Designing the Prismatic Office

How We’re Creating a Creative Environment

Welcome to our house

Hey there! My name is Steven Schafer and I’m a designer at Prismatic. At our office, it’s important that everyone can be themselves, and express who they are. We also encourage people to grow as individuals by exploring their interests and collaborating with others. Our office surroundings reflect these values and showcase the many personalities within. I want to take you on a tour of our space and give you insight into our unique creative culture. Let’s take a look!

Visual Thinking

We love to visually express our ideas. Our walls are essentially covered in whiteboard material and a bunch of our most promising ideas have been generated on them. Around the office you can find the remnants of many wall sessions and brainstorms.

A recent wall session

Lots of visual thinking takes place during our design process as well. We use wall space and sketch pads during this phase. After we ideate, we like to get feedback on these ideas in the form of group discussion.

Graham, our design lead, went to school at Carnegie Mellon for Industrial Design and has an awesome ability to communicate his ideas through sketches.

Plenty of communal space

We really value all the open space at the office, because it allows us to work together fluidly and exchange ideas. We have communal tables that we gather around to discuss and generate ideas. We have a bunch of couches around the office that you can usually find people sitting at discussing things or just hanging out.

We also have catered lunch and dinner every day and usually all eat together. Eating together allows us to form great relationships with each other and removes a lot of communication barriers. Often times it’s also the first step in collaborating together.

Collaboration is constant throughout our design process, from brainstorming to design reviews. A typical design review here at Prismatic usually takes place in the form of a group discussion “check in” where we gather around a desk and talk high level concepts as well as details. Each member of our design team brings something unique to the table, so getting feedback from everyone provides critique from different perspectives.

The workspace here is also very flexible. Nobody is “assigned” to a particular desk or area of the office. This free floating concept allows people to work in the space that feels most comfortable to them, and suited to the task. People are constantly moving and floating around. This is really great for collaborating with people in other disciplines as well as sharing ideas. We also do a lot of pairing here where a designer typically pairs with an engineer to implement a feature or design. This gives both disciplines a greater understanding of each other and allows for ideas to be executed quicker and more realistically.

Ian and I pairing on some web onboarding features

Interest days

Since our product is centered around exploring your interests, we have what we call interest days. An interest day at Prismatic is where someone on our team can create an event around something they are interested in and share it with the team. Some of our past interest days have included hot sauce making, creating micro synthesizers, drawing instruction, attending a cat circus, and even building miniature terrariums! The materials from past interest days can still be seen all around the office as reminders of the things we’ve tried.

Can you spot the tiny man inside the terrarium mowing the lawn?
Learning perspective drawing
Our office tea station was inspired by a tea Interest Day

Prismatic library and couch reading time

We love to read! So much that we have an in-house library of books for everyone to enjoy and contribute to. We have collections of engineering and design books and also an online library.

Our library was fully catalogued by one of our designers, Carolyn, who went to Pratt Institute School of Information and Library Science

Every Tuesday evening we have an hour that you can choose to dedicate to reading!

Reading time! Gillian and Gina enjoying some books from our collection

Everyone brings something unique to the table

Some of my favorite things about working at Prismatic are that we encourage and support being yourself and that we have a great mix of personalities and disciplines. Everyone brings many sides of their personality to work with them and the office reflects this. The many subtle oddities around the office add to the relaxed and free feeling atmosphere. You can find little figurines or drawings pretty much anywhere you look. I find something new every day. No joke! I even found this early 90’s Vanilla Ice Yo! MTV Raps card!

This is real

Conner (one of our engineers who has a natural eye for design) even has an electronic drum kit and a knife juggling set in the office.

Conner juggling knives
Pass at your own risk
You can also find figurines scattered about the office

Thanks for stopping by

Our space reflects who we are and we want everyone who enters to feel at home. All the subtle oddities and evidence of peoples’ hobbies add to this feeling and encourage everyone to bring their real selves to work. And our space is constantly evolving and changing as our team grows.

Want to add your interests to the mix? Apply to be our Bridge designer!

Read more about Prismatic Design here:

Originally posted on the Prismatic blog

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