6 tips for running a successful design studio

Ahead of Computer Arts' 20th birthday, leading designers share their hard-won advice for running a winning creative studio.

To celebrate Computer Arts' 20th anniversary and milestone 250th issue, the magazine is unleashing a bumper special collector's edition on Friday 5 February.

Inside, leading designers reveal the biggest lessons they've learned, and the issue is bursting with tips, tricks and expert advice on everything from mastering the art of delegation to how to take your practice to the next level – a tiny taster of which you'll find here...

Reserve your copy now

To guarantee your copy – and save up to a massive 63% in the process – subscribe to Computer Arts by Wednesday 20 January.

In the meantime, read on for pro tips for running a successful design studio from six of the world-class designers and illustrators featured inside Computer Arts' special 20th anniversary issue...

01. Give designers space to hone ideas

Lippincott has been working with Orange to develop a distinctive service culture for its European markets and beyond

"It takes a village to execute a complex, global design project, but you can't underestimate the importance of the individual in that process," says Lippincott's Heather Stern.

"It takes one person to have the idea, but many people to execute it. I've learned how to protect an individual's idea and craft within the demands of a global design project."

"It's my job to give designers the space they need to hone their ideas. We're successful when I'm able to respect that brilliance and mobilise a team to help bring it to life."

02. Making the client happy isn't enough

"The biggest lesson I've learned so far is that making the client happy isn't enough," advises Sagi Haviv, partner and designer at iconic firm Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv.

"At the end of the day, you, the designer, must be proud of the result, and the way to achieve that is to show the client only those options that you believe in wholeheartedly.

03. Empower people

Wolff Olins' work for humanitarian aid programme, Salma

Ownership of the work and open communication is key, says Wolff Olins design director Dan Greene.

"By making people feel valued through their contribution and giving them the platform to have input into the direction of a project, it can give team members the extra 10 per cent they need to turn a job from good to great."

04. Respect everyone

"Treat people like humans and with very little hierarchy," says Snask's Fredrik Öst. "Make sure that everyone is a superstar and that everyone has a life beside their job."

05. Don't back down with tricky clients

Sarah Mazzetti created this giant wood "thing" for TICTIG exhibition at Casa Testori

"Be firm and clear about the fact that there's a reason why you want things to be done in a certain way," advises illustrator Sarah Mazzetti.

06. Treat every project like it'll be your best

"One of the most important lessons I've learned? To treat every new project as if it'll be the best of my career," says Northern Ireland-based graphic designer and writer David Airey.

"It doesn't matter who the client is, or what industry I'm designing for, I'm the one responsible for just how good, how interesting, how successful the result is."

Why CA 250 is a collector's item

For the first time in history – and in a celebration of the power of print – Computer Arts is doing an epic split run of issue 250, making 20 different options of its 20th anniversay cover avaliable to choose from, thanks to a top secret creative collaboration.

Illustrated by two of best designers in the world and embellished with a stunning cocktail of print treatments, this is one milestone edition of Computer Arts not to miss.

Computer Arts issue 250 is on sale 5 February 2016. Subscribe by Wednesday 20 January to guarantee your copy and save up to 63%.

Liked this? Read these...


Julia Sagar is a commissioning editor and writer for Creative Bloq, Computer Arts, net, 3D World and IFX magazines. Tweet her @JuliaSagar