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Studio Culture

Studio Culture book

A brief look inside Studio Culture: The secret life of the graphic design studio.

Edited by Tony Brook and Adrian Shaughnessy, here’s the blurb:

“Studio Culture provides a unique glimpse into the inner workings of 28 leading graphic design studios. In a series of penetrating interviews, the secret life of the studio is revealed, and the mechanics of building and maintaining a vibrant studio culture are laid bare with disarming frankness.”

Studio Culture book

Studio Culture book

The book is filled with stories from the business of design — from balancing the books to hiring interns and clients. On page 10, for instance, Nicola of London-based Build said, “We don’t do printed portfolios. It just doesn’t seem relevant any more. A couple of times in the past I dropped one off at a clients. They’d sit on it for a month and go, ‘Oh, we didn’t get a chance to look at it.'”

Studio Culture book

Studio Culture book

Studio Culture book

Interviewed throughout the book are inspiring design studios such as Edenspiekermann, Universal Everything, Milton Glaser, Inc., Coast, Pentagram, and many more.

The Milton Glaser interview was of particular interest, and he described his office like this:

“My office, which has always been more or less the same, is a big undifferentiated room. I sit in one place in the room, in the same relationship to the rest of the room as everybody else. There is no visual hierarchy.”

I like the overall design by Spin, but what is it about some design books and tiny, tiny type? Maybe my eyesight isn’t what it once was.

From the website:

“Studio Culture is a book for both seasoned professionals who have been running studios for years, and for idealistic designers contemplating starting up. It is the complete guide to creating, maintaining and growing a studio culture.”

312pp, 165×230mm, 4 colour + 1 PMS
£24.95 + P&P

Studio Culture: The secret life of the graphic design studio

Get it direct from Unit Editions or on Amazon:

Looking for more? A few good books.

My second book on Amazon

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17 comments about “Studio Culture”

  1. I remember sitting down on the floor in the design section at Borders studying this one for like an hour. I’m glad you brought it up, I have a tendency to forget titles of books I feel the need to own.

    Those gosh darn designers and their teeny type. Don’t they realize most of us spend over 12 hours a day, sitting a foot away from our glowing rectangles. My optometrist told me my eyesight isn’t “bad” (I’ve grown a bit near-sighted). It’s just adapted to my profession.

    Nice post. You do realize what a crazy marketing tool you’ve become with this blog right?

  2. Regarding

    [...] but what is it about some design books and tiny, tiny type? Maybe my eyesight isn’t what it once was.

    I’m quite a fan of smaller texts. Even in your Logo Design Book (which I am onto page 57 as we speak), I actually find the text a little too large and loosely-tracked. However, I surmise that, like Raul, many readers prefer it that way.

    I know that no matter what text size is used, “you can’t please the masses”, and type size preference is a drawback when it comes to the printed word.

    To divert from the content of this article; I’m really enjoying your book David – learning much from it already, great job.

  3. David,

    I was interested in buying this book, but I have come to find from your online store (which i assume is run through amazon) I cannot purchase kindle books. I can find the book in kindle form on amazon.com but was hoping you could get your affiliate commission.

    Is there a fix for this?

    -Tyler

  4. Looks pretty interesting. I did a very short version of something like that my last semester in college.

  5. It sounds like some of the comments in the books aren’t specifically related to running a design studio, but could work for just about any small business.

  6. I’ve also purchased the book and find it an interesting read, but the type is REALLY too small.

    It’s kind of stressfull to read it, could have been done better.

  7. Sounds like a pretty interesting read, or more like a coffee table book I’d always be ‘getting round’ to reading.

    For those working in agencies and freelancing alike, it’s always interesting to see how it works in other studios. I’m sure there’s a lot to take away as to how you can improve your own working environment and processes.

    Tiny type blows, my eyes suck enough.

  8. I like how your optometrist describes your sight, Raul — adapted to the profession. It’s only during the past three years that I discovered astigmatism of the eye. Apparently one in three people suffer from it, and it becomes more prevalent as we get older.

    Andrew, I’m glad you’re really enjoying my book, and I hear you about not pleasing the masses. Quite the impossible task.

    Tyler, that’s kind of you to ask. I’m unsure if there’s a way to move from my little store to the main Amazon site while keeping the affiliate system intact, so don’t worry about it. But thank you.

    Chris, there’s definitely a lot of overlap between design businesses and those outwith the profession. We all deal with finances, clients / customers, hiring, firing etc.

    Jesse, Nathan, glad I’m not alone. I didn’t want to mention anything negative about the book, because the content is great, and a lot of care has been taken over the page layouts, but I had to mention the type size.

  9. What a great book recommendation David. I especially like the part regarding physical portfolios. I keep hearing from various agencies that printed portfolios are being used less and less. It seems there is a major move to online portfolios, even to showcase print designs. Agencies and individuals can easily change out their online portfolios as needed and potential clients/employers can quickly look over portfolio work. It seems to be a win/win situation

    This will definitely be added to my list of books to read.

  10. Glad I read through this post. I will have to get my hands on a copy. Great article.

  11. No worries at all, Jeremy, Michael. Hope you have a great weekend.

  12. David,
    just ordered your book, but I was wondering…what is your set up at work? You know, type of computer, software and any other accessories you use that help you create.

    -michael

  13. Thanks for ordering a copy, Michael.

    Most of my computer-based work is done on a MacBook Pro, but of healthy importance is a sketchpad and pen. Software = Adobe Creative Suite. Most important tool, my brain.

    I hope you’re well.

  14. Cheers for the book recommendation Dave. I’m in the process of planning a move to a new studio space so this book is spot on. Would be interested to find out more about your own working environment.

  15. I am not sure why this particular author’s design decisions in his book are so badly produced in terms of typography, legibility and a comfortable read… which is ironic given the book’s topic. I remember commenting before about his previous book on being a graphic designer on another site, and he wrote back to me personally a bit angry to my comments. I guess he hasn’t picked up advice from the first lesson. The book I commented was on Graphic Design. It had major flow issues, paragraph breaks in broken columns, sub headings that weren’t acting as that and other irritating layout decisions. To this day I still haven’t read the whole book because of this issue. The content seemed great but a layout should not get in the way of its’ content and readability.

    Just by looking at his latest book of the images in this article, I feel it is another pretentious “let’s do this uniquely” design and layout. I would have preferred something clean in terms of legibility and a book I can read comfortably without the bells and whistles. I wanted to buy this book, but I think I will wait for a future ebook format (hint hint) I will get that instead.

  16. The book came to my house few days ago, I was very excited to read this book. it was the first thing I looked for when I backed home from work. And I am now reading it. I guess I will have a post on my new blog about this book. It ‘s a great book David, regardless of small text, but not too small, it helps keep me really concentrate on the content.

  17. Great book. I have been looking at setting up a new office space and this book comes highly recommended. Thanks.

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