Jay Manahan: design agency whore

I briefly headed the marketing and sales of a graphic design, web, and animation firm. They have since retained me to help them with their marketing content.

One thing I liked about this design studio was that they got a "show, don't just tell" way of doing things.

To them, Agency Culture was not just a fluffy idea but a concrete house with floors, ceilings, walls, and a beachside backyard. I mean literally.

Even the handles on their glass doors were carved, painted incarnations of their logo.

And I thought these physical manifestations of their culture were the coolest things about working with them:

  1. Indie artistic interiors
  2. DIY wall art
  3. Speakeasy-type lighting
  4. Coworkers who were always up to something cool
  5. Public jams
  6. An easy dress code
  7. A sandy, saltwater backyard

Then there's little old me shamelessly waxing prosaic about it:

Top Cool Things About Working in a Design Outsourcing Firm

The significance of culture in creative services organizations (agencies and such) is highly storied, almost . There is a Loch Ness of a belief that an organizational culture that fosters creativity and uniqueness-however that may be accomplished-almost ensures quality output for clients' campaigns, alignment with clients' brands, and fresh supply of the most talented creatives and techies.

In short, if you want a thriving, creative culture, the reflective Walt Whitman in me advises:

  • Practice, don't preach. Better to show culture concretely, instead of just tell it.
  • Go DIY. It engages your team. After all, culture is a DIY thing.
  • Think about details. Such as lighting. Or door knobs. Or floor swirls. It will give your workplace some character.

For what is organizational culture anyway but the spirit of workplace character?