Studio culture: a way of life Studio life is quite unique. So much has been written on this subject by so many over so much time; which I guess reflects that studio cultures change every decade or so, diven by change in the world.
Working in many studios over the years has allowed me the amazing opportunity to work with some awesome designers. During that time it has become evident that studio culture is based on common beliefs that bind and unite all in a common goal. Studio life is quite unique; it’s a place you come to exchange ideas and to learn every day. (I learn something everyday.)
When I left university, wide-eyed and full of enthusiasm to change the world like so many other designers before me (very lofty), it become quit apparent change was brought about through perseverance and belief in yourself and others, while failure was part of that learning curve. Believing in something is the first step to change. A studio is a reflection of a company’s ability to believe in its people, allowing a common thread to develop while nurturing and recognizing them beyond normal daily tasks. Studio culture is only as strong as the foundations upon which it stands. People need to believe you, they need to feel change and buy into what you’re offering. This doesn’t mean long speeches about “what’s next” or words on the wall. Studio culture is a measure of a company’s ability to understand employee engagement, how to fufill each individual’s need across the business and allow them to be more fulfilled in their roles. It’s not rocket science to run a successful company whether big or small, but fundamental mistakes happen again and again due to lack of understanding of people and their needs. You can’t force culture in the workplace; it comes naturally when companies find the right balance. (Balance of pay, structure, process, and growth.)
These are things we all expect. Companies forget we’re human and our needs include ownership, encouragement, opportunity, and recognition. Our daily routines should reflect this, allowing culture to flourish. After all, companies can’t exist without good people. Any company who thinks otherwise is doomed to fail. Creative people are all very different, so you can’t treat them all the same. Each has his or her characteristics that make them unique, each bring their own set of skills to the table. A creative studio should be a place you take risks. This is also called being a Type-T personality. According to the snowflake model, (developed by Harvard University) creatives who work at the edge of their competence, the place where failure lurks, are more likely to produce amazing creative work.
Taking risks might sound risky to some people, but it should be a core element of a creative’s life to push beyond that comfort zone when creating work. Studio life should allow this to happen without the fear of failure, which should instead should be celebrated and encouraged in pursuit of furthuring the ability to think and feel far beyond the norm. Three different aspects, each of which is required for successful creativity are: Curiosity Failing as part of the creative quest Learning from that failure Most psychologists see genius as inseparable from failure. Society believes that artist/designers have always been successful, contrary to popular impression. After all is said, don’t wait for things to happen; go out and do the culture thing yourself. This breeds confidence within an organization. Don’t ask permission, ask forgiveness.