Week 1

Planning Strategy and Management

Lecture Material:


Your perspective and your ambition.
• Whilst I will continue to develop your own ethos throughout the course the learning through this module will encourage me to rehearse and practise different methodologies and approaches – this will create an unique practice that is customised to myself.
• Specifically, the outputs for assessment, which will be assessed at 30% for a 3,000 word report, or business plan, 40% for studio practice and 30% for an entrepreneurial artefact.

• The outcome will involve putting theory into practice as I write a business plan for my own business or project or creative initiative.
• This brief allows me to focus on my own interests, background, or future career scenarios, whether freelance, studio or in-house opportunities.
• Really utilise this first project to think about where I am and the sort of work that I would like to be doing. This is very much a speculative exercise.

• As companies grow, business models form such as:
• The size of a company
• Structures / teamwork
• Funding and finances
• Who is employed within the company
• Research John Maeda, Stefan Sagmeister or Aardman Animation to see business development strategies.

Simon Manchipp

I find it great that Simon talks about great design “agencies” not requiring a flashy studio and that designers he knows are ‘barely more than great people with laptops’ – to me this is the way that design and arts in the creative industry is evolving. Creatives are not having to be sales people in the flesh; a screen will push through advertisements and collect data for us.

He then mentions how the business began, that to keep financial resources low they were using a hotel’s wifi in a bus stop! Although this sounds tragic, it’s very honest and I think we all need to remember where we started. When I first saw Someone’s work/website I felt almost intimidated – how would I ever get from A to B? But now Simon has explained how he started Someone with three other colleagues working in their bedrooms it’s given me perspective. One thing is clear; these four people had determination, passion and enjoyed what they were doing. This will get you a long way.

It’s interesting that Simon also mentions 90% of what he does in a studio is not to do with design; there is so much more involved. There are many qualities that a designer needs to run a studio or run themselves – but you could argue this is different depending on what level they are at in their career. I really love the fact that projects get passed around and a team gets to work on all areas individually. People have varying levels of talent, ideas, strengths and weakness’ that would work brilliantly in a team.
Simon also referenced Disney and Pixar – they are great evidence that there is success and innovation through teamwork. But maybe that’s only large companies? Would this still work for people just starting out their own business e.g. freelance designers and creatives?

Sarah Boris

Sarah speaks about all the basic, bare necessities required for a studio such as space and equipment; and managing finances.

Sarah began her work in a shared studio where a lot of skills were learnt from other artists, but then transitioned to a quiet space where she could focus.

Her advice is to re-invent yourself as a designer; constantly evolve, change, create and don’t give up. I think it’s important to remember this as a designer, that we are not confined to one set of rules. Arguably, does creativity have rules? There will be briefs, guidelines, restrictions and copyright… Things like that but ideas are always unrestricted and free.

Sarah also advised: “don’t compromise too much, or don’t compromise at all.” This spoke to me quite loudly as it seems you have to be firm and stubborn almost; you are the designer and you know what works and what doesn’t. At the end of the day, clients pay to have this expertise and knowledge so why undermine that by not utilising that? On the flip side, you do have to keep clients happy and there can seem a fine line sometimes between knowing what’s right and whether the client is going to trust you – you don’t want to break that trust.

Intro Design

People person
Head for business

Working with clients is listening to what they want, and taking it one step further with your expertise, recommendation and knowledge.

It’s important to be able to be physically hands-on creative as a designer as well as being nifty with a computer.

Advice – to be able to effectively communicate what it is you do. To be able to handle criticism, and know cut-off points where you only get so much for what you pay for. Also customising your finances and time between different clients – like smaller businesses compared to larger businesses.

Sam Winston

“…a respectful and transparent relationship with money is going to save a
lot of time.”

“…trust is actually the most, probably one of the biggest assets, when it comes to making a living.”

Realising the benefits of creating work directly as opposed to selling another creative’s artwork.

Perseverance and determination will shine through to clients.

Regular Practice

“I think it really is 1 in 500 emails or sending things out. But on that notion, do you need a website or is a really well-curated Instagram just as useful?”

This quote has really got me thinking about marketing tools and how to utilise a creative space to showcase work. I used to think Instagram was fantastic for showing off work as your post would stay on your follower’s feeds as they scroll through the most recently posted content. However, this way people would only get posts seen if their followers were online relatively soon after they posted, so Instagram introduced an algorithm update where only 10% of anyone’s followers are seeing content – it refreshes to random posts within the last 2 days. The reason they did this was to keep the content to the things they think, we care about. This is not good for business’ as the reach is far lower, and I remember the outrage and struggle of business’ having to adapt. I still see posts now that aren’t reaching everyone in instances of live auctions etc – comments are always saying they didn’t see posts.
Because of all this; I think a website is effective. It also keeps it clean, there’s no comments or hashtags, and you are able to reach as little or as many customers/clients as you wish. This would of course rely on word of mouth, which Regular Practise also mentioned in their response. They mentioned they built their business from people they know; clients were coming to them from word of mouth and they started out at a friends studio. This supports my reasoning that having a website definitely has purpose.

“If you want to do a certain kind of work, then you need to be outputting that kind of work …” Very true. I have tried to tailor my portfolio since graduating to sustainable briefs, I have a few but this course will hopefully push me to provide a portfolio of work that showcases what I do. Hearing a fairly new studio recommend this, is useful. I need to start thinking seriously about sustainable design and practice!! I have explored that further in module one but I need to push myself beyond my boundaries.