A design studio is a fast and flexible working environment. Projects vary in size and scope, with often concurrent timelines. The team dynamic is important to keep things running smoothly to ensure we complete projects with upmost quality, on time. As a small studio, KRD team members work on projects both end-to-end as well as shared between us.
At the start of the week, we discuss upcoming projects for the week, timelines and delegate tasks. Often projects are continued over from the previous week, and new ones are added in throughout the week.
Projects in the studio are assigned a client unique code, which allows for easy tracking and filing. For our larger clients this is indispensable, as we constantly reference previous jobs for images or text. We store all these codes – along with brief descriptions – in a database hosted on our server. This is accessible and searchable on our network via a browser.
For clients that we prepare work for on an ongoing basis, and we often have larger regular projects that require updating. A lot of imagery is stored on our server for easy access, or we access imagery via the client’s media library, available online.
Depending on the stage of a project, we may receive feedback or changes via email or phone. Clients may visit the studio to sit with us and work on changes in real time. Post-Covid, we also utilise video calls for briefings and more complex project alterations.
Days often vary with the kinds of projects in the studio; larger data intensive projects such as video editing take hours of time. Smaller tasks like web image creation or retrieval, or small edits to print pieces can be quick, again depending on the project. When one team member has larger projects to work on, we move the smaller tasks around.
For more complex design tasks, like brand development, everyone gets involved. We will work on research and concept sketches, then view them together to discuss direction. Smaller projects can also present interesting design challenges. This is especially true for pieces that need to fit a lot of information in a tiny space. When this happens, we reach out to the team for thoughts – sometimes a solution is easier to find when you’re not in the middle of a project.
Variety of work
The types of projects can range from print through to digital. In the morning we may be working on catalogues, packaging and point-of-sale. The afternoon may bring website updates, social media campaigns and video edits. Interspersed is writing and editing content, project management, print deliveries, and, always managing deadlines with client and suppliers.
Occasionally there are super urgent requests. These are often to supply print and/or digital advertising when Marketing teams are offered distress rates from magazines. This is known to happen on Friday afternoons and can mean last minute finishing and uploading to meet the print deadline, often with a level of panic involved.
Much of our client work involves careful understanding and following of brand guidelines. We pay careful attention as global brands are constantly refining their corporate identities with new assets or adaptations for evolving technology. This information is shared between the team and discussed regularly.
For larger projects, there may be site visits, eg. Interpretative signage or collaboration and input from suppliers. This may be with a marketing consultant, copywriter, photographer/videographer, printing companies or manufacturers. Suppliers often visit the studio, calling in with samples, deliveries, and answering important production questions. There is constant managing of deliveries of printed materials and following up on delivery receipts.
For point-of-sale projects we often create print tests and take to a local retailer to check instore. This is vital to ensure measurements are correct and materials will work in the situation required. Particularly on complex projects there can be new products/methods/technology and this will require liaison between ourselves and suppliers, including press checks and factory visits during manufacturing.
Pack and despatch
From time-to-time we undertake pack and despatch. This may be intricate mail outs requiring careful attention and specialised gift wrapping. The studio can become a small factory on these days, with a couple of Studio Assistants helping. Larger projects are worked on by mailing / fulfilment houses.
Importantly, a small team needs time to converse each day and keep up to date with relevant local, national, and international events. At various times of the day there will be lively conversations. For example, we discuss podcasts, articles or books we’ve read, TV shows, movies, and all kinds of pop culture. Like most teams, we have numerous ‘in-jokes’. We quote lines from the IT Crowd. We share stories on technology gripes with all major software updates. We discuss our personal projects. Recipes are shared. Traffic and weather anecdotes are on high rotation. As we’ve noted in our article ‘What makes designers tick?’, we believe in life-long learning and constant curiosity of the world around us to enhance our daily design journey.