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Studio Culture Now

Studio Culture Now

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Title: Studio Culture Now: Advice and guidance for designers in a changing world
 [Unit 45]
Editor: Mark Sinclair
Design: Julia
Introduction: Adrian Shaughnessy

Studio Culture Now is the essential guide to setting up, running and developing a design studio. It offers bang up-to-date advice and guidance for designers working in a world of rapid change.
 First published at the end of 2020, the book sold out quickly and is now available in a second printing.

In 2009, Unit Editions published its first book, Studio Culture: The secret life of the graphic design studio. Now, thanks to the generosity of over 800 Kickstarter backers and a successful funding campaign, we are able to publish a follow-up.

The book

Studio Culture Now features in-depth interviews with a host of leading design studios. The interviewees share their experiences, insights, fears and joys, and reveal how they deal with the fundamentals and aspirations of studio life.

Candid and generous, these extensive Q&As form a blueprint for anyone planning a studio practice, or anyone struggling with maintaining one.

Topics covered include: getting jobs, working with clients, balancing creativity with profitability, accounting, hiring, promotion, wellbeing, and much more. The interviews, mostly conducted in the past few months, also reveal how studios are adapting to the changes brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

Featured studios include:

Atelier Dyakova, Champions Design, Civilization, Design by Toko, DIA, ÉricandMarie, Formist, Google Design, GUNMAD / Or Type, Hansje van Halem, Helmo, Hey Studio, Hubertus Design, Jade Purple Brown, Julia, Morcos Key, My Name is Wendy, Neubau, Office of Craig, OK-RM, Parámetro Studio, Peepshow, ps.2, Regular Practice, Sara De Bondt studio, Sarah Boris Studio, Studio Rejane Dal Bello, Vrints-Kolsteren, WeShouldDoItAll, YesYesNo.

An extensive ‘Studio Intelligence’ section provides a checklist covering vital topics such as the benefits and pitfalls of remote working, space sharing, professional help and social media policies.

There is also input from two design world experts: Sophie Thomas on sustainability and Matt Alagiah (It’s Nice That) on self-promotion — plus expert advice on studio finances and accounting from Avi Josephs; and artist and designer Eric Schrijver on the basics of copyright.

Here’s a tiny sampling of the rich and diverse insights you’ll find in Studio Culture Now:

I didn’t realise this when I was starting out, but you can completely invent the type of studio you want to run — and it can be as weird or unconventional as you are yourself. You don’t need to conform to existing models. You don’t need to be answering the phone nine-to-five or have a flashy office in a capital city.
Sara De Bondt (Belgium)

The worst part of running a studio? I never truly take a break. Because I wear so many different hats there’s always something that needs to get done. It can be really hard to step away from work and just be present in the moment.
Jade Purple Brown (USA)

Our goal has never been to become wealthy, but to create the conditions to exercise our profession with pleasure while remaining free to choose what we do. So this effectively involves a balance between certain well-paid, but not very stimulating projects, which in turn finance others that are perhaps less profitable but more interesting.
Thomas Couderc, Helmo (France)

Having an accountant was critical for us — we’ve had one since day one. We always want to work with people that are the best at what they do. We know our limitations, accounting is definitely one of them.
Michael Ellsworth, Civilization (USA)

Today the studio is composed almost entirely of women. This was not deliberate; it was pure coincidence. And we are very proud to host and showcase all this female talent. We are focused right now on promoting women’s empowerment, but we are always on the lookout for new collaborators, ideas and points of view.
Cristina Arreola and Vanessa Santos, Parámetro Studio (Mexico)

We started when we were quite young and the idea was to keep our expenses small, keep it nimble, don’t get used to luxuries — it’s an ideology really. Keep it simple and avoid trappings, otherwise you haven’t got the flexibility.
Rory McGrath, OK-RM (UK)


Title: Studio Culture Now: Advice and guidance for designers in a changing world
Size: 151mm × 235mm
Pages: 492
Printer: Ediprima, Italy
Cover stock: Brossul, 210gsm
Papers: Munken Print White 1.5 80gsm; Materica Clay 120gsm; Materica Kraft 120gsm; Woodstock Rosso 80gsm; Magno Gloss 100gsm; Magno Natural 80gsm

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