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Designing an Environment for Creativity: A Behind-the-Scenes Tour of My Studio

Home Studio Tour

“One of the greatest necessities… is to discover creative solitude.” – Carl Sandburg

When it comes to creativity, or really anything productive, environment is everything. The sounds, smells, and space you surround yourself with are incredibly important to fostering the mindset needed to accomplish.

As a business owner, I’ve also found that the environment you create is a direct reflection of your brand.

That’s why, when I moved from an external design studio to one within my own home, I took special care to make it exactly what I needed to reflect Harris Studios and to perform at my best.

Today, I’d like to take you on a tour of what that looks like:

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1. A clean, tidy desk

I work on design projects for a variety of clients, meaning I need space both mentally and physically to dream up different concepts and visions for each project. My desk serves as the place where the design happens, and keeping my desk clean save a few necessary, deliberate items – my Wacom tablet, fresh fruit, and beautiful flowers – gives me that space. If creativity thrived on clutter, life might be easier — but then, it wouldn’t be as fun, right?

2. Ambiance

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I am so incredibly fortunate to work out of my 1800’s post and beam-style home, where accents like this fireplace adorn several rooms. There’s nothing like the crackle of a wood fire during the cold winter months, or the sound of the breeze coming through the front door during the warm summer. Setting the tone in the room is so important to my mood, and being comfortable allows me to create freely. My office mascot, Banks — also my walking buddy — is a frequent visitor, and enjoys the ambiance, as well.

3. Space for what you love

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All work and no play makes for a tough day. For me, painting is my passion. It fuels my inner artist and largely influences my design work. That’s why it was absolutely imperative that I create a space for painting within my home office. For you, this space may look like a reading nook; a set of workout equipment; a ping-pong table. Making space for what you love will inspire your work in ways you can’t even imagine — I promise you that.

4. The little details

I firmly believe in making your space your own, as you can tell. This goes down even to the small details. Whether you’re in a tiny office cubicle or sprawled out on a spacious deck overlooking the ocean, it’s the little details — the photos you hang up, the quotes you write down, the special tokens that remind you of places and people you choose to display — that make the space yours. For me, I also include many fun art supplies, books, and interesting pieces I have picked up on my journey that may serve as inspiration or subject matter at some point. They remind me that an integration of creativity, focus, work and play are imperative to a successful business and balanced life.

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“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.” – Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

Just as Virginia Woolf believed all women should have a room of one’s own to create and succeed, I truly believe that each and every entrepreneur and individual should put careful thought into designing the space they occupy to make it a place that fosters creativity, inspiration, and comfort.

Our best work comes when we’re in a space that allows for it. What does that space look like for you?

Is Your Brand Feeling Blue?

Beat the winter blues

The winter doldrums have officially set in here in the Northeast. As the snow extends well into February (and likely March…), it’s easy to start feeling, well… blue.

Feeling blue is the pits. Fortunately, I’ve found ways to combat that myself — by rekindling my love of skiing! — but I’m here today to tell you this: blue isn’t always so bad.

You see, blue is one of the most common colors found in branding. (You did know that’s where I was going, didn’t you?) It’s for good reason, too: blue also happens to be the most well-liked color amongst men and women the world over.

So what role can blue play for your brand?

I’d never wish for anyone to feel blue, but blue in your brand can be pretty spectacular. You see, there’s a reason successful, longstanding companies like Facebook, Allstate, and PayPal primarily use blue in their branding.

In general, blue is the color of intellect and communication. It represents trust, dependability, transparency, and safety.

It’s popular in corporate America (think: banking, insurance, medicine) for that reason. These companies want (and need!) to promote trust, dependability, and safety.

Of course, there’s more to it. Color is powerful, which also makes it complex. Different shades of blue will evoke different emotions, making the choice of the right shade crucial to activating the right feelings in the minds of your potential customers. Here are a few examples:

– A pale blue represents creativity, freedom, and inspiration.

– A soft sky blue emits feelings of calm, selflessness and helpfulness.

Azure blue stands for determination, purpose, and ambition.

Dark blue inspires responsibility, reason, and knowledge.

Paying attention to the shade of blue makes it versatile. It’s why blue works well for corporate America, but it can also work equally as well for a massage therapist running a small business out of his/her home.

If you doubt the importance of these nuances, remember this: color is one of the most important and powerful aspects of your brand. This isn’t just my humble opinion. Research shows that it takes just 90 seconds for a customer to form an opinion about a product — and 62-90% of that interaction is determined by color alone.

Consider the emotions you want to evoke from your potential customers when they see your brand. Does blue work for you?

Back to those pesky winter blues

It’s always around this time of year that we could use a little brightening up. For me, beating the winter blues means getting outside for some fresh, crisp winter air on the slopes and soaking up some sun and exercise in the process. For you, that might mean a cozy book, a bowl of popcorn, and a fireplace.

For your brand? It means taking a look at the colors in your palette and how they’re used throughout your brand to inspire your clients to feel how you want them to. You never know — perhaps your brand needs to feel a little more blue!

Learn more about the effect of color in your brand with my handy What Does Your Brand Say? workbook, and when you’re ready, get in touch to set up a complimentary Brand Clarity Call.

Meanwhile, I’ll see you on the slopes!