David Airey is an independent graphic designer working with companies of all sizes since 2005.

Studio Culture at the Design Museum

Earlier this month Unit Editions hosted the second Design Museum Takeover of the season.

Studio Culture at the Design Museum

A few lessons from the session:

  1. Friendships are important — partnerships come from friendships and vice versa and the people you work with define the work you do.
  2. You have to be committed — at some point you need to take the leap and go for it.
  3. Enthusiasm is key — without the right attitude and mentality you won’t make it.
    And remember teatime.

Studio Culture at the Design Museum.

University of Lincoln student Tasha Nuttall added some coverage on her blog:

“They talked about the tough task of choosing a studio name and Tony gave a great test which can help you to decide – if you can answer the phone ‘Hello, (insert studio name here)’ and not sound ridiculous, it’s a winner. Calling your studio ‘Gorgeous’ would definitely bring a smile to your client’s face!

“They also spoke about how to keep clients coming through the door by undertaking self initiated briefs, giving the advice: ‘If you make what you want to make, that’s what people will pay you to make.'”

On that second point, definitely. Jonathan Mak is a good example of someone being asked to do good work on the back of a self-initiated project.

It reminds me a little of a quote from CreativeMornings.

“If you do good work for good clients, it will lead to more good work for other good clients. If you do bad work for bad clients, it will lead to more bad work for other bad clients.”
— MICHAEL BIERUT

So if you’re not working on the kind of project you aspire toward, start today. Create something for your ideal client. Show what you’re capable of and you’ll attract that kind of work.

From the archives:
A look inside the Studio Culture book.

My second book on Amazon

Related posts

7 comments about “Studio Culture at the Design Museum”

  1. Great tips, I especially like Michael Bierut’s “If you do good work for good clients, it will lead to more good work for other good clients”.

    I keep reading variations and anecdotes on it, and it simply makes sense.

  2. First of all, those are very good lessons to remember.

    I can especially relate to the partnership/friendship one at the moment as I asked a friend of mine, who’s a website developer, to help me produce an online story-based website. When it comes to bouncing ideas off each other, you soon realise that the work is a lot easier when you have good friendship.

    Also, the ‘ridiculous’ test is genius! ;) And the, ‘If you make what you want to make, that’s what people will pay you to make.’ quote is sound advice! I’ve only started to realise the importance of that more recently and will be pursue that idea ;)

    PS: Considering you have 3 websites, do you have any process advice for thinking up names for websites?

  3. Sometimes it involves asking good folk like you, Jamie. At least it did five years back when I was thinking of launching Logo Design Love, and it did again when I was naming my book. The exception was this blog. The name was chosen 33 years ago. :)

  4. Ah, sound advice David ;) Thanks for the tip as always.

  5. Thanks for the mention David!

    I learnt a lot from the talks and it’s always great to hear the stories too!

  6. Was certainly glad I could make it.
    Tony, Trish, Michael and Nikky did it for me.

    Trish explained the importance of a businessplan with hard numbers for starters, and Michael gave some insight on talking money with your clients and how he prepares estimates and discusses changes in costs during projects.

    I wish I heard that at school years ago. Another thing I wish I would have heard is that USP is not that crucial for a design business, at least not as important as my marketing teacher made me believe.

    Those 3 points I certainly agree with, but missing one important factor I heard more then one studio mention; Self initiated work. Something I certainly need to do more of.

  7. Great tips all. “If you make what you want to make, that’s what people will pay you to make” is really inspiring especially – making something you really enjoy has to lead somewhere!

Anything to add?

Comments may be edited or deleted if I don't like the cut of your jib, but that's quite unlikely.