Five essential tips for settling in and excelling at a design studio, with London’s Studio NARI
It’s a time for new tasks, new colleagues, and a new work fit. Whether you’re a new grad making your first few strides in the industry, or are a seasoned studio-dweller, the initial few weeks in a new job can be equally exciting and challenging as you adapt to a new environment and strive to make an excellent first impression. When working with new employees, most employers will be clear and fair with their expectations early on, and communicate this as such. Still, it never hurts to get some first-hand advice directly from studios. To understand how designers can smoothly transition into a new role and chart a path to success, we spoke to Joe Osborne, Co-founder & Director of London-based design practice Studio NARI, who generously shared five handy tips for newly hired individuals to bear in mind.
Immerse yourself in the studio’s process
“In the first month, we’re not setting the bar sky-high for performance,” Osborne explains. “We understand it’s a mix of excitement and perhaps a bit of nerves, so it’s mostly about finding your footing in the studio.” While it can be demanding to acclimate to a new workplace and hit the ground running, what Studio NARI appreciates is a readiness to dive in. “This can be as simple as showing genuine interest in your teammates’ work, grasping the bigger picture of our process, or understanding the schedule beyond your allocated projects,” he continues. Each studio has its own unique way of working, and understanding how projects flow, the particular roles of each of the team members, and the overall schedule is crucial.
There’s no perfect timeline for settling in
As Osborne points out, everyone’s journey is unique, so there’s no set metric to measure if someone is settling in fast enough. “We’ve chosen you for a reason, having seen qualities we value and believe in,” he notes. In return, the studio hopes a new employee will be open to learning and adapting to new challenges. “If you genuinely care about the studio and your craft, it’s noticed, and everything else will naturally fall into place with time.”
Build connections with colleagues
Design is a highly collaborative field, and your ability to work well with others not only impacts the synchronicity of the studio but also your own day-to-day work and efficiency as a creative. However, jumping into a new team with unfamiliar processes and a bunch of new faces and names to remember can be daunting. “We get that,” Osborne agrees. “That’s why we put a strong emphasis on helping newcomers mesh well with their colleagues.” According to the London-based practice, as much as new employees should look out to connect with their colleagues, studios themselves should take the lead on providing the right opportunities and spaces to encourage genuine interactions. This can be achieved through collaborative work settings and more casual hangouts, like team lunches or welcome drinks.
Embrace a positive attitude
As Studio NARI has touched upon, one of the best things a new employee can do is maintain an enthusiastic and positive mindset. “In the early stages,” Osborne emphasises, “what truly matters to us is attitude and effort rather than just hitting performance metrics.” Embrace feedback (both positive and constructive), ask questions, participate in discussions, and seek opportunities to actively contribute.
Stay true to yourself
While this may seem like a matter-of-fact, straightforward point, it’s worth highlighting. “We want everyone to be genuine and authentic,” adds Osborne. If there’s one thing Studio NARI would recommend to new starters, it’s to avoid pretending or trying to be someone you’re not just to fit in. Studios appreciate individuals who bring their own unique perspectives and talents to the team. After all, that’s why you were hired. “Just be yourself!”