Design GUIs: A traditional startup with offices in the basement

As the founder of graphic design and engineering company—The Design GUIs—Anthony House has all the motivation he needs to be a successful entrepreneur.

His story starts with McDonald’s and an empty stomach.

“My family was never really a well-off family, we have lived close to the poverty line for most of our lives,” House explains. “One of the guys my mom was dating when I was younger came home and started eating McDonald’s in front of us when there was no food in the house.

“So that drive to make sure that doesn’t happen to my family when I get older has really pushed me to make sure I’m financially stable so my future family and future children don’t have to go through that. I see working on my own business and doing that type of thing as a way to accomplish that.”

House has spent the last three years at Iowa State University studying software engineering with minors in general business and entrepreneurial studies.

He’s hopeful The Design GUIs can become sustainable and grow over his next two years so when he graduates, he has his own full-time job.

“I have a roommate now who works at Iowa State and he bought a house, so I live with him and we are working out of our basement,” House says. “That classic garage startup.”

Video game designers

House started designing and engineering games when he was 16 after falling in love with the original “Halo” game.

“I started playing that and turned into a super fan,” House says. “I loved space and wanted to be an astronaut when I was younger. So I just love space and Halo inspired me to get into the game industry.”

House said he’s working to create relationships with independent game developers and the larger game studios to create game graphical user interfaces.

“Most of the time it’s through private forums, like game engine forums where anyone can really post and look for people,” House says. “Most of the contacts we gain are peer to peer.”

The Design GUIs also builds websites.

The Design GUIs
The user interface from the Civil War-themed video game, “War Rights” that was designed by The Design GUI’s.

What they’ve designed

House said the first project he worked on at 16 years old was, “Project Contingency” which was similar to Halo.

“It was making Halo assets and recreating the Halo game to be played on PC with kind of our own little twist and spin on it as well,” House says. I worked on that team for about four years. Then I started working on a game called ‘War Rights’ which was a first-person shooter civil war game.”

He’s been developing War Rights for just over two years.

“It’s my passion,” House says. “We can do a wide variety of game design elements that really fit a lot of peoples needs in the game area.”