Some Days’ Steve Reinmuth on embracing remote work, staying small and pushing positive messages
Based between California and New York, Some Days is a creative studio focusing on ideas, brands and experiences for companies big and small, from global giants such as Nike and Converse to innovative start-ups like Cove and Faculty. To find out more about them and the work they do, we caught up with Founder & Creative Director Steve Reinmuth.
EM Hey Steve, how are you?
SR Doing well.
EM It might just be because you don’t show any work on your site, but the studio feels like a bit of an enigma. Is that at all intentional?
SR That’s due to a number of reasons, but not driven by a desire to feel like an enigma. I’ve always admired studios, companies, and people that let the work do the talking so I think that is rooted in what the studio has become. If the work is good, people will notice, or at least we hope. But there is also time, which is a big piece of it. You’ve probably noticed that in the time it took me to have this interview! Haha. We are a small team and we’ve been lucky to be very busy since the studio started almost four years ago. We haven’t had much downtime in between projects and when we do we’ve spent that time away from work with family and friends. Like-minded clients and collaborators have found us through the work that we have shared on social media or through personal relationships which has been great. Having no work on our site has allowed us to have natural conversations about the capabilities and work of the studio instead of potential clients assuming what we can and cannot do.
If the work is good, people will notice, or at least we hope.
EM What made you want to start your own studio?
SR It was always what I wanted to do. I spent time at a lot of different places from small boutique studios, to large brand agencies to working in-house and when I got to the point where I was ready for the challenge I made the jump. All of these different jobs gave me a clear idea of what I wanted out of a studio.
EM Who’s on the team at Some Days?
SR Our current team is Inva Çota (Design Director), Andy Liang (Designer), Caitlin Reinmuth (Studio Director) and myself (Founder & Creative Director). In addition to Creative Direction, I’m also a hands-on designer. We also occasionally have an intern and we regularly collaborate with a lot of people on a project basis all over the world. Our team is split between California and New York.
EM Do you prefer being the designer or the Creative Director?
SR Both haha. That’s why I want to keep the studio small to always have a piece of the making, even if it is not on every project. There is that weird thing where the longer you are working in any career you get further away from the reason you started doing it. I’m trying to avoid that to some degree. I’m extremely happy while designing, and get a different satisfaction around directing and letting the team do their thing. Designing also helps you understand the work you are directing which is really important to me.
I’ve always found the best work comes from a bit of freedom.
EM How did you come up with the name Some Days?
SR I’ve always been fascinated by time and the ways that we spend it. It naturally sprung out of that idea. Our lives are just a collection of days. We spend so much of them working and in a way, it is a challenge to ourselves to make sure we are spending it doing something we love. I wanted the studio to feel varied touching all aspects; strategy, campaign, visual identity, design systems and more. Each of those activities have a different feeling and is a different way we spend our time. Art directing a shoot with a large crew and tons of personalities is a much different day than nuancing the details of a logotype but they inform each other. I also wanted there to be an openness and flexibility that allows for the best work but also life to happen. So the name came from that too. I’ve always found the best work comes from a bit of freedom. Ideas are extremely crucial to the way we work and the best come from life experiences. Going on a walk, travelling, meeting new people, and having a night out are very valuable things to do even if it is on a Tuesday.
EM How has the studio, and the work you do, evolved since you started out?
SR Projects have grown, and the studio has grown from one (me) to four, but we’ve kept the same spirit from when it started. We’ve taken on more work and we collaborate with far more people than we did at the start. We’ve always been fascinated with how you can stretch a project across mediums and have those expand into more motion and video work. As we’ve grown we’ve been able to take on more passion projects for causes we believe in, which is something I want the studio to do more of.
The team was originally just located in the Bay Area and now half of the team is in New York. We’ve embraced remote work with collaborators since we started and have gone fully in that direction since COVID. It aligns with the freedom and openness I’ve always strived for.
EM Which projects do you think best reflect the studio’s DNA?
SR We don’t pretend graphic design changes the world but we do think spending our time doing things that can push positive messages into the world is valuable. We get extremely excited when we can make something that visually excites us and is doing some good. One of our early projects was the brand and campaign for Cove, a super-ambitious company trying to reduce single-use plastic bottles through biodegradable material innovation. That was a perfect example of that. We love clients that view the world through this optimistic lens and are ready to challenge things. Our work for the meditation studio Open, our work for Faculty as well. Challenging societal norms of masculinity with an exciting brand was a blast. When we can, our Nike projects touch on this same spirit. We are currently working on projects for criminal justice organisations, microdosing psychedelics, rebranding a category for Nike, and evolving a fashion brand with a larger focus on sustainability and positive impact. All of those hit the mark of what we want to be doing.
We don’t pretend graphic design changes the world.
EM Does the way you work differ between projects for established brands like Nike and start-ups like Faculty?
SR For the most part, the mentality is the same. We are trying to create something visually and verbally distinct that will grab your attention but also last. What really differs are the timelines or the amount of people that need to approve the work. When we are defining an entire start-up brand like Faculty it is a longer but more intimate process whereas our work for Nike is usually really fast, but needs approval by lots of stakeholders. The work for established brands and start-ups are usually happening at the same time and inform each other.
EM What do you find makes for a nice working environment?
SR Passion, flexibility, kindness, humility and optimism for the work. We imparted a four day work week, when possible, over a year ago. We can’t pull it off every week, and it comes with its own challenges, but it’s something we strive to do when we can. Those days off are used to explore, catch up, recharge, or whatever else team members want to do to stay inspired. We try to give people freedom to work the way they like to work, from wherever they want to work and try to be supportive of each other.
EM With the team working remotely and across different cities, how do you stay organised and keep projects on track?
SR We use typical project management tools, do a daily standup with a digital whiteboard, chat over Slack, and Zoom and just keep the communication going. Trust and space to create are both huge.
EM What would you like Some Days to look like in five years?
SR I’m quite happy with the way things are at the moment so I’d love to sustain that. I’d love to have even more projects we are super passionate about, a few more people, more time away. I have a list of dream clients and projects and I’d love to check those off.