3 pro tips for starting your own design studio

Since opening its doors 18 months ago, Rotterdam-based film and design studio From Form has gone from strength to strength.

One of their first major projects as a new studio saw founders Jurjen Versteeg, Ashley Govers and Wouter Keijzer creating the main titles for Barcelona-based creative conference OFFF 2013 – not a bad gig for anyone, let alone a young studio that's just opened its doors.

Fast-forward two years and the three-man team haven't looked back. The From Form trio took to the stage at Brighton's biggest creativity conference, Reasons to be Creative, to talk through their rollercoaster ride (they've lost sleep, bruised ribs, and once won and lost two clients in a day).

The studio also presented their fantastic opening titles for Reasons to be Creative 2014, which you can see here...

So what advice would the From Form team give to any creatives looking to set up their own design studio? Here are three key lessons they've learned...

01. Create your own chances

Where do you find work as a new design studio? If you're From Form, you email the founder of one of Europe's biggest creative conferences and ask if you can get involved. ("Worry about whether you can pull it off later," laughs Versteeg.)

This email led to the production of Mr Emilton's Cabinet of Curiosities, the stunning main titles for OFFF 2013 and a signature piece for From Form to show the world. As they explain: if you don't have work, then you have to make your own luck.

02. Investing time in a project you really want to make means compromising on commercial projects

To ensure their titles for OFFF were the very best they could be, FromForm had to sacrifice time spent on commercial work. It was a risky strategy for a new studio without much money in the bank – and one the team hadn't expected.

"We learned that investing time in a project you really want to make means compromising on commercial projects," says Keijzer.

03. Believe in what you want to make

Was the compromise on financial security worth it? "Yes!" says Govers, adding that commercial work did – eventually – come. From Form's opening OFFF titles generated a huge amount of press, picking up a number of industry accolades, including an ADC Merit Award in Motion and attracting welcome new clients for the studio.

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Julia Sagar
Editor-in-chief retail

Julia is editor-in-chief, retail at Future Ltd, where she works in e-commerce across a number of consumer lifestyle brands. A former editor of design website Creative Bloq, she’s also worked on a variety of print titles, and was part of the team that launched consumer tech website TechRadar. She's been writing about art, design and technology for over 15 years.