The Happy Studio- Make Your Studio Like a Home.
As creative people, we often find that our creativity translates into lots of aspects of our life beside design. While Gestalt, “variety within unity” and color theory apply to all the great design arts, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re good at everything design related just because you know the basics. It’s true that you could probably have a great conversation with a fashion designer or an architect about how similar graphic design is to their professions- but it doesn’t mean you can sit down and design an award winning skirt, or esplanade.
Still, we for one, would like to believe we at least have the skills to make our space comfortable with a little thinking, and study.
A creative space is what you make of it. Some people are inspired by the blankness of white space, others are claustrophobic about it. Some people love loud busy areas with lots of activity, some are irritated and/or terrified by it.
Our studio is wide open. Bigger than we need. If one person is on the phone, everyone hears it. If you want to go for a jog, you have room. Maybe subconsciously we think big ideas need room to move, or maybe we got a good lease rate. Whatever the case, we think that your space should fit your flow. We quite enjoy sitting at our desks listening to ipods, and headphones, but having the space for a video shoot if we need it. It just works for us.
We’ll admit though, it wasn’t always great. It took carving, editing, and a willingness to change. We’ve redesigned our office within the same 4 walls many times until it fit our flow. Like with design, the idea is to allow yourself room to improve in as close to a consequence-free environment as is permitted. Once you give yourself the speed and room to change, your taste can do the rest.
It’s ok to have distractions
We have lots of distractions in our studio.
- a pool table
- a foosball table
- video games and a tv (admittedly in a box)
- the internet
- each other
But the interesting thing is that we’re very under-distracted. It’s in fact, kind of a shock when those of us with smaller bladders gets up, and disrupts things to use the facilities. Phone calls, lunches, conversations, and bathroom breaks. All these things happen feet away from people doing their work, but work still gets done. There is probably a sociology paper ready to be written about our office, but we might summarize it like this: The availability of these distractions makes work more fruitful.
Knowing that we could get up and play pool, or darts, or throw a ball back-and-forth makes work more rewarding because it is our choice to do so. It’s our choice to keep working.
Please, please don’t take this as the crowning example of productivity. In many offices, these distractions might prove irresistible. But with our hiring attitude, our staff, and our workflow… it just works.
We have 2 refrigerators, a Starbucks machine, pop, chips, tea, and water. We’re not Google with sandwich machines, or a cafeteria, but we try. We tend to believe that given a comfy, well stocked environment people will work comfortably longer and more often. We’re not a “butts in seats” type of outfit- but we love to have people around doing their work.
Looking forward to work
When people take ownership, and pride in work, they look forward to showing up. We would love to think that our studio is the type of place people look forward to going to. Because they feel special to work at our business. Of course because of the work we do, and of course because of the people they work with- but also because of our studio environment. It’s not “brass & glass,” but for the people we try to hire, it’s “cool.”
A good chair
We have shoe-stringed a lot in our studio. From the outdoor floodlights we use for cubicle lighting, to the stained concrete, to the pine panels, to the complete lack of anything resembling a ceiling. But there is one thing we are quite happy to have splurged on. Our chairs.
We’re not the only studio to have Aeron’s to sit in. But given our usual budget, it was a lot of money. To be honest though, they were a budget in themselves. In an average year you spend about 2,000 hours sitting in your office chair. The heat, the discomfort, the angle, the torque, they all eject you from work more often than you know. You quite absolutely do not have to get an expensive chair to sit in to do our work, but believe us- it helps more than you know.
All this is to say that we think a work environment should embody who you are as a group. When you feel at home at work, like we do, you do all those things like looking forward to coming in, plopping down in your comfy chair and not being distracted by how uncomfortable you immediately feel, having a mid-morning snack, talking through an idea with your cube-mate, and then developing that idea over a game of pool. Productivity comes in all shapes and sizes. Find your shape. Find your size.