Each is an integral part of any client-facing business, whether it be a small agency that only requires one or two of these roles or a large company that requires multiple individuals in each area of creative and resource management.
Can you study to be a Studio Manager? It depends on which direction you want to take. If you are more creative and want to be hands-on in the creative process you can study Graphic Design and work your way up the ladder into Studio Management, Art Direction or a Senior Designer role depending on a company’s needs. Design management courses provide skills on how to foster great client relationships, creating and implementing workflow management processes and setting and maintaining budgets. Bite the bullet and get yourself a bit of both on the CV, it will benefit you in your understanding of design and processes and will give you that edge towards the job success victory dance.
Design and Creative Direction – if you come from a design background and the structure of a company requires it, you may also work on the creative side assisting with design and providing creative direction.
Most importantly, the Studio Manager provides support to the team and a point of call to funnel information between client and studio. Without this integral role, much of the management of a project falls on a designers’ shoulders, allowing less time for the creative design and artworking itself. Being a personable character is also an important trait of a Studio Manager. Does the team want to work with an unsupportive task manager with zero empathy and a chip on their shoulder? No. It’s about teamwork in creative, and a happy studio makes for an enjoyable work environment, increased productivity and an all-round warm fuzzy feeling.
Of course, as with any role, there are challenges – learning to say ‘no’ but providing an alternative, understanding and navigating client team politics, and balancing individuals wants and needs on a professional and personal level. There are by no means a single set of rules or best practices that project and studio managers can whip out and refer to. It all comes down to communication, respect and teamwork, constantly re-evaluating processes and learning how to balance constraints and freedoms to achieve the best end result.
Stephanie Leak is Studio Manager at NU Creative, specialists in design and branding.
NU Creative have been supporting people like HIREWORKS, Enfield Council and Ed Broking with their design projects. We are passionate about creating truly stand out designs for our clients. Get in touch to find out how we can help you evolve.