I’ve been in the design industry for 12 years now, and I still love what I do. Some people hate their jobs, some just plod along, and others thrive in their environment. It’s not easy to jump ship once you’re settled so let’s go back and give some reasons as to why I think younger people should join the design industry sooner rather than later.
Obviously this depends on the team created by the Founders or the person in charge of recruitment. I’ve been inside a LOT of studios though and it’s safe to say every office has their own take. Some are very relaxed, some have banter flying around left, right and centre, and others are more structured. But what I’ve never found is a place that feels unhealthy, uninviting and formal. The studio should be a home from home, the staff should enjoy going to work and this is a huge part.
Here at Shape we have spent time on creating a relaxed studio that not only impresses the client when they walk in, but an environment the lads enjoy to be within. We’ve got a small team, so it’s open space - everybody is together and the overall space is divided between working areas, the kitchen, sofa and lounge area, meeting room and store room. We are together all the time, which helps build relationships, and communication during projects.
This may sound very simple, but it matters to me, and it does to my lads too. We use Teamwork to manage projects and meetings in the calendar. So if the lads know I’ve got a certain calibre of client coming into the studio, they have to wear Jeans and a shirt. Any other day they can wear what they want ( I trust they won’t be scruffy anyway ), so if they wanted to wear shorts, a hoodie etc. it’s all good. Being comfortable is very important, especially we’re sat at a desk most of the time.
Our appearance reflects the business also, we are a friendly, relaxed, relatively young bunch of northern designers. We enjoy what we do and we keep up with design trends online, if we wore suits to work everyday - they would not be comfortable, nor would it give the right perception of our business and ethos.
Some studios play music out loud, some allow headphones, some don’t. For me, I don’t see music as a distraction, I think it helps workflow and relaxes the mind to concentrate on what you’re doing. I truly believe music can also lift your spirit, if you’re feeling a bit down - the choice of music in the studio could send you one way or the other.
Meet and Greet
Whether you’re a in-house developer, project manager, junior designer, creative director or founder of a business, you WILL meet new people all the time. I honestly believe meeting new people every week and engaging in discussion improves a person. I understand some people like to keep themselves to themselves, and if some people are shy - I honestly think the creative industry can bring them out of their shell. During meetings, you’ll learn to ask questions, engage in conversation, find out more about them, and understand who they are before providing a solution to their brief.
I don’t think I’ve ever been a quiet person, so I obviously like travelling around and meeting new people to talk about their new business or new idea. Which is another positive, you’ll get the chance of visiting new places, for example I’ve been lucky to visit Prague, Paris, Barcelona, Dublin, and London with work.
There are studios all over the world, in every city, in every town probably. Yes some are bigger than others, but that’s not a bad thing - it depends where you are in your career and what your expectations and ambitions are. What I’m saying is, if you had to move to Los Angeles to be with your boyfriend - you’ll be able to find a job there. Likewise, if you had to move to Glasgow to be closer to your parents, you’ve got options.
I’ve been in the industry for 12 years, I’m still learning new stuff every day. It’s great to keep on top of current trends, learn about new services and not only improve my knowledge but clients too. Some industries is step and repeat, duplication and manipulation. We are bespoke developers and need to keep on top of the latest techniques and standards in order to provide our clients with the best possible service. If I was doing the same things every day, I’d become bored - I wouldn’t enjoy my job.
Again, this may sound simple but if you’re hungry, or you need a drink - go get one. You won’t get shouted at. I’ve worked in some places (before working in creative) in which it’s very restricted, very organised, and you’re not allowed too leave your desk until lunch time. Same with mobile phones, if you need to make a call, check your social media, etc. just do it - if the hierarchy can’t trust team members - they shouldn’t be working together in my opinion. Obviously, if people take advantage of these privileges then that shows the individuals personality and attitude that may come under review.
Whether you’re a junior, a senior, a manager etc. it does not matter - every team member within the creative industry inputs into the overall outcome. Each person contributes to the end goal and feels rewarded when a project is completed. It’s so fulfilling to know that you’ve helped a person or a business achieve something, whether that be sales through the website, leads via social media, organic rankings improving etc. We do not hold barriers here in the studio, and treat everybody exactly the same.