If you cant find it, build it.
creating the kind of company, I’ve always wanted to work for.
My design career started almost 22 years ago now, by accident. I was doing a dead end job, typing in classified ads and slowly started to make friends with people in the production department. After awhile, I started hanging in the production room, and my interest was piqued. The production room was awesome, music blaring, designers working, collaborating, discussing in real-time. This was the stuff I loved but didn’t know you could actually have a career doing it.
I started sneaking up there as often as I could, and they started putting me to work, first doing silly things, but then they started noticing that I had an eye for space and could articulate pretty good reasoning, thus began my education in design. Over the next few years this became my classroom and the designers working there became my teachers/mentors, and they were so gracious, patient and willing to teach me everything they knew. There was no paying dues, there was no silly initiation, they gave it freely. This experience my first experience has shaped my design philosophy and I have been looking for an environment like this to work in ever since.
I have worked at almost every type of business, non-profit, small business, start-up, medium size and fortune 500. Some of these experience have been good, while others have been awful but none of them even came close to working with other designers who weren’t ego driven and were just craftsmen, who loved design and wanted to talk about it, share it, learn it without needing or wanting to be a superstar. I am a true lover of design and the process, I have never sought to be anything but a designer, a damn good designer but just a designer. Not a famous designer, not an icon, just a designer that works hard to master his craft.
Now that I have experience, I am really wanting to open a studio that duplicates my entry into design. I want to create an ego-less studio where designers just want to be designers. Where collaboration is free and open and where learning is continuous. I want to create a place where ideas are king and people contribute their skills, talent, perspectives on it to make it better. I want to work with individuals who can make and defend their choices but also can challenge their beliefs and allow for exploration. I want to create the kind of space that fosters exploration, challenging work, thoughtful consideration, tinkering with tools and ultimately mastery of craft.
Sometimes, if you cant find what you are looking for, then you need to step up and create it. Its funny how the very first place, I started my career, will be the kind of place where I end my career. Love that.