INSIDE THE STUDIO: BRUCE MAU DESIGN
WNW recently spoke to Andrew Clark, director of the new Bruce Mau Design office in Los Angeles. After working in BMD's Chicago and Toronto offices, Andrew's now tasked with transporting BMD's exceptional culture to Southern California. But Andrew sees LA as a vibrant and inspiring environment that can only benefit the new office. Currently, he and the design team are driving the brand design and touch-points for Sonos.
Describe Bruce Mau Design in 3 words.
Diverse, Collaborative, Immersive
You've just moved to LA. What are your impressions of LA's design/creative landscape so far?
LA is awesome. This is a city with a legacy of combining design, creativity and entertainment. You can see it everywhere you go: fly postings, nostalgic store signage, galleries, architecture, street art, music and movies. Everywhere you go there’s creative inspiration.
What's the vibe of the LA office? How does it compare to being in BMD's New York and Toronto offices?
We’re figuring our vibe out right now. Everyone in the studio has the responsibility to shape the studio’s culture. Our team is mostly transplants, who bring with them a real diversity of experience, skill and culture. BMD in general has a long history of bringing together people from all over the world with diverse backgrounds, and in our experience, that diversity leads to really interesting creative outputs. We also hope to infuse a little bit of the Canadian spirit here, which I think fits nicely with a laid-back California attitude. I also hope our LA office has an envious work-life balance; I’d love if our designers were out surfing before they come into the office. And obviously we’re all really nice.
What aspects of BMD's culture do you hope to infuse in the LA office?
The ones that create great work and an irresistible studio environment, those I’m importing in bulk. Listening is important. We believe in team-based work. Everyone has their own ‘superpower’ if you will, but it’s the mash-ups that create the really interesting results, and we often get there by really listening to eachother and our clients. We’re highly collaborative. We’re radically visual. We’re constantly surrounded by the work. We pin up the work everywhere so it surrounds us. We think through problems with sticky notes and sharpies. We’ve incorporated all of that in LA.
Also, BMD Toronto has an extensive library, and we’re building our LA library quickly. I’ve asked Alec Donovan, a senior designer who came from Toronto, to be our cultural attaché and he’s taking this very seriously.
What is it like working with teams on the east coast? What does that collaboration process look like?
I see more sunrises than I expected being on EST calls! While the process of collaboration is ultimately the same, we’re finding new ways to communicate in real-time. Technology is key. Skype replaces looking over a teammate’s screen. Box.com replaces a traditional server system to share working files. I know when a deadline approaches, we appreciate the extra 3 hours in the day from coast to coast.
What qualities are most important in a prospective freelancer?
Perspective, Passion, Professionalism
If you were stranded on a desert island, with your computer, what 3 websites would you take with you?
Any tips or advice for freelancers?
Seth Godin recently wrote not to send your resume, and I somewhat agree. Instead, send me a well crafted two paragraph or less cover letter why we both could learn something new together.