Have you ever felt that your studio's missing something? You might have all the technology and design equipment that you need, a collection of tasteful prints adorning the walls, a smattering of office plants and of course all the commissions you can comfortably handle, but if things still don't seem quite right then maybe you need a studio pet to breathe some extra life into your workspace.
Having a friendly animal around the place can be a great stress-reliever, and they're also brilliant at forcing you to take those essential screen breaks. Even better, they can help sharpen your creative skills; what better way to figure out how to draw a cat than by having an actual cat around to practise on?
We put the call out to creatives to tell us about their studio pets, and they delivered. Let's take a tour of eight studios and their assorted furry friends.
01. Harley, Shelby, Scooby and Watson
Toronto-based infographic wizards Venngage come top of the studio pet pecking order with a fine-looking quartet of dogs; say hello to Harly, Shelby, Scooby and Watson. Scooby holds the prestigious position of Chief Barketing Officer, while Shelby is Venngage's Head of Pawperations. More pets with job titles, please; the punnier the better as far as we're concerned.
02. Layla and Lexi
Nancy Ruzow is a graphic designer who lives and works in the NYC suburb of Westport, Connecticut, and specialises in annual reports, logo design and ads. She's ably assisted in her work by a pair of cats, Layla and Lexi, who bring some essential skills to her design practice: the ability to always come running when the printer starts up, jumping on the desk when Nancy's on a video call, and eating any important papers she's left lying around.
Charlie is an English Springer Spaniel, and he helps Paul Edwards, a web consultant and front end developer based in Worthing, Sussex, to keep his sanity. What he lacks in web abilities – Paul says his CSS linting skills are sub-par and he doesn't like mobile menus – are more than made up for by the fact that he's learned the specific key combination Paul uses to lock his PC, and whenever he hears that special sound he springs into action. Walkies!
To Barcelona, and Yellow, a design and audiovisual studio founded in 2011 by Konstantina Gavala. Working on a variety of cross-discipline projects including brand identity, print, packaging, architectural and interior design, photography and digital media, Yellow is also home to nine-year-old Maya. Her main enemy is the office printer, and she likes to keep an eye on how the team is handling projects.
Say hello to Bruin, the Head of Visitor Relations at Skeleton, a video production agency in Nottingham. Without doubt a very good dog indeed, he recently led Skeleton's annual fire drill. Useful Bruin facts: (1) his favourite food is all food; (2) he's no longer allowed on video calls because he barks at strangers to protect the Skeleton team; (3) he can go from sleeping to 'OMG-the-door-is-open-gotta-get-out' in precisely 0.3 seconds.
Still in Nottingham, let's pay a visit to Chloe Joy, who's studying game art at university and plans to become a character designer. Chloe also has to protect her Cintiq pen from her 'helper', Daisy, who'll seize any opportunity to chew on it; her talents also include jumping onto Chloe's desk at the most inconvenient times, and tapping her arm with her claws until she gives her head pats. Chloe says that while Daisy isn't overly skilled, she is at least fantastic at cuddling.
Who's this sad-looking guy? His name's Poe – as in Poe Doggeron, the cutest puppy the resistance had to offer – and he belongs to Melody Foster, a freelance graphic designer and illustrator from Mishawaka, Indiana. He's sad because of Melody's computer – presumably because she's paying more attention to it than to him – and sometimes he attacks her desk chair. Fair play, Poe. Fair play.
08. Katy, Lily and Pooky
Finally, a trio of cats who bring their vast feline experience into play at indie game studio, Infinite State Games, which is currently putting the finishing touches to its latest title, Family Tree, on Nintendo Switch. Katy can be found at ISG's Tonbridge studio with CEO Charlie Scott-Skinner; she's one sizeable cat who, Charlie says, isn't conducive to his creativity.
Over at ISG's Bristol studio with creative director Mike Daw you'll find Lily and Pooky; Lily is an adorable, good-natured fluffball, while Pooky is described by Mike as a semi-feral bat-goblin that's murdered most of the local wildlife. Now that's a proper cat.