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The Ideal Studio
Ryan Ras

Ryan Ras is a designer who studied at Brighton University and the Royal College of Art. He worked in his own studio before going freelance a couple of years ago, and works mainly on longer-term contracts. 

Ryan on...

The importance of pulling in the same direction...

Creativity and productivity come from people and so having the right team is the foundation for this. It shouldn't be about individual lone rangers but rather a diverse group of great designers who want to see the broader studio succeed. Through all levels of the studio there also needs to be enthusiasm, passion, interest, and most importantly of all, a desire to do good work. The team structure also needs to be right; peoples' responsibilities need to be clear, yet there must be flexibility to work across different teams.

“When I used to pay football you always play best with people that you know. You know their weaknesses and their strengths and this comes through shared experience. If you have a creative team where people are changing a lot and new people are always coming in, then you never really get to know one another. I think a physical environment can change, it’s the people that make a studio.”

On what good leadership means...

“The team needs to be engaged and inspired by good leadership. Good leadership is good vision and being able to communicate that vision as well. There has to be clear direction, not just for projects but as a studio. Leadership is really relationships, about feedback, not about hierarchy.

On the most pressing issue in most studios...

“Time! It's important to give proper time and space to think. It’s also one of the hardest things to achieve.

On the way studios can work better with freelancers...

“You need a creative environment that allows you to design in your own way and not have to conform to a set structure or way of doing things; trust between the studio and the designer.”

“There’s very practical things like having a space ready for you and having a computer all set up so you are not having to run around trying to sort that out yourself. It’s good to have a proper introduction to the people you need to work with – not just being taken round shaking hands with everyone. Sometimes it's just the small things that make the biggest difference; like someone offering you a cup of tea on your first day.”

“Finally, I don't think all the onus should be on the studio. Any job (freelance or otherwise) is also what you make it; so I think it's also up to the freelancer to have a good attitude, to work hard and to want to make the best positive contribution to the studio they can.”

On how studios should deal with clients...

“The core principle in any genre of design is problem solving. Sometimes the problem is quite straightforward and both you and the client have an expectation about how it needs to be done. Obviously there are commercial considerations that come into play and you have to answer the brief, but sometimes the studio has to be brave and go back with something that the client did not necessarily think was the solution. Innovation, never happens just through generic responses.”

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