To think over 10 months have passed since our last post and we made our shift to working in a different way – time certainly is flying this year. Well it feels like a good time to give an update on how things have been going for us.
During this time we've found some good insights in how working in a more collaborative way, without the old ties of studio life, can be beneficial and we hope to be able to pass on some knowledge to others who are thinking of going down a different path.
We definitely see a shift within our industry to this kind of working, I feel we'll be saying goodbye to the way agencies are run and structured. Instead we'll be focusing on the talents of individuals, and the core way of working will be based on cooperation rather than competition.
"If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten."
For us, it's definitely been a time of transition (or as I like to think, transformation) and adjusting to our new way of working. The first few months were all about creating our new studio space (more on that below) and continuing with our on-going projects.
A big part of the shift was to work solely with freelancers, rather than have a fixed team, and so far it's gone really well. We've continued to work with some of our previous team and we've also mixed in a handful of other freelancer designers/developers to keep things fresh. And I've been practising my craft again as a designer, which got put on the back burner for the last few years.
Gone are the days where we all need to be sat around the same desk to brief in and scope out projects. With tools like Slack & Skype we are only a moment away from connecting with our remote team, and by using file hosting service Dropbox it allows us to share and sync files easily with our team of freelancers.
To no longer have a fixed team has brought its challenges along the way, for instance super tight deadlines on sizeable projects require more planning, but it does mean we can now change up our team each time depending on the brief rather than just using in-house skills. This intuitive way of working is much more up our street and it gives us the flexibility to expand our team for periods of time on bigger projects, and then in quieter times it can be just Ruth & myself teaming up.
New Studio Space
It took us just over a month to do all the building work in our loft space and then another month or so to fit it all out – we've kept some links too with Islington Mill by teaming up with master craftsman Kev at Workroom Industries to create our bespoke ladder and furniture.
Our journey to work now is just a few short steps up a ladder compared to driving over half an hour to work each morning. We are now saving around 30 hours per month in travel time, that's almost a typical working week which is crazy when you think about it – I joke to my friends I could be the size of Arnie in his prime if I spent that time in the gym! Seriously though, that extra time we've got back can't be understated.
We are shaking up the way we work too, breaking free of the typical 9-5 model and being more flexible with our approach. We are still experimenting with what works best, but our average day now looks more like 6 hours and we typically work a 4-day week.
To travel and work in different locations for a few months on end will be the next big step for us. We feel very fortunate to work in an industry that means we don't have to be fixed to one location, as long as we have a laptop and wifi connection we can be anywhere in the world. And now we no longer have the outgoings and commitment of keeping a full-time studio running, we'll be able to explore this avenue more in the coming months.
What we've been working on...
We've been beavering away with projects for the likes of the ECB, Premier League & NHS since the turn of the year. The biggest project has been our work on the Get the Game On campaign for the ECB – seeing it expand across many different strands.
We've also launched a new app at the beginning of the year aimed at educating teenagers around sexual health – this was a brilliant one to work on as we teamed up with the teenagers to help them bring their idea to life, and it's been great to see it's had many thousands of downloads since its launch.
Make Work Play
Now we've made the shift it has allowed us to work on some exciting projects of our own. After working on over 1,000 projects for practically every target audience, we felt it was high time we applied that experience to developing some of our own products.
We've always enjoyed the children's projects the most over the years as it's allowed us to tap into our inner child and be more playful with our approach. We also feel really strongly about educating the next generation so our aim is to launch new ventures with this in mind.
Another project we've got in the mix is the Bed Buds. This is a series of animal themed children's duvet sets with the aim of encouraging kids to use their imagination by dreaming up their own stories and journeys with their favourite creatures before bedtime.
Another aim for project is to challenge the gender stereotyping within children's toys that is rife in this day and age, and to also softly educate kids on how we can preserve animal habitats around the world.
One thing thing that's always been present in our time with Raw has been teaming up with great illustrators, and we've continued that trend with this project by teaming up with the super talented Spencer Wilson to create the illustrations.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did.”
Making the shift has been challenging that is for sure – it wasn't an easy process saying goodbye to our old way of working and the relationships we left behind. Reflecting back on it now a few months in, honestly, it's turning out to be one of the best decision we've made.
The freedom it's given us to work how and when we want, and to travel more means we are now feeling more fulfilled with the path we are on. Sometimes in life we just have to take that leap into the unknown, follow your excitement and trust it will all work out for you. For us, so far, so good...