Studio Culture Week- Visit two, Aboud Creative

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Books, books and more books!!
Books, books and more books!!

Luxury. Fashion. Photography.

Upon walking into Aboud creative studio I was instantly excited upon the incredible amount of books assembled on bookcases that acted as walls separating three areas of the room. The lead creator of this studio was named Alan with whom we spoke with towards the end of the visit. First thing I did was photograph the collection of colourful spines and accumulated pieces of art. This studio immediately appealed to me with its instant character and energy, it was what I call ‘Old school’ . Instead of relying on the internet, Alan likes to encourage the use of using books as reference, his collection goes well into the thousands, accumulated over twenty years. Alan commented on how he doesn’t like to look at the contemporary design world for inspiration as designs will become just iterations and copies, he utilises the sources within the studio that are almost all dated backwards to the seventies and fifties in design. I adored this idea of looking to the old to create the new and I instantly knew I wanted to build a source archive of books within our studio. it made the studio self sufficient in my eyes, as they had all the things they needed inside the labyrinth of books.

The Aboud’s work for Paul smith was brilliant, in particular the no crease suit campaign they took on in which they used an Olympic gymnast to promote the durability and ability of the suit to remain non creased even after strenuous activity is applied on the suit. The video footage of a gymnast wearing the suit during a routine on the pummel horse was simply stunning and as an idea, I thought was so well thought out and choreographed. The majority of Abouds work boasted luxurious brands, and the studio itself was not immensely high tech, it was quite the opposite other than the mac products, but this contradiction in tones was incredibly interesting to me and worked well. My initial ideas of the studio was this clean white, extremely sharp and modern studio space that deals with high fashion clients, and the Aboud studio was much less imposing in a positive way,  immensely inviting and laid back.

From the Aboud Creative studio I took away this sense that the design industry is so digitally steered with emphasis on pristine and high tech creating, but there are still studios functioning as what could be considered ‘lo-fi’ in its interior and environment. But this is what interest me as a designer, I strive to want a studio of my own day that is a juxtaposition of technology and pen on paper creating. Although the fashion emphasis of the Aboud studio did not intrigue me visually, I enjoyed the ethos and the feel of the studio more than the first visit. To take away from this studio for me would be for my group studio to consider that digital means of sourcing imagery and information should not be used as first option, it should be used after combing through artist books and such for that real hands on research which I feel has become a forgotten process of making. An enjoyable one at that.

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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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