Studio Culture Week! Studio Visit to Sainsbury’s Digital Lab

Studios. We have to see as many creative studios as possible during our final year and splitting up into our own studio groups,we ventured into the London jungle in search of these prominent studios and their pioneering creatives!

Sainsbury’s Digital Lab

“A USER INTERFACE IS LIKE A JOKE, IF YOU HAVE TO EXPLAIN IT, IT’S NOT THAT GOOD”

Nestled in the basement of a gigantic building sits the Sainsbury’s Digital Lab. I ventured down into the mezzanine of the lab which had standing desks in the landing leading from each separate ‘glass island’, as I named them. The environment was modern, pristine and sterile and this was only down to the fact that the space itself was new, only recently built and the designers were just settling into their new digs. The mezzanine looked over a lower level filled with separate desks, all loaded with mac computers and post it notes everywhere. Immediately I felt the creative buzz of ideas and conversations happening all around, it was a clean working space and that to me was key in helping breed good work. The User Experience team leaders lead my studio group into a meeting room where the walls were made of glass. I loved that! Being able to see everyone creates this open community of workers, nothing is kept away, it was very collaborative in its interior design and that to me is very effective for creating an effective studio space. We spoke to creatives who worked with creating the digital app for Sainsburys grocery shopping, just an example of one of their projects, and they agreed that having works of inspiration and sketches on a wall was great for inspiring new ideas and thinking. This is an aspect that I want to implement in my studio Empathy & Enterprise. The talk was interesting but was very much based on digital design and creating interfaces, websites and apps. Although this did not interest me as much for I am not crazy about digital work, I was amazed at how much design thinking, research, prototyping, refining and making was involved in creating interfaces. The sheer size of research they do when coming to an idea is phenomenal. One of the creatives, Steve, gave a talk about creating a website and the components that make a good website or design, specifically digitally aimed but also can be applied to all design in my opinion.

Visual language – consistency in your design will build familiarity.

Grids– When working on screen grids are essential for layout and structure

Type– Goof typography can completely tip the tone of voice of your work-website, it can gives character and clarity in reading

Colour– Colour aids in continuity of elements while maintaining the personality of the brand, Steve remarked how having a limited palette is an advantage as sometimes having every colour at your finger tips can be bewildering. Looking at some of the most iconic brands they use a small selection of colours such as Facebook is blue and white, McDonald’s is red and yellow. Sometimes less is more.

Hierarchy– highlights what elements a user should be using-but in design it directs the line of sight as to where the user or viewer should look first.

I asked the team creatives if they had a studio philosophy, a mantra specific to their studio and they are yet to finish there ethos which they did say would be a bullet point list of ideals they want the studio to stand for. But personally they all said that their own personal ideals were that every idea is a good idea and that collaboration and having everyone involved was important to the creative process.

Overall I enjoyed the talk and particularly the space they were working in because of how the clean interiors seemed perfect for breeding creativity with so many blank walls that were to be filled up as they settled into their space. Also a vinyl sticker and mural that was adorned on the first wall you see entering the basement lab was great, and already spoke a volume about the community hidden underneath a mountain of suits upstairs. I felt the studio was a good working studio but not to my personal taste in work as I am not too infused with the digital world of website and interface creating, that part was not to my taste, but as a collective studio I feel the Digital Lab is going to create some amazing things for the entire Sainbry’s chain.

The mezzanine of Sainsburys Digital Lab was wonderfully designed, and the interconnecting balcony work areas boasted a community of collaborative designers which is a fundamental key to good design.
The mezzanine of Sainsburys Digital Lab was wonderfully designed, and the interconnecting balcony work areas boasted a community of collaborative designers which is a fundamental key to good design.

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Glass walls added a modern and very communal vibe to the studio, everything was seen.
Glass walls added a modern and very communal vibe to the studio, everything was seen.
interior wall design for one of the many the meeting rooms.
Interior wall design for one of the many the meeting rooms.

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The User Experience Team talk
The User Experience Team talk We have to see as many creative studios as possible during our final year and splitting up into our own studio groups,we ventured into the London jungle in search of these prominent studios and their pioneering creatives!

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