Regular Practice on new ideas, new approaches and the thinking behind their elegant new website
London-based design studio Regular Practice is constantly evolving, having been approximated by Co-founders Tom Finn and Kristoffer Sølling during their studies at the Royal College of Art in 2016; going on to be named within It’s Nice That’s ‘Ones to Watch’ in 2019. Now a multi-faceted team working across a variety of industries, the next stage of their journey is marked by an elegant and thoughtful new website – providing a home for the projects and processes that represent the studio’s evolution.
EM Congrats on the site launch! What triggered the change?
TF We’ve had an influx of projects in all shapes and sizes, and felt we needed new ways of showcasing and highlighting the qualities of the projects. It also marks a shift of gears for Regular Practice from being a micro-studio to becoming a (relatively) larger team. We wanted to start putting a few more words to some of our projects as we felt they deserved it, and so a new environment for all of those considerations seemed the best option.
EM What would you like people to understand about you as a result of the new site?
TF That our creative remit is constantly evolving and that we are able to be involved with brands both before and after the design phase. That is what we’ve grown into, even if we never really explicitly planned to do so.
EM The About page talks about your "playful yet carefully considered" approach. Can you expand on what you mean by that?
TF We think it’s really important to challenge prejudice and preconceived notions about how brands should operate. To propose aesthetics and choices that are perhaps not totally in the wheelhouse of what feels familiar, but to then also back those up with really rigorous exploration.
We wanted to start putting a few more words to some of our projects as we felt they deserved it.
EM What have been your greatest lessons learnt since starting the studio?
TF There’s been so many – that’s really an impossible question to answer fairly. It would have to be what we’ve learned about ourselves. We’ve lived with the studio for four years now, we are on our 3rd website and our 3rd studio space, having recently moved to Broadway Market in London. A lot has happened, in what we can now see is a really short amount of time.
We had a certain world view, an attitude and expectations for how things might pan out, but never an elaborate master plan for the studio. The types of work, its scope and its challenges are so different now from when we set out. We are actually happily surprised by experiencing challenges and situations that we never expected, much less planned, to encounter. That’s also what’s kept it so interesting.
EM What do you think you’re particularly good at, as a studio?
TF Our approach has always been driven through a certain attitude to type and its application. It’s a key element that we never get tired of exploring – if we’re very serious and rational about type for a period of time, we need to be a bit silly and playful with it for a period afterwards. We can distil a lot through the forms of type, it carries across materials and mediums, and it’s a really powerful place to harness and play with codes and connotations.
Similarly our favourite projects often very involve particular outputs, something that really gets us excited because we can derive so much design approach from it, constraints are always great to have, and really fun to plan for. How we can work with new project-specific methods, coming up with new structures for design to take place in.Lastly, we build strong relationships with our clients. Because we get involved in the earliest conception phase of projects and see them through often to tangible objects, we go through journeys with our clients over a period of many months, sometimes years. We care about what we do and work with people who are the same about what they are doing, through this, we build long-lasting relationships with great people.
We build long-lasting relationships with great people.
EM And what could you be better at?
TF Bit of a non-answer, but we could be better at pretty much everything we do. We’re always trying to figure out how to improve the process. That’s part of the job. The things we’re doing now we weren't doing six months ago in many cases, so what makes us want to come to work every day is the ability to do new things and see the progression in them. That’s also the measure of success in many ways, of how the studio is doing, whether we have moved from a year ago, from six months ago, from last month.
EM How challenging has it been to grow the team and find the right people? Do you have a team size you'd like to get to?
TF Working as a team has been a totally different means of operating than a micro-studio. That’s certainly an area where we have learned a lot in a short amount of time. There’s principally no particular size we are aiming for, the main consideration is that our team can deliver the diverse type of projects we’d like to work on. We are mostly designers as of right now, but could easily see us bringing in people with adjacent skill sets, as the nature of our work shifts in a more branding oriented direction.
EM Do you have a project you consider to be your best work?
TF We generally find that our most recent piece of work is what we’re the happiest about, as so much of creative work is reflecting on one's past efforts and learning from that, the cumulative effect of being able to continuously sharpen the underlying ideas around work and output is a darling of ours.
EM How do you typically find new clients?
TF New business is a bit of a moving target, and something we’ve been working on more over the last few years, both of course to generally scale up the types of work we’ve been doing, but also to project to the types of people that we think we would work well with. More than just making the work we are doing, which should aid in new work coming in, as well as word of mouth, we’ve also attempted some more deliberate interventions.
RP In Review, which is now in its third instalment, is an example of this. The first two instalments featured off-cuts of letters that were unused in branding projects, acting like a kind of cutting room floor for the works completed over that period of time. The third more recent instalment, we worked with photographer Nicolas Polli and writer Dal Choda to bring together the written word with arresting visuals, a meditation in bespoke print on what role brands, and the objects they produce play in our ‘new normal.’
These act as a very deliberate means of projecting the work we want to be doing (we think) The first/second to third In-Review is quite a good synopsis of the way the studio has developed over the past few years.
Our most recent piece of work is what we’re the happiest about.
EM Do you have a formula to judge if clients are a good fit for you before the project starts?
TF I think the process is very similar to the way clients judge whether we are a good fit. We always have an introductory call before we put a proposal together, both to gather more information to aid in that process, but also to check whether it’s a good overall fit. We’re looking out for red flags in the same way I’m sure they are – if they’re clearly doing something else during the conversation, or have very little time to give, both of those are pretty clear indicators. As mentioned elsewhere, we care about what we do for people and we invest a lot of energy into it. We want to work with people who reciprocate that as well.
EM You've dabbled in type design for various projects. Is that an area you would like to pursue commercially in the future?
TF We are working on client projects in collaboration with type designers right now – but if you are talking about a storefront where we would sell typefaces to other designers then there are no plans for that. Currently, we’re more interested in planning tools and approaches for idiosyncratic use rather than for a general marketplace.
EM What are you hoping 2022 will look like for Regular Practice?
TF We’ve been working more internationally, so we are hoping to be able to get out and meet many of our collaborators in the new year.