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The Ideal Studio
Moving Brands

Moving Brands was set up in 1998. They have studios in former factories in east London and Zurich, and a former garage in San Francisco. They employ 88 staff across the three sites working on branding and design solutions for a high profile client list.

Mat Heinl, Moving Brands’ Chief Creative Officer, on not being afraid to change things around...

“Flexibility is very important. The way we have used the floors in London has changed year on year. It’s incremental, learning and changing as we change the way we work together. The spaces themselves are work in progress. We’ve just created some more social space so that people can discuss things in a more informal way, and it’s made a huge difference to the atmosphere. There need to be places that are fun and relaxed as well as places that can feel more about working. Some people need silence and to be barricaded off while others feed off the energy and buzz.”

On the importance of authenticity...

“From my perspective it’s really important that the space is authentic. It’s not right to have something superficial – we have to be honest about what the building was built for and how the space is now being used. Otherwise it can breed a sense of falsnenesss and we are trying to get to the truth.

“There are some similarities – furniture, colour palettes – between the three studios but they all feel of their city, with their own story and that authenticity filters into our culture.”

On creating shared spaces for better crit culture...

“We like to have shared desk space where everyone can stand together and we put a lot of things up on boards around the walls. We like the happenstance where people can walk past something and say ‘That is interesting’ – everyone is encouraged to comment and ask and learn. We want the newest girl on the team to feel able to turn around and say, ‘I am not sure that makes sense to me’ and we don’t want to separate people into certain departments – that is anathema to the way we work.”

“That sharing is a huge advantage but has to be nurtured. Having good sight lines so you can see what people are working on is much more important than having great taps.”

“We want to have crits of the work not crits of people. Sometimes you say, ‘Let’s go and sit next to John’ and you end up talking about John. We want to talk about the work and you can help that by physically changing the perspective, by standing up.”

On liking your surroundings...

“The surrounding area is really important – the coffee shop, the actual road, the next door neighbours. You don’t do everything in the building so the whole milieu can have a massive effect. The challenge with high rise is the disconnection with the world around you which might be a problem. Both our London and San Francisco studios have street level entrances – we can peer out and people often stop and peer in. In San Francisco we kept the roll top garage door for this reason, in the summer it's like working in the street. If you don’t feel connected to the world how can you make things that are relevant to people?”

On removing barriers...

“We don’t want any barrier between our clients and the people who make the work. It seems bizarre to have someone not involved in the creative process taking decisions. It removes a certain context. It’s important that clients can come in and see where we work and what we are doing – that they get the sense that we are actually creating and building things here.”


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