectives from different places in the design process, covering everything from fundamentals to user experience. One of the speakers included Scott Brookshire, a recent graduate from the School of Web Design + New Media, who joined Eventbrite as a designer last month.

Brookshire shared which aspects of his Academy experience are proving most valuable in the field, and how he landed his dream job. His number one tip was “put your passion inside your portfolio.” Finding something you care about, and applying for jobs at companies where their priorities match your own are the best things you can do to find the right fit in a job you love.

“There are a bunch of things I love about Eventbrite, but the most compelling is the people,” Brookshire said. “They’re talented and smart, and no one has an ego. Pretentious designers inhibit collaboration and can really stump the growth of a project. I’m grateful everyone at Eventbrite are both knowledgeable and open to collaboration.”

Brookshire attended several studio tours of his own while attending the Academy, and he said each only amped up the excitement for his own career. “Just seeing the offices of some of these design and tech companies could be enough to make anyone excited,” he said.

The studio tour wrapped up with a thorough Q-and-A where the students were able to ask about the details of scaling designs and the difficulties encountered when designing for both events and organizers.

“We’re excited to have Eventbrite as an industry partner and thrilled to see several of our students and alumni integrated into their design teams,” the Academy’s Industry Outreach and Curriculum Specialist Greg Mar said, “We’re looking forward to a continued and growing relationship.”

Leaving the seventh floor of Eventbrite, opposite the “Make it happen” neon sign shines another that reads, “Let’s get together.” Censani said both expressions reflect the spirit of Eventbrite—the energy behind getting people together to create life-long memories keeps everyone in the office excited.

“I think the most important thing the students took away from the tour was a sense of how design at Eventbrite really functions,” Brookshire said. “Before I started working at Eventbrite, I was always curious how work across UX and product design were distinguished and divided. I was happy to see that those questions were happily covered by my teammates.”