Studio and Entrepreneurship
The first part of this weeks lecture with multiple designers showed us many different insights into the life of running a practice for the individual or a studio of creatives that share different skills. Firstly to run a studio you need clients as Simon Manchipp points out ‘No business without clients’ and this is equally important as surrounding yourself with other creatives, which can lead to collaborating with others. Skill swapping and networking is key to expand your knowledge and collective catalogue on helping with your business ideas that you can succeed as a designer. No one should be alone in starting a business and it might feel like that at the time but you need to get out in the world and attend events and meet-ups with people in the creative industry. Focus on techniques that help build confidence in your approach to connecting and talking with peers to help grow your business. With this in mind, you need to keep on things with your out-goings to keep control, so soon you have to get yourself an accountant on board that will help with your finances to maintain a healthy cash flow that can be used for business and living to support yourself and your family. When thinking about studio space you don’t have to think about the big picture of all the space to help contain your design thinking. Think about what’s realistic and can achieve the current goal to get your business off the ground. Somewhere that’s your personal space or where you can connect with other like-minded people to help thrive your business. This can be sitting in a coffee house with your headphones to maybe an open studio that have access to collaborating with others. Some of the advice given in this lecture is useful advice in running a successful studio, which when I think business it can be daunting to mundane of things in life for a creative entrepreneur. Simon Manchipp explained it well by putting your design thinking into practice and come up with methods that run your business. This is a great way to be more creative in what you do is by putting it into practice for the boring things of running a studio.
The interview with Gem Barton, ‘Don’t get a job…Make a job’ really focus on you as person, as a designer and reflect on your personal brand to help start off your business as a designer. Describing yourself is a few words or paragraph will shape your elevator pitch that can connect and engage with the people for future work. I believe working with clients is the ultimate goal and not working for them as you want to maintain relationships that can either continue to work together or repeat business in the nearer future once you’ve completed a project together. Being honest, understand your position and make sure dreams really are yours that Gem mentions about and I believe this has to be the emotional impact that shows through in your elevator pitch for people to see. Values will shine through as long you believe it in yourself as a designer and make aware of that for others to make that connection when identifying you in your absence.
Mills & Sinx shows in this short video how creating a studio can become a ‘Fampany’ in their studio ‘Ustwo’. This is the idea I have in mind is to create a studio that is a family of interesting people that can come together and create dreams that have endless possibilities. It takes one relationship between two friends from a young age to a global family that are connecting from all four corners of the world. This shows within the people of the company have unique relationships that are shown in Mills & Sinx values. It’s the idea allow others to excel in their abilities and support those to do so that makes this studio a success story in creating an agency full of creativity and fun.
A creative’s guide to starting a new business
Fast Company article, by Kelly Bethke
A very useful article by Kelly Bethke on building a sustainable and innovative business using building blocks to break down the process of putting a great strategy together. This article is a long read so need to set some time to the side to go through every detail to understand a plan that can benefit you in creating the best possible solution in achieving your goals. This helps you map out the process, make a business plan and kick it all into action. There are some really useful ways to map your ideas to find your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and competition to understand your business ideas.
This interview on Jamie Ellul, Supple Studio for Pentawards Festival is a great example of how he runs his studio in a small team. Supple Studio is one of the most exciting studios’s currently that consists of six people that is a small agency with a big impact. I’m very inspired by his interview and admire the way he deals with his studio and client work as Jamie has a very focused approach in the work he loves to produce and encourage others to do good design work with interesting people.
For this weeks challenge, I’ve looked at one of my previous practices that’s local called Studio Hardie, which they’re a collaborative craftsman with different skills and techniques that can fit with every project. They’re also the believers in showing integrity in their work whilst considering the sustainability in their work ethics. They truly come across as originals and authentic in their approach thinking about every project from new and innovative ones; mixing appropriate traditional techniques with current technology. They truly work with design-led clients that can work on exciting projects to their strengths in being creative and functional at the same time. This can help influence their process in pushing design to the highest level within a budget that is big or small.
I then researched into studios that I enjoy and is an influence on me as a designer. I chose Dixon Baxi, Supple Studio and Studio Build, which show great work and a great attitude towards design that clearly attract clients who they can work with on fantastic projects. They all like to work with interesting people in either the people they employ to clients that help to collaborate that much easier to achieve great solutions. Values are very important to these studios as it needs to show through in the work they produce and creating engaging relationships with the people they love to work with. Honesty, bravery and trust show within their approach when you read their ‘about us’ pages and this comes with the urge to understand their client’s story and help narrate outcomes that can really shine for others. I feel also they really show the support they can give to their team as everything is about learning and developing in a way to nurture designers into their way of thinking. They are fairly all small studio’s so the work can be seen and worked upon everyone where the attention to developing each other’s skills can be strongly focused and engaging to help everyone in the space. This can also be rewarding for all clients big or small as they can create stronger relationships with everyone in the studio. This would have to come with great experience in handling so many projects between the team that the management has to be clear for everyone to deal with the load and jump between projects without any confusion or delays.
On the ideas wall, there were some questions that were mention by Harriet and Richard on how to think about your approach, which I considered to be a really a good foundation in thinking what, who and why we do the things we love as a designer and how do we apply the values into our practice. This helped me express myself in understanding what means to me that will help with the face of my practice, for either a big or small agency.
I took my initial research and mind mapping on what influence me to be a designer and how I can create a practice that will really reflect myself and my work. The next stage is putting together a series of words that can help to influence my description of the kind of practice that I believe would be ethical, sustainable and inspiring to achieve for peers and clients.
This is my final piece but also believe this will change through the module as the weeks go by. I chose to vision my practice as a small studio that consists of 5 – 15 people. The vision is to have a collective studio of designers with different backgrounds and experiences that can apply their skills to every project. Also learning and developing together to create a studio and school of design.