The demands of unending deadlines and client expectations--not to mention the expectations we have of ourselves--make it easy for our creative team to keep working and never shut down. While a little bit of hustle and pressure keeps our team focused and sharp, too much can be detrimental to our agency’s productivity and creativity.
But...What If We Stop Working? For a Moment.
As the leader of my agency, I strive to foster a culture that celebrates hard work, but also appreciates and rewards employees for taking care of themselves. Sometimes, that means I have to force my staff to stop working and stimulate their creativity.
I’m always looking for ways to build a better culture in a remote work environment. Recently, Vers has started implementing monthly Studio Days—a chance to shut down our client-work and collaboratively create art for the sake of art. The time has helped our team develop a healthier, more creative culture.
“When you only create work for clients, it’s easy to forget there’s someone else who needs to find value and satisfaction in your work--YOU. Studio Days allow the team to look inward and reignite a passion for creativity without restriction.” -Vince DiGuglielmo, Vers’ Content Strategist
Here’s a closer look at a recent Studio Day that was transformative for our team and for our brand.
5 Steps We Took To Ignite Creativity
1. Start with Inspiration
The team gathered together in a virtual room. Each member brought an inspirational photograph that was meaningful to them and any art supplies they wanted to use. Whatever medium they chose, they were limited to only using black, white, gray, and red.
2. Create a Minimal Design
A set amount of time was determined for each person to design a minimal piece of art based on their inspiration. During this time, the team remained on camera as if we were all creating in the same space.
3. Tell the Story
When everyone was finished with their work, we gave each individual a chance to share the significance of their inspiration piece and how they interpreted that image into their piece of art. Many of the stories were moving. All were inspirational.
“It was really interesting to see different interpretations of a specific style of art. We were given the space and time to express ourselves and enter into other team members’ perspectives. This was extremely valuable for building trust and understanding each other more.” -Amanda Tuttle, Senior Graphic Designer
4. Reimagine Art
Then, we added a twist. We each traded our pieces with another team member. With only a short amount of time on the clock, we used our artistic medium to reinvent another team member’s project.
"As we shared the meaning of our pieces with one another, I realized that every stroke and every choice had a reason. Our art was personal, and each piece told a unique story. That story was changed when someone else reimagined our work. And there's the takeaway. We have the power to change other people's stories. Sometimes we do that for the better and sometimes not. It was a powerful visual lesson." -Julie Garner, Vers’ Senior Copywriter
5. An Unexpected Surprise
Because we restricted the color palette to Vers’ colors, our Art Director took the finished art pieces and added them as elements to the brand. We didn’t set out to enhance our brand with this Studio Day, but it was a happy accident.
“I got a fresh perspective from the team on how to use the minimal framework built into the core of our brand. This Studio Day helped me to think outside of the guidelines I had put in place for myself. It was a refreshing experience to work, remix, and refine these abstract pieces into elements we will use in our brand across multiple platforms.” -Hunter Bustamante, Vers’ Art Director
At Vers, we’re always actively trying to figure out what healthy remote work looks like. If you are too, request our free digital download: 10 Ways To Keep Remote Work From Killing Your Company Culture