(Or “The Lonesome Cubicle Of Excel”)
Have you ever worked in, visited or generally hung around a bustling design studio? They are wonderful places. Full of activity; full of possibilities; full of people firing ideas off of each other.
You see that beautifully sculptured car over there? That was designed in a place like this. See that advert and that packaging you like? That was put together in a place full of trained creativity. Obviously that iPhone was designed in a place like this (although I think some smartphones may be copied in places that are far from these studio idylls!) and countless websites, magazines, products and clothes were grasped from thin air and made real in a studio full of designers, engineers and coders.
To any designer, the “studio” is the place of dreams; the place where ideas become reality. Sparks of imagination go from nothing to taking actual physical form and shape that are tested and perfected for the real world. It surely is a wonder to behold.
A good studio ebbs and flows as the workload and deadlines wash over the participants. A good studio also has places where you can be utterly quiet (to code, proof or think). And places where it appears all hell is breaking loose as people utterly confident in their own vision and abilities work towards another goal.
To the untrained eye the design studio may look like a feverish and chaotic place; but to all but the most soulless of individuals they are simply wonderful creative environments.
Now, I mentioned soulless individuals there, and you may be wondering who on earth could find a busydesign studio a little scary and disturbing?
Yep, it’s our friend the accountant. Emancipated from pure accountancy, and roaming free among non-accountants.
As a designer, I’ve never being so insulted or angry than when a particular egotistical financial director (and trained accountant, obviously) walked in to a room full of designers all racing towards meeting another deadline.
“You look like busy idiots” he said.
Yep, he said that.
To that accountant brain, a room full of creativity, feedback and deadline-meeting was all too much. A brain trained in the lonesome cubicle of Excel could not come to terms with people actually talking to each other, giving advice, asking questions and creating mock-ups on the fly (and all done outside of a 3 hour corporate meeting – impossible!)
“They must be messing about”. “How can you be working if you are not sat silently contemplating yesterday’s sales data?”
It was all too much for our fact-focussed friend from the academy of csv.
I found out later that this lovely little studio was all but disbanded a little after this event. The designers were forced to sit in silent cubicles (alongside the rest of this moribund and miserable sect of sales, marketing and production prisoners). Mid-level accountants and their apologists were parachuted in to micro-manage even the most mundane of creative tasks… and nothing of consequence was ever produced again. Tragic.
It is also a good life lesson for the creatives among us.
NEVER forget that there are groups of people who are unwilling to believe that you can work in an environment that isn’t a miserable, silent temple to Microsoft Office.
You have been warned!