How to set up a successful design studio

09. Don't neglect the business side

Still from PostPanic's proof of concept film, Sundays

Still from PostPanic's proof of concept film, Sundays

"You have to look further than the creative idea," advises PostPanic producer Jules Tervoort. "You have to make it sound on a business level. Think about what will be the next step and the step after that, because if you just focus on making something that's a nice creative piece – it's not enough."

10. Make time for personal projects

Non-commercial work can drive a studio into new creative realms: "Don't just do graphic design. Make other work and open yourself up – don't be afraid to put it up on your website and call it personal work."

11. Stick to your core values

BLUP clothing line. Photography: Lulu McCardle

BLUP clothing line. Photography: Lulu McCardle

"We decided to launch our very own clothing line – BLUP London – and show to the world that design isn't just on paper or on the screen. We wanted to let people wear art and embrace individuality," says Dines.

"We've worked tirelessly – and enjoyably – to get BLUP culture in front of people, and we'll continue to stick to our core values and champion the new."

12. Be flexible - but have boundaries

Spread from Keim, by Yukiko

Spread from Keim, by Yukiko

"It's important to always look and accept changes. Our working process is the same for all projects, no matter the end format: find a good idea first, explore it visually, then figure out the best way to execute it," explain Studio Yukiko's Johannes Conrad and Michelle Phillips.

"Things are moving very fast right now. Certain clients email you at the weekend and want things from you when you're asleep. It's up to you whether you want to respond and accommodate these demands."

13. Know when to say no

Knowing your capabilities and being able to say 'no' to projects when you have too much on is important, add the Yukiko founders. "We try and keep the studio quite small... but we try and keep it small because we just want to do jobs that challenge us, that we really believe in. These tend to come with more fun than money, but it doesn't matter to us right now."

14. Take risks

"We embrace the new," says Dines. "We challenge our clients to push the boundaries of their brand to the absolute limit. But don't overthink an idea. The best ones are the simple ideas."

15. Talk it through

Still from an experimental project by Mau Morgo

Still from an experimental project by Mau Morgo

Another opinion can really help when an idea won't come, says designer Mau Morgo. "Creative block is a pain in the ass. To overcome it, I normally explain the project to some friends – that helps a lot with understanding the project. Usually they come with a different idea that can help you."

16. Communication is key

"Listen to what your client want," adds BLUP's Dines. "Ask the right questions, and involve the client as much as possible in the creative process."

17. Give something back

"BLUP is collaborating with the charity Hope for Children, which sees us give a little back to the local community with internships and design mentoring. It also involves those who need help in less fortunate countries."

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Words: Jo Gulliver and Julia Sagar

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