Studio Life: Part 1

Over the next few weeks we’ll be publishing a series of articles that look behind the scenes of a creative agency, in this case the studio that I work at called Bluegg. The first article is an overview of our agency and a look at a typical day for us. The subsequent articles will look at specific roles within the team.

Bluegg is an agency based in Newport, South Wales working on branding, print and web projects for clients across the UK and Europe. Bluegg currently consists of eight people including a Creative Director, Business Director, Studio Manager, Designers and Developers. More on those roles in coming weeks.

Kick-Off

It’s hard to define a ‘typical’ day at a creative agency because you can never plan for who might call or pop in and neither can we anticipate technology failures or client emergencies. We do have some control though and with a little structure and good communication we are able to have as typical a day as anyone might manage.

No matter how much you love your job (and we do!) the start of a day can be hard for even the keenest of folk so we spend time making breakfast, getting the lattes flowing and chatting about last night’s television or the latest sport results.

Tip: have a good coffee machine in your studio, it’s a great team pleaser and motivator.

Scrum Down

We are lucky that we all work in the same room (more on the advantages of this in upcoming articles) so we can chat openly and easily as we get ready to start the day. When everyone is sitting comfortably and emails have been checked, we scrum.

Tip: Specifically a scrum is a chance for a project team to meet daily in order to answer:

  • What did you do yesterday?
  • What will you do today?
  • Are there any impediments in your way?

Essentially it is about where we are and where we need to be, an awareness of what work is completed, what is outstanding and who is working on what. Whilst we don’t scrum in a formal sense, as Studio Manager I run through the priorities for the day, assigning tasks as needed and it also gives the team chance to ask questions, find out who is working on what in case they answer the phone and need to direct calls and generally all studio activity is known by the whole team.

Morning Glory

The remainder of the morning is structured around the tasks agreed and assigned in the morning catch up. Typically everyone just gets on with it and so it may be that proofs or visuals are sent to clients and then other jobs are looked at or if clients feedback quickly then we look at actioning any appropriate amends. Some mornings we might have a client meeting or an internal meeting  and Mike usually finds some reason to leave the studio (more on his role next week when we look at winning business/client relationships).

It’s hard to plan for every instance and we may have an urgent request that means suddenly the day isn’t typical, but so long as all client expectations are managed and work is scheduled as much as possible, we can’t ask for more than that given the industry we work in. We certainly don’t get stressed about last minute changes, it’s not the Bluegg culture to do so.

Lunch Time

All work and no play doesn’t just make Jack a dull boy. We firmly believe that time out is important, indeed it is the Bluegg way. So lunchtimes are a time for us to kick back. Whether it be a wander through town, a game of table tennis in the meeting room, trying to see how high we can kick, or more likely, team Call of Duty on the X-Box. Too many people stay at their desks through lunch, we however would be lost without this time to unwind.

Afternoon Delight

The afternoons tend to be slightly less structured as we find ourselves responding to client feedback based on any work we sent clientside earlier in the day. Of course this is true of smaller projects but when we have something bigger to keep us busy then we can usually come in and get going straight away, still communicating the project status during the morning get together and working on it through the day as needed.

Similarly, no two projects are the same so we may spend an afternoon working on brand concepts, completing a project proposal, creating sitemaps, designing and laying out a hefty print document or discussing and working on internal projects. That’s why what we do is exciting, it changes day to day but can still fit into some resemblence of a structured day.

We’re Done

We down tools at 5pm. This is usually the case and our clients are all aware of this so they know that if they email thereafter then they may not get a reply until the next day. Any emails that come in overnight are fed into the following morning’s scrum. That’s not to say that nothing happens after 5pm. We are all willing to stay longer when required but we value our lives outside of work and try to strike the right balance.

If we are feeling particularly pleased with our performance from the day then we might just squeeze in another game of Call of Duty before we are homeward bound.

Next week: Interested in establishing and maintaining excellent client relationships? Come back next week to read all about this!

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Comments

8 comments on “Studio Life: Part 1

  1. Very good blog. Checking-in (scrum to you guys) as we call it in school is an excellent way to listen to other people. We use it with the pupils during morning registration, and it works well.

    Look forward to next weeks read.

  2. Oh I’m going to love this series of posts, I can tell already. I’ve been fantasizing about what it’d be like to work in a studio (I’m on an in-house team at an educational agency at the moment) and this might inspire me enough to make a career change.

  3. Rob, this is an excellent idea for a series and I can’t wait to see more. We’re building a cooperative based agency and insights like this are invaluable. Thanks so much

  4. Thanks for the nice comments all. I hope you like the following posts too. Next week we look at building and maintaining client relationships, the week after is more focused on getting organised and then the last two articles are dedicated to our web team and creative team. :)