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The Building Blocks of Design Studio Culture

Building Blocks of Design Studio Culture

Studio culture is everything people in a design studio do that supports the process of making work happen. Culture can create joy, while process can facilitate profit.

A studio’s culture is not created solely by the business owner. It is generated from ongoing contributions and discoveries from both studio owners and employees. With this in mind, the following are some building blocks of a design studio’s culture—some of which the studio owner can invest in, and others that studio staff can own in order to create their ideal working environment.

They are divided into two groups: hard building blocks are created through a budget (money and time) as a formal part of studio overhead. The soft building blocks can be created through the decisions employees make over the course of their daily work, life, and play (with little material investment by studio owners). Both types of building blocks provide emotional and material stability to studio employees in the face of ongoing work challenges, and are often perceived by clients, family, and the general public as ingredients of the company’s brand.

The above chart was generated by me and David Conrad, Studio Director at Design Commission, for our workshop this Wednesday about how to structure design agencies for success.


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