Working Studio Visits

Empathy & Enterprise, Visits


Sainsbury’s Studio

Today was the first day that the people who chose branding as their studio met as a group. Firsts things first we need to create a studio environment. We have a plain white room with desks at the moment, hopefully when we’re finished with it we’ll have a working studio kitted out with designated areas for certain things like cutting, gluing, sticking things up, mood boards etc.. No better way to get inspired with what works and what doesn’t than to go and visit a professional working studio.

I was sceptical when the first studio for my group to visit was the Sainsbury’s headquarters (yes the supermarket). I was sceptical because when I think Sainsbury’s,  I don’t immediately think creative studio space. However I was severely proven wrong. DSC_0013

Going down into what they had named their studio ‘The Lab’ we were greeted with a large doodle type  drawing which gave the feeling of a relaxed creative space . I was surprised at the size of the studio space, and also at the amount of people.

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The studio resembled a resonating futuristic bee hive for creative people. The hexagonal shapes repeated made it feel look like a bee hive, this also gave a positive feeling of a strong work force. Pretty much every single wall near a cluster of tables was a whiteboard, the whole room was really open and a lot of the walls were made of glass which made it feel quite spacious and open plan. What works really well about this space is the amount of places for a group huddle and places to talk. Take these steps for example specifically designed to be used as a spot to gather and talk as a group. DSC_0012

We were taken into one of the sectioned off areas. Some of the team gave a talk on some on going projects and software they use on a day to day basis. They gave tips on asking yourself questions when tackling branding types of work such as ‘why am I doing this and who for?’.  We were talked through some steps using User Experience which uses a person’s emotions and attitudes towards using a particular product, system or service. User experience includes the practical, experiential, affective, meaningful and valuable aspects of human/computer interaction.

The Lab is only about a month old and so they are still working out the kinks. They said in their previous studio space they had to wear suits, and just a simple thing as letting them dress in casual clothes has had a great effect on their work being produced, creating a more natural, laid back and comfortable atmosphere.

As much as the studio was very nice and new, it was also leaning towards being quite clinical and officey. I also noticed the lack of books around or any art work on the walls, apart from at the entrance. This will be something I hope to have In the studio we create.


Aboud Studio

My first impression walking in the Aboud studio was ‘wow books’. The studio had very high ceilings with lots of room for wall space and book shelves.  DSC_0015

The room had been divided by book shelves creating three separate rooms, so although you have a really open plan feel to the space you also have the area to retreat to for some more privacy. One of the rooms was being used as the main hub for work, containing large tables with equipment and computers. In contrast to the amount of books to delve into they also had an Xbox and Apple TV which I feel gives it a good balance of old and new technologies working together, although I think the Xbox was for more after work hours and not practical.

DSC_0016The studio worked almost like a permanent exhibition showing several pieces of art like models, photographs, designs etc. which is what the first place was missing I think. I personally think what you surround yourself with is important. DSC_0014


Every inch of wall space had been covered with something. some pieces were even taking up floor space.





The people in the studio gave a talk on past campaigns they have created for such brands as Paul Smith, Zara, H&M, Levis and more. The studio has worked quite heavily with Paul Smith over the years and one campaign they showed us was ‘a suit to travel in’. The suits they are advertising don’t crease because of the material they are made from. The advertisement shows a gymnast doing all sorts of acrobatics, which would almost ruin any normal suit.

The owner of the studio Allan, went on to say, in his studio it isn’t much about having a heavily skill set (some is obviously needed) but its more about professionalism and consistency. Over the past 26 years of working he hasn’t really created an image or manifesto for his studio to work towards, because each peace of work is specifically aimed at a new brief to work towards.


Overview for the day; The Sainsbury’s studio really took me by surprise and after seeing where they were working I wouldn’t mind working there myself. However it still felt very large and impersonal, as if you wouldn’t be missed if you didn’t show up for work one day. In contrast Aboud had a homely feel to the space, with background music playing. With only 6 people working there I would feel like an important cog in the works.



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