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Flip-flops or Oxfords?

I just recently joined a new agency, and no matter how many times I’ve done so — the first few weeks are awkward and a little discomforting. After all, most of us spend as much time at work as we do at home, so the office surroundings is essentially our second home and family. It takes a little time to get used to the new office culture and feel at home.

Every office I’ve ever worked in has had a different vibe, a culture and attitude that’s pervasive in everything — from the way people dress, to the way people decorate their workspaces. Certainly, there are things that agencies and design firms have in common — let’s call it a “creative” culture. But there are also vast differences from firm to firm.

At the last Agency A that I worked at, the atmosphere was very professionally formal. People didn’t all wear suits everyday, but the dress code was definitely professional casual. We also had a managing director that felt strongly against visual clutter in the workspaces — so everyone received a small 2x3’ magnetic board in their space where they were allowed to post personal photos and decorations, and only there. The rest wasn’t as bad as it sounds, but the culture there was definitely more restricted and professional.

Now this new Agency B where I work is completely different. The new place feels like a daycare center compared to the old place. People come dressed in shorts, flip-flops, tshirts, whatever they’d like. Of course, anyone with meetings or pitches are more professionally dressed — but the culture is much less restrictive as evident in dress codes. Workspace-wise, everyone is allowed to decorate their workspace however they’d like — which is good and bad. There are spaces with cool knick-knacks and then there are spaces that look like a yard sale got dumped there. Music is also part of an office’s culture, and here it blasts from different speakers throughout the agency. This is definitely NOT the place to work if you need peace and quiet to concentrate.

So what’s the culture like where you work? Is it chaos or controlled? What else do you think contributes to a studio’s/agency’s culture? Is the culture a reflection of the type of work and clients that the office does, or is it the other way around?

For those who work in offices more akin to agency A, do you find it positive or negative to work in an office with a more disciplined/professional culture?

For those who work in offices more similar to agency B, what are your likes and dislikes about that type of agency culture?

Which grass is greener?

Maintained through our ADV @ UnderConsideration Program
PUBLISHED ON Jul.19.2005 BY Tan
Bradley’s comment is:


That's right. We have an ORANGE logo. ORANGE walls (with glossy black trim on the doorways! kill me now!). ORANGE marmoleum flooring (it is what it sounds like) in some areas. There's nothing like walking into the office one morning and seeing some dude painting a wall with a can that clearly says "color accent."

It's actually pretty funny. Ever since it was installed, the jam sessions which are becoming a regular fixture in the "open area," often laden with profanity and other relatively immature hijinx, have yielded better ideas and better work. We're a lot less predictable than we had been. And most of us have offices with doors that close, which you can either choose to keep very clean or do what's been done with mine, which is the complete opposite of "sane."

It's fun. Mainly because we're set up so that you determine what works best for you; we don't have very many rules or restrictions. That's probably more out of laziness and lack of interest in enforcing anything than it is out of a plan for the agency but...whatever. Everybody's happy.

The place I was at before this was just crowded. I didn't think it worked that well, at least not for me.

Our dress code is pretty lax, although I was recently used as an example of what not to do--which came down to basically not wearing ripped jeans all the time. Other than that, we're shorts & flip-flops through and throughout. We allow this, because people know when to dress well.

Our culture is a reflection of the new crop of folks who came in over the past 18 months; we'll see how long it holds up and what the long-term effects are.

On Jul.19.2005 at 12:28 PM
feelicks sockwl jr’s comment is:

I have to assume the former is Landor (restrictive, professional) and the new, latter is somewhere like Sandstrom (fun)?

I like Landor- have worked with them often- but I'm always cautious. Reason: lawyers. Case in point: working with JonSel several years ago on a MeadWestvaco ID, the art buyer couldnt whittle me down to a certain "rate". We both walked away fine, but only after senior management and legal staffers threatened me with, I dont know, "action". The only action taken was that JonSel had to mimick my style for the client! And the whole ordeal was over a few grand! Unbelieveble? No, just cheap.

"Restrictive, Professional" can mean "creative" however. I used to work as an art director at The Richards Group 10 years ago (they were deamed 7th in creativity by the Wall Street Journal) and we had to wear ties nearly every day.

On Jul.19.2005 at 12:29 PM
Jeremy Flint’s comment is:

I would say our office is controlled chaos. We can wear whatever we are comfortable in, which for me is usually jeans.

We are encouraged to decorate our spaces however we like, and music is encouraged.

On Jul.19.2005 at 12:33 PM
Tan’s comment is:

I agree, Felix. Professionally formal doesn't mean things are any less creative. It's just different.

And as far as your attire at the Richards Group — I think that's Texas in general. Houston was equally formal. I can't imagine wearing suits everyday in the Texas heat, but lots of people there do. Crazy.

On Jul.19.2005 at 12:36 PM
DesignMaven’s comment is:

Damn TAN, you've gone from owning your own business, to Managing Partner, consolidating your business with another. Sailed on the Ferryboat Klamath. The Largest Identity Consultancy in the World. To Creative Director of one of the most respected First Tier Ad Agencies in the Hemisphere.

What Gives !!!!

Send me the Particulars, Please.

Wish I had your Connect. I'm living and Dying in D.C. Who cares about Location when you got all the Money Bags on Capital Hill.


P.S. To answer your question. I much prefer Structured Environments. At work at least. At home I can recline as I wish.

Hey, I'll send you some SURF MUSIC to Blast on them Speakers at work.

Maybe Dick Dale, the Surfaris or The Ventures.

On Jul.19.2005 at 12:39 PM
szkat’s comment is:

i am overwhelmingly in favor of agency B... my first job out of college was the best - Wunderman Chicago is amazing - one of the group VP's came over and pretended to tear me a new one for not expressing myself enough in my cubicle. he came over and acted like i'd seriously done something wrong, then as he presented his case it just got funnier and funnier until he was in rare form, top of his lungs yelling. and i was only there to freelance for six months. i'd never felt so welcome at a firm, or so absolutely devoted to my co-workers. it was hard to leave. it felt like work and life had integrated.

my most recent job was a very sweet architecture firm, business attire. i started wearing my pumas and no one seemed to care, so i kept doing it, but i hated having to buy all new and better clothes just because i had a new job. i much prefer jeans and flip flops to pantyhose and button up blouses if i'm going to be sitting in one place for ten or fifteen hours in a day. i'm just not going to be one of those women who pack gym shoes and wear them with their nice skirts on the train home. it felt like it took work to go to work.

a job i had in between was a joke, i told them at the end of my trial period i'd rather be unemployed than keep working there. i thought i'd be an in-house designer, but it turned out to literally be in a house, at this man's kitchen table, sometimes helping his eight year old with her homework. his assistant literally showed up in fuzzy slippers. i hated it.

bottom line: i've totally decided my next job has to be all right with jeans and flip flops, be all right with music and personality and integration. work becomes where you live, it becomes in a sense where your life takes place... i think i need that sense of everyone's personality being present while maintaining a solid business structure.

On Jul.19.2005 at 12:48 PM
Joseph’s comment is:

What a great post for discussion! The agency I freelance at had eggshell colored walls (painted paneling circa 1970). It's a small firm and it was doing very bland work. Since I've been hired, the attitude in general has changed. I encouraged painting two walls a pumpkin orange to make the space look bigger and have more flare. Everyone, clients included, has complimented on the change. We're not held to any dress code, but i think people know what inappropriate would be. Music is a go. I got my boss listening to Boy Sets Fire, Snapcase and a lot of indie rock that he'd never heard of but actually likes.

My home studio is the exact same. I keep it very open and very free. My freelancers can wear what they want. The clients know what to expect. It's a great way to run a creative firm.

On Jul.19.2005 at 12:58 PM
feelicks sockwl jr’s comment is:

Dressing up for work, is silly, but yet in a way works- especially in conservative enviornment like Texas. Clients see that you take yourself (or rather, your job) seriously. You could- if you wanted- go straight to church or even a titty bar after the really improtant "POP/ Shelf-talker" meeting commences.

One client of mine in Dallas used to pay in $20 dances. After our meetings we had the habit of heading for the "gentleman's club" off Harry Hines Blvd. Months later I realised who was actually paying— me! They subtracted the "dance money" from my invoice and that was that. I never mentioned it never happened. There was a church right next door to the bar.

On Jul.19.2005 at 01:00 PM
Leif’s comment is:

The grass is definitely greener in the Agency B format since I am a believer in a less restrictive office structure. When I am sitting for 10 hours at a time, I would like to be comfortable in jeans and flip-flops rather than fussing about with a tie and dress shoes. It seems as though the less I have to think about my wardrobe during the day, the more I can concentrate on being creative.

The more restrictive and professional the office environment is, parallels with restricting creative thought.

On Jul.19.2005 at 01:02 PM
Sheepstealer’s comment is:

I once had a client tell me that one of the key factors in helping her decide to pick our agency was her tour of the office. She saw my collection of tiny VWs and my Beatles Royal Palladium poster (you know, the one where they're standing in a blue doorway) and thought, "That's the kind of creative person I want doing my work." Over the years she wound up being one of our top revenue-generating clients. To me the most valuable thing you can do as a designer is to be yourself. In the way you dress, the way you talk, and the way you create your surroundings.

If I'm a sneaker person and I land a job because of the one day I wear the wingtips, then I'm forced into wearing the wingtips for the rest of the client relationship.

I tell that story to tell you that our firm is very open to letting us be us, and I think it makes a big difference in how people feel at work. Most of the people I know here are very happy and very loyal.

On Jul.19.2005 at 01:09 PM
Tan’s comment is:

Maven — don't you know, I'm a design nomad. It does seem like I'm going for a record though. But I'm hoping that I've finally found a home at this new agency.

But this thread ain't about me — so back to topic.

What are other factors of an office's culture beside attire and office decorations?

What about language and conversation? Does the F-bomb and other swear words get dropped regularly during crits and conversation? Is it by you or by the boss — and is it openly accepted, or followed by awkward silence? What about talk around the water cooler? Is everything fair game for discussion, or are there taboo topics off limits for discussion — like politics or religion? If so, why and how does that affect the office tone?

On Jul.19.2005 at 01:36 PM
geeky’s comment is:

i work in an agency B type office, and love it. i've worked in more formal environments (though at a less creative job) and didn't care for it. i love being able to work in jeans if i want. we solve the competing music problem by having one computer to dump all of our MP3s on and play them at random. we're allowed to hang whatever we want in our offices (even demotivator posters), so long as it's doesn't involve giant holes in the walls. i feel more like me in this environment, but i can admit, sometimes it does make it hard to get motivated to do work in such a comfortable environment.

On Jul.19.2005 at 01:37 PM
Leif’s comment is:

The office that I currently work in has primarily younger workers in it, which I enjoy. Virtually nothing is taboo, we can swear (not too much), talk about politics, love life, come in hung-over (and mention it) and everything else. It does create a friendly atmosphere, that type of conversation. There is a down side though, sometimes co-workers can't differentiate and separate friendliness with office hierarchy. Meaning, some people cannot cope with being buddies with your boss. When are they truly upset or just playing around?

In the end, I would prefer the friendlier/casual environment to the up-tight corporate.

On Jul.19.2005 at 01:54 PM
ef’s comment is:

Hey everybody, that guy Leif is totally bogus, I know him! He irons his socks! HAHAHAHAHA!!!

Seriously, having been at various shades of oxfords and flip-flops, I have to say that leaning to the oxfords is a bit better for me and for getting work done. feelicks sockwl jr’s has a point about dealing with clients and projecting an image. While clients want creativity, they also want an assurance you're trustworthy on the business end. That assurance sometimes comes from seeing that there is a difference between work-time you and play-time you.

Perhaps my thoughts may also come from the places I have worked on the flip-flop side had a lot of folks who got too relaxed and didn't get anything done and never saw the issue with that.

P.s. I also don't like the sounds flip-flops make when walking...that flwap,flwap,flwap... ugh. ;)

On Jul.19.2005 at 02:07 PM
darrel’s comment is:

Places I've worked:

- a 50+ firm was business casual. The odd tie. But, a nice office.

- Second gig...an old letterpress printing studio on the roof of an old wearhouse. Shaved once a week, always wore sandles, shorts, t-shirt. Threw pants when we had t meet with someone. LP player in the corner always cranked (had to hear it over the printing presses). Found furniture. Crap stacked everywhere. Hours widely flexible. Roof access.

- 3rd gig. Same as above, but a trendier office. Lots of eames furniture. Loonnnngggg lunches.

- current gig. Government job. Wear what you want, but no shorts. Management is trying to enact a dress code for no apparent reason other than that's what management does.

Of those places, I'm a t-shirt/sandles guy. In fact, at the second place I worked at, a lot of our clients came to us BECAUSE of our office. They saw it as such a drastic change from their cubicle offices that they'd actually hire us to get away from their office space and hang out with us for the day. They'd make excuses to come out for 'all day' press checks to make sure the one spot color we were using matched the pantone chip.

Ultimately, the smaller firms seem to be the most casual. I tend to do better work in open, small offices with casual atire, language, and hours. But, of course, who doesn't?

The biggest indicator of how 'comfortable' the job will be for me is their hours. If it's a '9-5 every day with 2 weeks vacation', it's a lot less enjoyable than a 'work the hours needed to get your work done (maybe 30 this week, 50 next week) take vacation when you need it' type of place. Admittedly, the latter isn't terribly practical for larger firms.

The one thing I do miss about the first, more formal, gig was the free beverages/snacks. Granted, I think they ended that with the .com crash.

On Jul.19.2005 at 02:36 PM
Tan’s comment is:

>titty bar

Ahem...yes, Texas clients do seem to have a different way of doing business sometimes.

So can you write that off as a client expense, I wonder?

On Jul.19.2005 at 02:39 PM
Eric Benson’s comment is:

I work at sort of Agency B but farther to the left. I'm a design TA! Yay! I wear whatever I want and I get to paint my own studio whatever color I want and design whatever I want. No complaints, except they underfund the design program every year...

On Jul.19.2005 at 02:50 PM
Bic’s comment is:

Tan, can describe how was the enviroment at Landor?

Just Curious of what's going on over there....

On Jul.19.2005 at 02:53 PM
DesignMaven’s comment is:

One of the things I don't do TAN when I was nomadic myself. Is come into a NEW JOB situation and try to befriend everybody. It usually takes about three to six months to find out who you can really TRUST on a JOB.

The first couple of weeks to a month everybody

is pretty much friendly.

After the HoneyMoon, you get to find out who you can TRUST, and talk too. As well, designate responsibility. As a former Design Manager, you really get to see who can pull their own weight.

And go the extra mile. I've never liked 9:00 to 5:00 Designer People.

I like Dressing Up and Shooting the BULL with Clients and cohorts. My best work is away from my DESK or in the privacy of my home. Its always been that way. To many distractions in the work place.

Rule of Thumb, I never out dress the person that gave me my job. Although, I'm in a League with George Hamilton and Alan Flusser. I never FLASH the cash. Such as wearing Crocodile Shoes and Patek Philippe and Vacherone Watches.

I never, never, never, never, discuss Politics, Religion, or Sex in the WORK PLACE.

Reason, they are TABOO subject matter.

And to the point where whatever relationship you have with people can END.

Side Bar.

"titty bar".

Yeah, right,

I can SEE St. Michael and Armin, taking clients to SCORES. NOT !!!!!!!!!

Hey Kids. Uncle Maven, has never seen the inside of one of those places. LOL !!!!!

On Jul.19.2005 at 02:57 PM
Tan’s comment is:

>describe how was the enviroment at Landor?

Well my experience wasn't typical. The Seattle office of Landor actually closed, and was taken over by their parent company last year — Young & Rubicam Brands (who incidentally also owns Wunderman Chi - Szkat). I followed Y&R in the transition. The Landor network was big, but Y&R is an even bigger network.

It's hard to describe what it's like to work in a large network agency. Lots of meetings, lots of people to work with from the other offices, lots of emails and correspondences around the clock from clients and other network offices around the world. It's just a given that the culture in these large agencies reflect the seriousness of the clients and their respective culture. That's not to say it was any less creative — just that the professional environment has more expectations.

But work is work. No matter how big or small, the most important thing is that the environment and culture of any agency should serve to produce the best work from its employees.

On Jul.19.2005 at 03:08 PM
Hex’s comment is:

I agree with Sheepstealer’s comments. The atmosphere at our small studio helps with business. Many of our more corporate clients (and our suppliers) make thin excuses to "drop by" just to hang out. They consider our profession creative and want to see where the magic happens. Let's face it, people are jealous of our free-wheelin' industry and want to imagine themselves working here. You should enjoy the people you work with, and who wants to work with a bunch of stuffed shirts?

I'm in shorts and sandals right now and I haven't shaved in days (but I'm no hobo). Last time I wore a tie to work... I was a waiter.

On Jul.19.2005 at 03:46 PM
DesignMaven’s comment is:


To get more insight into the Culture of Landor.

contact JonSel. The Identity High Priest of Speak Up.

You can reach JonSel at jon@jonsel.net

Don't ask Felix, he's just a GRUMPY ole Identity Guru. And will SLAY your DREAMS.

I kid , I kid.

I can't tell you anything. Cause none of those First Tier Consultancies will Hire Me.

Serously, the culture in San Francisco and New York Landor are the same. Except a vast difference in Weather.

Landor is hard work. Regardless if your an intern, Designer or Management.




Dark and TAN, and Tall and Lovely the Girl from...

On Jul.19.2005 at 03:48 PM
debbie millman’s comment is:

funny article about a women's lacrosse team wearing flip-flops (as if!) at the White House.

as for me--my office is a disaster--stuff everywhere: snowglobes, books, a life-sized poster of a guy that left Sterling that i love, more books, magazines, visitor passes (i have collected them for about 12 years--every client i visit), weird overseas packaging, coffee cups, pens (i am a pen thief--i nab pens from all the hotels i stay in) pictures of my furry friends Scruffy, Duff, Rothko and Lucy, tons of chairs, a giant stuffed Mr. Peanut, a totally cool Paul Sahre poster, an amazing painting by Benjamin Franklin Perkins, and so on. HOWEVER--I always dress up for work. Despite my notoriously bad taste in shoes, I always try to look as if I know what I am talking about, and the clothes seem to help. I think.

On Jul.19.2005 at 04:12 PM
Lyndi ’s comment is:

since this is the first in-house design job ive had i guess i really have nothing to compare it to besides freelance and we all know we just wake up in our pj's and plug away...clothes? what's that?

but the culture in my design firm is quite an array of eyefulls.

we got 1. the preppy, well dressed, always annoying in style girl; 2. the girl who dresses both very modern, classic, with a tad of her own trendy flare but really never overdoing it; 3. the intern-they all dress the same so im not bothering. 4. the new girl; classic and conservative-keeping it safe for the new aspect. 5. the boys-relaxed trendy surfer look. 6. and then there is me; i never know what im gonna wear until 15 minutes before i leave. and thats a bad thing folks because sometimes im not awake! it could be the shirt i slept in or a suit coat. its really sometimes so scary that at lunch i actually go home and change! flip flops with a skirt or heels with denim, whatever floats your boat.

chaos or controlled? thats tough. controlled chaos.

i believe our culture is defined by the vast array of individuals here and our different disciplines; environmental, interiors, and graphics. we have anyone from carpet reps, contractors, to programmers here. so in an odd way i think discipline defines it more since interiors has much more meetings and more cients here.

overall the grass is greener wherever the team gets along better. i could care less what a dress code was i would honestly be happier at a place where everyone got along. good energy is really important to me and ill wear a bunny costume all day to have that.

On Jul.19.2005 at 04:37 PM
chad r.’s comment is:

I've been at my latest place of employment for about 2 years. It's culture is academic, professional, structured, and bogged down with many layers. We have a professional dress-code and present ourselves as a strategic business partners. Yet, there is room for some awesome leaps and bounds here creatively. It may take longer, but I'm not complaining. The people here are great and our growing potential is part of the "big picture."

With all the suits and formality, I was skeptical to accept this opportunity. I couldn't feel/see/hear any of the creative vibe of my previous gig...

my former place of labor...

A boisterous version of Agency B that had the welcome flair of a rich uncle.

It was my first agency job. And it's hard to believe any work got done. I could bring my dog to work. I could take golf lessons, courtesy of our summer hours. I didn't have to worry about playing the music too loud. Our environment put you in a creative buzz. Happy hour started early... right after the scooter races! There were plenty of studio hijinks and smiles galore. Got to work with top-notch brands. Create with top-notch photographers. Top-notch locales. This Agency B had lots of energy that made that 12-hour day possible. This place was loose and ready to rock at the drop of a hat. And the creative vibe was cranked up to 11. Well, most days.

Then I grew up. I got tired of that workday that turned into a long night that turned into another weekend at work. The bus/train commute time turning into my slumber, that lead to nightmares of looming deadlines. The cut throat culture of the agency became overwhelming. Clients came and went before I really understood them. Creative Directors left, swooned by the lure of something bigger. I had no relationship with the agency or the client or the work. I ended up working my butt off just to say i was a part of it. And I've got several company picnic t-shirts to prove it.

So after experiencing both sides, I have more creative comfort in Agency A. This professional environment gives me greater sense of responsibility. I know my client inside and out, and can be passionate about it. Sure, our space has the aura of a dentist's office, and we have to wear socks, and happy hour isn't as often, but things are going to change...

I'm currently working on amplifying the creative vibe here. And that's gonna be fun.

On Jul.19.2005 at 04:53 PM
Bic’s comment is:


Do you think that the craziness of this large agencies is the same everywhere, NY vs. Cincinnati or SF vs. Irvine??

Obviously big offices will be more complicated to deal with, but maybe an office located in a small town could be relaxed and friendly...

I work in NYC, that's why I'm curious.


I will contact jonsel. thanks

On Jul.19.2005 at 05:13 PM
gregor’s comment is:

running a small studio I 'd say it's between formal and informal: sparse but comfortable: drawing/cutting table for prototyping and client samples, desk for computers and perhiperals with nic nacs from kids (drawings, pics, etc.), ample library of mags, books, paper samples and swatch books, original art on the walls and a french press with Peet's coffee (French Roast) always at hand, and little collections of things here and there (odd packaging, postcard advertisements from europe and wind-up alarm clocks, and a half a pair of Mui Mui shoes found on a Parisian utility block in the Marais (take note for those feet of yours Debbie, Mui Mui is where it's at!). No noise though -- except occassionally music or NPR at a low volume.

But, whatever environment you're in, if the Principal or CD is wearing loafers with tassles, my advice is to turn and run.

DM, The Girl from IPANEMA.

Have you heard the Jackie Gleason version? If not you just have to! It's a must for The Girl from Ipanema connoisseurs. I beleive I have 5 versions and the best was included on a cassette (yes a cassette, it was quite a while back) a friend made for me w/no information on it.

On Jul.19.2005 at 05:21 PM
Tan’s comment is:

Bic — in Landor's case, yes, I think their offices are all pretty similar. Their culture, heritage, and process is deep — and permeates all of their offices, regardless of location, creative directors, or clients.

Their Cincinnati office is a little different, but I think that has more to do with the P&G client, rather than the location.

Jon may disagree, but that's been my impression.

On Jul.19.2005 at 05:26 PM
Steve Mock’s comment is:

We have found that spontaneously breaking into song (a capella) and tourette's-like outbursts such as "bah!" and "eat it!" greatly enhance creativity and efficiency.

And we just got a water cooler which we are SO psyched about.

On Jul.19.2005 at 05:26 PM
graham’s comment is:


upper torso=glitter (gold) with the word 'porn' in lipstick across chest

belly=burgundy velvet cumerbund



accesories=tiara, oxygen tanks and whip (for self-flagellation)

On Jul.19.2005 at 05:27 PM
gregor’s comment is:

This Agency B had lots of energy that made that 12-hour day possible.

My experience has been the difference between Agency A & Agency B types were Agency B had a substancial lack of boundaries which made the 12-16 hour day the norm, and not the exception. Which is not to say Agency A types don't have the 12-16 hour days, but noticeably fewer in my experience. Anyone else attest to that?

On Jul.19.2005 at 05:42 PM
graham’s comment is:

i attest. i attest off early. my wife doesn't like it. it's my substantial lack of boundaries (they're substantial).

what about agency f? with the helmets . . .

On Jul.19.2005 at 05:53 PM
Tan’s comment is:

I swear I don't understand Brit dialogue. Sometimes I think I understand what you're saying, Graham, but most of the time I can't follow or translate.

Having a hard day, mate?

On Jul.19.2005 at 06:01 PM
graham’s comment is:

hard life.

lears and heartache. late night.

i think about that painting, 'who are we, where do we come from, why are we here'. or somehthing.

what's it all about, alfie?

On Jul.19.2005 at 06:08 PM
graham’s comment is:

tears and heartache.

lears and heatache would be a different thing . . .

On Jul.19.2005 at 06:09 PM
JonSel’s comment is:

contact JonSel. The Identity High Priest of Speak Up

Maven, my mother is plotzing at the thought. I suppose I could be the Grand Rebbe, but that's a bit much...

I think (Landor's) offices are all pretty similar.

My Landor experience covers 5 years in New York and 5 months in Hamburg, as well as a day or two in San Fran on trips. There are definitely some cultural similarities, but plenty of differences as well. Hamburg was much more buttoned up. Jeans aren't the most common, but that's a European thing anyway. NY's office was a real mixed bag as far as fashions. Some were always dressed up. Others were always in the baggiest cargo pants and flip flops. I prefer somewhere in the middle. I don't mind having to dress up at times, and I certainly prefer to carry myself in a professional manner, but I think it's ok to dress down at times as well. I still don't get the flip-flop trend for men or women, but that's just me. I don't much like feet. I appreciated that Landor was flexible enough to allow both ends of the spectrum. While I'd never attend a client meeting in baggy pants and a t-shirt, there was a very successful design director who did it all the time.

Each of the large branding agencies in NY are quite different. Sterling seems pretty casual and there's always music playing. The creative area is quite visually chaotic. Interbrand is more buttoned up — cubicles, beige, beige, beige. Siegel & Gale is also fairly buttoned up and professional. Desgrippes Gobe was also fairly casual —�lots of shorts and flip-flops.

On Jul.19.2005 at 06:39 PM
DesignMavn’s comment is:

I'll have what Graham's having. Make mine VIRGIN.

TAN, I didn't mean to play down Landor Seattle or Cincinnati. Other than providing BIC with another source of 411

Gregor, Don't start me lying. Maybe I've heard it. I'm sure its something one will never forget.

Sought of like Little Roger and the Goose Bumps Gilligans Island/ Stairway to Heavan. That's probably the rarest of all new wave singles. Were talking 1979 or earlier.

Actually, I appreciate music more than I want to play it. When I was young, I could always get the girl I wanted by Drawing her Portrait.

An Artist secret weapon. Today its different. You rarely see guys in the park drawing women portraits. I suspect its still practiced in FRANCE.

I settled for being a Crotchety, Catankerous, ELITIST Curmudgeon, FUN LOVING DESIGNER.

Gregor, I also LUV, BASS WEEGINS. With or without TASSLES. None are currently apart of my wardrobe. LOL

I'm sure Debbie is quite comfy at work with her Manolo Blahniks and Jimmy Choo Shoes.

P.S. I'll try contacting you for a copy of Gleason's Girl From Ipanema.

JonSel: Understood, Grand Rebbe of Identity Design on Speak Up. (Indeed)

b>TAN, Apologies for going off topic.

On Jul.19.2005 at 06:59 PM
Tom B’s comment is:

I had a meeting barefoot yesterday.

It felt good - sort of cheeky!

On Jul.19.2005 at 08:00 PM
gregor’s comment is:

BASS WEEGINS, In my younger years I would have died and went to heaven if I had a pair of their penny loafers (even at a young age had a strong aversion to tassles). Today I prefer Cydwoq Deflate.

Manolo Blahniks aren't so far off from Mui Mui, and either may cross the threshold to my office. I do, however, request that to-go coffee cups and Nike cross trainers are left at the door and replaced with slippers and cleanly laundered socks (which I believe keeps me on topic).

On Jul.19.2005 at 08:00 PM
Héctor Mu�oz Huerta’s comment is:

I work with a partner. We have our workplace in a large room attached to my house so we can't curse as much as we would like to (because of my family).

If we don't have to see any client we wear anything we want, shaving and bathing are optional. If we have to see clients (or printers) we wear semi formal clothes.

Each one has his own music in his respective pc, but I really hate his (sometimes I get headaches of listening Thalia's twangy yelling all day) so I allways try to play my music before he does (I guess he does the same thing).

Our work place is pretty ugly and has no windows, I don't give a damn for the decoration but I really want a window.

On Jul.19.2005 at 08:52 PM
ps’s comment is:

our studio is currently empty. moved everything out. couldn't stand the old paint anymore. nor the dark floors. ripped out old cabinets last weekend. sanded the floor last night. painted ceilings and wall in white today. finishing the floor is next. i want the inside as bright as possible and neutral in color. well, maybe with one colored wall. furniture is by MDF italia. aluminium. clean lines. the outside of our place is often referred to as the "orange box". took our neighbors some time getting used to.

i like my desk empty and organized when i start the day, but it turns into chaos within minutes, i think its part of my "process"

i used to underdress big-time for meetings and probably lost business because of it. the t-shirt, old jeans that fall apart, or shorts look is still fine and the preferred way in the studio. but for meetings -- especially the ones at client offices -- i think its a matter of acknowledging the client, so i made some upgrades on that front. luckily, l.a. is pretty casual to begin with.

On Jul.20.2005 at 12:47 AM
m. kingsley’s comment is:

Without a puppy in your lap, what makes a meeting different than a safari?

If you can't pick your nose freely, what makes a studio different than the headmaster's office?

If you can't weep in front of your co-workers, what makes you think you're really expressing yourself?

Graham, the painting with the lovely title is by Paul Gauguin.

D'ou venons nous? Que sommes nous? Ou allons Nous?

Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?

Miucha Prada's nickname is Miu Miu.

On Jul.20.2005 at 01:52 AM
Amanda Woodward’s comment is:

ooo. I love this topic and reading about all of your office environments. The variety is wonderful.

I don't work for a company anymore, so my office is all about what I want and surrounding myself with things I find visually inspiring. Mostly vintage finds...old typewriters, kid books, thrift fabrics, bits of paper, even my baby booties. You can see a picture here.

As for when I did work for a company (two different in-house positions), I had a lameo office with gray walls, gray carpet and very practical office furniture. I brought fresh flowers and other random objects I would find on lunchtime walks (rocks, acorns, etc.) to spruce things up, but it was not a great fit for me. I was in some gray cubicles for awhile as well. Gray and bright lights and chats at the water cooler about reality tv shows just was not my thing. The view was nice from the window though, just ask Mr. Surtees.

As for music,...it is often loud-ish and often world/folk stuff. More than one client has commented on how much they enjoy hearing a hint of African drumming or Lhasa in the background as we chitter about a project.

On Jul.20.2005 at 04:01 AM
Amanda Woodward’s comment is:

ps. I secretly want an office like hogwarts.

On Jul.20.2005 at 04:03 AM
Ine’s comment is:

Jeans aren't the most common, but that's a European thing anyway.

Maybe this is how it is in Hamburg, but it's not like that all over Europe. I'm European and I've worked in 2 agencies. One was in Antwerp, Belgium and the other one was in Berlin, Germany. At both places we could wear whatever we want. Jeans, flip-flops, whatever.

It's funny, 'cause I consider Americans more conservative than Europeans (I mean this generally, maybe designers are different), so I would think that would also show in the way we dress at work. I could be completely wrong about this, though.

Anyway for me, I like to work in a casual way. I want to be able to wear whatever I want, and I like it when I can play my music. I agree that it's important to be able to be yourself and to feel comfortable where you work.

On Jul.20.2005 at 04:08 AM
Davide’s comment is:

Well, i work in a agency more like the "B" type, but, is less confused, not so chaotic like the one you described. General habits are no so formal, and, in my little working experience is one of the best workplaces that i visited.

We can decorate our desk, have our things on the chests, and I think, go to work dressed as we like, but, there is always a little formality on our dressing style, not because is top-imposed, but 'cause is a cultural factor: a bit formal but NOT so formal

On Jul.20.2005 at 05:00 AM
Lisa’s comment is:

The place where I work is a mix of both....

The boss is ALWAYS dressed nice. Me? Jeans/shorts, sneakers and a nice-ish shirt or an embroidered t-shirt. The pressman hides in the back and wears jeans and t-shirts and is usually covered in ink!

My desk is covered with pictures, my monitor with beanie babies and a small car model. The top of my desk is a mess. It wouldn't be complete without my Get Fuzzy comic-a-day calendar. My chair? Broken. Heh. Computer wires everywhere. I couldn't be creative without all the mess around me.

We listen to music here, but the only radio on is back in the pressroom. If the boss is going to be gone for the entire day, I'll sometimes bring in some CDs to play from my computer.

I wouldn't have it any other way...and I've been here for almost ten years!

On Jul.20.2005 at 09:44 AM
DesignMaven’s comment is:

What I find Universally Mystifying, as well indicative of this Thread. All Creative People, enjoy working BARE FOOT. Especially Visual Communicators/ Designers/Artist. I've realized this for some time.

Many Moons ago, when I applied for my first Design Job. I was hesitant about accepting the position, because I always worked BARE FOOT at home. Wasn't sure what the PROTOCOL was in the work place. For Conceptualizations I always worked in my Stocking Feet. Similar but not the same.

Without question. this is why I stated earlier. My most creative work is usually away from my Desk. Alluding to working at home in BARE FEET. I've heard from a child Creative People were a Strange Breed.

One thing is Certain among Creative People. We're all imbedded with a BARE FOOT GENE.

I TRUST there are no Men wearing Flip Flops with HAMMER TOES. And I TRUST all the women wearing Flip Flops have POPSICLE TOES !!!!!!!!

Gregor. Many thanks for the wonder link to the U.K. website, as well, Cydwoq Deflate Shoes.

I wear English Shoes. Predominately own Churches English Shoes. English Shoes are the BEST walking shoes in the World. Great for pounding the pavement.

My favorites are FERRAGAMO essentially a carpet shoe. Nevertheless, Great. Second to none. Prefer them over A. TESTONI.


"Each one has his own music in his respective pc, but I really hate his (sometimes I get headaches of listening Thalia's twangy yelling all day)".

One Word Answer, HEADPHONES.

On Jul.20.2005 at 09:59 AM
Darrel’s comment is:

What I find Universally Mystifying, as well indicative of this Thread. All Creative People, enjoy working BARE FOOT.

I think that's universal of people, in general (aside from safety issues). It's a simply thing to declare a little bit of freedom.

I walk around the office all day shoeless (albeit with socks). They're trying to pass a dress code stating shoes are requires. Some 'OSHA' thing. Blech.

On Jul.20.2005 at 12:13 PM
Matt’s comment is:

Ine’s comment is:

It's funny, 'cause I consider Americans more conservative than Europeans (I mean this generally, maybe designers are different), so I would think that would also show in the way we dress at work. I could be completely wrong about this, though.

The reverse is true in the realm of fashion, I would say. Europeans tend to be dressier, and "conservative" to the extent of not as likely to wear sneakers, shorts etc. Which is another way of saying that Americans are bigger slobs ;)

On Jul.20.2005 at 12:22 PM
gregor’s comment is:

Ok so today, and perhaps today only, for spice of variety and looking at others environments, I'm doing things different: flip flops on feet and maybe even barefoot for a bit, t-shirt and listening to music, loudly (but I refuse to use a PC-that's just going too far). And when I take the dog for a walk, english walking shoes (sorry Maven, I have Clarke's only -- they closed the Church's store here and replaced it with a Kenneth Cole).

If anything profound results from this I shall report duly.

On Jul.20.2005 at 12:27 PM
szkat’s comment is:

Tan: "Young & Rubicam Brands (who incidentally also owns Wunderman Chi - Szkat). I followed Y&R in the transition. The Landor network was big, but Y&R is an even bigger network."

yeah, i knew about the structure... it made for the most wonderful time. we had, as i'm sure you experinced, some fantastic resources at our disposal. at the end of the road i was working sixty hour weeks - 8am to 9pm with 30 minute lunch and two 15 min breaks - but then we would have perks like Wunderman hiring a group from Second City to come give us a workshop on presenter / audience communications. no one better to learn from than a comedian who teaches comedians how to work an audience!!!

i worked my ass off. seriously. that job was all i did for a couple months, only going home to sleep but we had green walls, a fooseball table (which is where you could catch the f-bombs between such unlikely teammates as the office director and random intern kids), and we had beer meetings on fridays... we'd gather for the client conference call, but first we'd pass out the brew and get situated before we dialed in. the people were amazing and easy to get along with. when i left, i wrote letters for three of my superiors to say how much i respected them as bosses and as people.

as far as i'm concerned, it was utopia as far as workplaces go. i've never worked so hard in another office or with such desire to do well.

lyndi -- totally, painfully true.

gregor -- good luck with that. let us know how it goes :)

On Jul.20.2005 at 12:49 PM
DesignMaven’s comment is:


Funny you should mentioned that. A friend and I was just talking the other day. He used to be a Photo Editor for AOL. Not creative in the lease. Knowing I'm a Designer. He cracked and said. You creative types, 'one reason I left AOL because I had to deal with Designers that wore Birkenstock Sandles, in the winter with Snow on the ground. As if that was reflective of a Creative Person Sanity.

He's now a U.S. MARSHALL. Which is more indicative of his personality.

No moral to my story. Other than, how we are viewed by non creatives. You're probably correct philosophically.

More often than not Designers and Creatives get away with it. Because BARE FEET Metaphyically, is condusive to OUR creativity.

I not aware of any other Profession where BARE FEET and shoeless employess work other than Design Firms and Identity Consultancies.

Akin to any High School of the Arts. Where the students are encouraged and allowed to express themselves overtly. All High Schools of the Arts operate differently than regular High Schools, Catholic Schools, Charter Schools. Which embrace a Button Up Approach and Strict Dress Code.

OSHA, will get you every time. Not to mention having worked in Government. Within most jobs women can't wear sandles anymore. The Foot is an erogenous zone. They don't come out an say it. It's sugar coated with "Don't wear sandles because if something drops on your feet. We can't be held responsible". Realistically lots of people out their with FOOT FETISHES.

Not sure how much its enforced today.


Thanks for clarifying the differences. I was going to expound. However, did not.

Europe,especially England are more Buttoned Up. Needless to say the British are better Sartorial

Dressed than Americans.

On Jul.20.2005 at 01:02 PM
Michael Surtees’s comment is:

Speaking of environments, how do people see their peers that they work with. Are they friends, acquaintances, people you just deal with or is it something else? What do you prefer? Does their attitude affect how you work?

On Jul.20.2005 at 01:26 PM
DesignMaven’s comment is:


"(they closed the Church's store here and replaced it with a Kenneth Cole)".

How CRASS and How Sad. No comparison. I wouldn't wear a pair of Kenneth Cole shoes if they were given to me FREE !!!!!!!

They are akin to TOM McCann. I don't own anything by Kenneth Cole.

Shoes, John Lobb, Ferragamo, A. Testoni, David Eden, Bragano, Churches, Mauri, Alden. To name just a few.

I'm at the stage where I'm having shoes made by John Lobb in the United Kingdom.

The BEST money can BUY. Load this link into your browser.


I'm making small potatoes compared to my BEST MEN, BIG WILLI, Drenttel and BIERUT.

I take the way I present myself to people, very, very SERIOUSLY. Always present my "A" Game.

No disrespect to those that wear Kenneth Cole.

Certain names shouldn't never bespoke to Connoisseurs.

Dosen't matter, PRADA owns Churches Shoes. Bought them out two years ago. Churches shoes are Superior to PRADA. Insofar, as QUALITY is concerned.

My reference to Churches being a Great Walking Shoe was not indicative of Crepe Shoes (rubber). What we call in easy walkers or soft walkers. My reference was English Leather (uppers). The ground or concrete doesn't destroy English Leather soles as quickly as it does regular soled shoes. If you walk and don't drive.

I've got a pair of Churches English Shoes I've been wearing for over ten (10) years on a regular basis. Never needed the soled repaired. That's quality for your money. Certainly indicative of all Geniune English Shoes.


On Jul.20.2005 at 01:51 PM
Sonyl’s comment is:

Ooh! Barefoot! I always love to work barefoot - when I was young and studying violin, I would always do my lessons barefoot. I used to always take my shoes off in school, too, and pad around the studio. Some of my fellow students thought I was nuts, but I bet they're doing it now.

I've always been attracted to crazy, B-type of environments. I've even said my abhorrence of suits is one thing that led me to design.

On Jul.20.2005 at 01:55 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

Realistically lots of people out their with FOOT FETISHES.

As insane as that sounds, It actually sounds more plausible than some OSHA thing. ;o)

On Jul.20.2005 at 01:56 PM
DesignMaven’s comment is:


Though I gave you a working website for John Lobb. Problem Corrected.



Co-workers are just that. If you haven't experienced the Back Stabbing, Brown Nosing, and Cut Throat Mentality. Sure, you'll understand. I never hang out with empolyees unless it is required and job related.

As a Manager, like most other Professions. We go our separate ways. Those rules are not etched in stone. I've met very few people in the work place

that I would befriend outside my job.

A credo I live by. Never mention anything on a JOB you don't want REPEATED.

I have lifetime friends and I deal with them. I never mix and match the two. Work is work. Friends on the job are just that. Friends on the job. Not people I would trust with confidential information. Necessarily invite into my home.

Generally, what you encounter on the JOB are FAKE FRIENDS.



Hope OSHA's Mantra doesn't hurt your Creativity.

On Jul.20.2005 at 02:17 PM
gregor’s comment is:

Realistically lots of people out their with FOOT FETISHES.

One of our best friends was dating a man - whom she later married - and when she asked our opinion of him, I said, "as opposed to you last beau, he has the right shoes, I think you found your man".

When I hire a designer of production artist, shoes are where my eyes go 1st. Shoes, are in fact your best portfolio asset: although on another SU thread I'm not sure how that can be certified ;/>

DM, my Clarke's have lasted since 1992 and haven't even needed to be re-soled. The uppers are immacuate and improve with time is seems: no question it's the leather quality. (Lobb: Next time in Paris I will be stopping by John Lobb's shop w/o a doubt!)

Now back to phase 2 of today's experiment in office lifestyle: listening to music, loudly.

On Jul.20.2005 at 02:31 PM
Tan’s comment is:

How did this become a thread on feet? Funny.

But since we're on the topic — my favorite footwear lately have been Keen shoes. Their sandals are great — they breathe, are waterproof, and your toes are protected. The shoes are amazingly comfortable, but look cool instead of nerdy like Rockports.

>how do people see their peers that they work with

Good question, Michael. I'd like to think of my coworkers as friends — but in truth, most become friendly acquaintances, rather than super-close friends. Good, dear friends you keep for a lifetime, no matter where you go. And you can't find that just by working together.

Then there's the boss thing. People aren't always peers in an office, which I think is necessary for close friendships to develop. It can happen, but it's hard to ignore that employer-employee barrier.

On Jul.20.2005 at 03:49 PM
graham’s comment is:

shoes . . .


alfred sargent

nice, proper brogues.

check pediwear.co.uk

On Jul.20.2005 at 03:54 PM
Tan’s comment is:

*sigh* what a bunch of metrosexual men we have here at SU.

On Jul.20.2005 at 05:10 PM
Kyle Hildebrant’s comment is:

Tan, I know that wasnt directed at me (spoken with steroe-typical lisp). ;)

Were designers, what did you expect?

On Jul.20.2005 at 05:30 PM
gregor’s comment is:

hey now, szkat started it.

i started wearing my pumas and no one seemed to care

Your question begged it -- although you probably didn't expect shoes on parade as the result :)

On Jul.20.2005 at 05:37 PM
Tom B’s comment is:

Most of the time I dress like a slob, but it's nice to occasionally really make an effort. I suppose not having to wear a suit all the time makes those occasions when you do feel a bit special.

I'm talking Revolutionary Anarcho-Dandy!

Side parting

Ridiculously expensive tie with proper Windsor knot


Red handkerchief (scented)

Tweed suit

Brown brogues with Blakeys on the heels (clip clop clip)

Large umbrella (used as walking stick and weapon)

Can't fail to impress!

On Jul.20.2005 at 06:48 PM
DesignMaven’s comment is:

Just Chiming in for this evening.

You guys whether you know it or not have some astonishing taste in fashion.

I went from dressing like Jimi Hendrix as an adolescent. To PUNK without the MOHAWK. To New Wave. A friend that owned a Men's Haberdasher informed me I would grow out of it. I thought he was crazy. He was right. Soon as I started dating. Having to look presentable for my girl friends parents. Being a Glorified Choir Boy.

Don't get it TWISTED. I love my Jeans. I can usually be found at home downing Jeans, Sneakers, and Seersucker Shirts for casual wear.

Mind you, I was wearing White Jeans before I knew what a Designer was. And perhaps before Peter Saville. When I worked in Corporate America. The dress code was Professional Casual. Jeans were not allowed.

I had a standing bet with several of my co-workers whom were threatened with being reprimanded for wearing Jeans.

I bet them, I could get away with wearing Jeans any day of the week. I came to work with White Jeans. Three days out of the week. Sure enough, nobody ever said anything to me about wearing White Jeans to work. Don't ask me why. I have no answer. White Jeans are accepted when traditional Jeans are not. I own about eight pair of White Jeans.

Funny, when I moved into my neighborhood twelve years ago. You couldn't find a MAN in the Neighborhood wearing White Jeans. Now they are so common-place. Just about every man in my neighborhood has a pair. Go Figure.

TAN, Excellent taste in footwear. I can see my friend the former Photo Editor and you going at it. I'm sure you would have a few choice words for his snide remark.

Gregor, Off the Hook !!!!!! Funny Stuff.

Kyle, Great Taste. I live in Nordstroms. Nordstroms was essentially a shoe store before they branched out and became a Department Store. First Tier of Course. And the most Impeccable Service in the United States. Bare None.

Tom B. Class Act, you know your Sartorial Dress. We can hang out. Perhaps, Brown Suede Oxfords. With a Traditional Silk Briggs Umbrella for walks in the country or city with Reed and Malacca Handles. Preferably a Tweed Walking Coat with Patch Pockets and Suede Elbow Patches.

Metrosexual, Nah, I come from an era where Men Dressed to Impress.


On Jul.21.2005 at 12:03 AM
Kyle Hildebrant’s comment is:

DM, I appreciate your comments. ;) I like to think I have great style. And Tom B, the windsor is the only way to roll. I have a bet with somone that if a 'student' came in and was actually sporting a windsor knot, I would have to hire them on the spot. ;)

On Jul.21.2005 at 12:31 AM
Pesky Illustrator’s comment is:

I wear pants....plus a shirt with buttons and shoes when visiting ad agencies - which is becoming a rare event these days.(In my home/office, usually pajamas.) Shockingly, I still overdress compared to them...where do they get such grubby clothes? It's like being surrounded by giant pre-schoolers with goatees.(Shorts, sneakers and t-shirts) Women there always tend to dress up better than the guys...

On Jul.21.2005 at 08:13 AM
Amanda Woodward’s comment is:

I try the pj's thing now and again (when I have a day without a meeting) and I find it does not really work for me. I need to be showered and dressed all proper to feel legit and productive. As for what to wear when I do have client meetings....it can range from flip flops & jeans to my all black dress outfit for fancy people.

On Jul.21.2005 at 10:34 AM
Kelly R’s comment is:

Listening to Iggy Pop right now off 'Fred'. Rockin' out! Desigin' my little heart out.

We can wear whatever pleases us. It's hot in the city. Sandals, skirts, shorts, sunglasses, sweatbands, ponytails and iced coffees are required.

The space itself is small, tidy and well designed. Each person can hang their own bits but overall each space has a similar overall feel. Lots of pine tables and floors.

A wonderful work environment. Jams and jokes!

On Jul.21.2005 at 03:38 PM
david e.’s comment is:

I know I'm in the minority, but I like business casual better than wearing jeans to work. There's a positive psychological effect to dressing in a serious way. I'm an in-house art director, and we have the option of dressing however we want. But in an environment like that, would you rather look like the marketing staff or the cleaning staff? I definetely feel that I'm taken much more seriously by dressing well; dressed casually I feel like a peon.

The last two positions I had were with smaller design studios where the dress was very casual and that was fine too. I guess I'm adaptable to my environment. Really, I don't think it's very important one way or the other.

I generally like things somewhat neat and orderly in my work environment, but one place I worked was always a huge mess — to the point where, if you left any space on your desk, the owner would pile stuff up on it just because he nowhere else to put anything! We did good work though, and that's what counts.

On Jul.21.2005 at 07:23 PM
Tan’s comment is:

David — I feel as you do. When you dress a bit more professionally, it gives you more confidence because you're being taken more professionally. It doesn't mean you have to be stiff and pompous — it just shows that you take pride in your professional appearance as well as your work.

I also think that in larger agencies, it's very important for the principals and directors to set an example for the rest of the staff. The dot com days are long over — CEOs in bermuda shorts and tshirts are no longer symbols of corporate progressiveness — it's just dorky and unprofessional now. Your CD or Managing director represents the firm, so why not expect him or her to dress nice everyday?

Course, that doesn't mean you can't be casual once in a while — but just keep it in check.

That's my take.

On Jul.21.2005 at 08:10 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

Thanks, everyone. Now I have an infieriority complex because of my (lack of) taste in shoes.


On Jul.22.2005 at 11:17 AM
Jason Tselentis’s comment is:

It's not about taste, Darrell. Something more is at the heart of the matter: comfort and maybe the longing to be childlike (not childish).

For two years I've worked from my home office doing design and consulting. Initially, I woke each morning, did breakfast, made coffee, jumped on the computer, and then wrapped my day when I was done with my jobs. When I had meetings I always dressed the part—although I thought about showing up in my jammies and slippers sometimes.

About a month into all of this, I had to work from the library because our bathroom was being refinished. I took pride in getting dressed in a nice shirt, pants and shoes, then heading downtown. I felt different and took my job more seriously because I didn't look like I was ready to take a long winter's nap.

Having worked in a shorts and T-shirt agency before as well as a suit and tie organization, I like both worlds for their respective reasons. But something just feels better about Agency A. It's a personal reason because when I worked at Agency B, it was right after college. Today, I like the thought of maturing from Agency B to Agency A, where things are more formal. Still, when I'm pushing 40 or 50 with a midlife crisis I will be ready for Agency B again. Even now I get nostalgic for it.

On Jul.23.2005 at 04:11 PM
DesignMaven’s comment is:

Tomorrow on Today,

Monday Morning, NBC, 7-25-05

Can the way you Dress Effect your Income ?

On Jul.24.2005 at 07:59 PM
DesignMavem’s comment is:

I meant affect not effect.


On Jul.25.2005 at 02:27 AM
allison’s comment is:

I am at my first job out of college, an inhouse designer at a company that makes consumer & vehicle electronics. I have an office with the other designer, and we are allowed to decorate, but I haven't much because I feel the atmosphere is very conservative. the dress is business casual, no jeans, no flip flops. I have worked here since may and find myself immersed in my ipod and generally upset that I can't let my true self out. (True self being a girl with 3/4 length sleeves of tattoos that she hides every day with long button up dress shirts) I am getting so sick of heels so i've been wearing moccasins. I am getting paid well, my team is nice, and they are surprisingly receptive of my new, creative ideas and I've begun to actually design things that are GOOD,.... but when people ask me how my job's going, my reply is "meh."

I just wish I could come in with my black on black converse and short sleeves!

On Jul.25.2005 at 02:26 PM
gregor’s comment is:

Monday Morning, NBC, 7-25-05

Can the way you Dress affect your Income?

I missed it DM: how we do we stack up based on their report? Think we need to bump our rates or drop them :)

Today's attire (tuned for client meetings):

Armani slacks

Cydwoq shoes

Nat Nast shirt

Busy few days -- will post agency B lifestyle experiment as noted several posts above soon....

On Jul.25.2005 at 06:04 PM
Bryony’s comment is:

does anyone experience a shift between winter and summer attire?

My experience, so far, has been that come the warm weather deeper into the closet goes the "nice" wardrobe. I am not sure why this is, since we keep meeting with the same clients and doing the same work. Granted you won't be wearing your wool suit in August, but there seems to be a dividing line between the two styles that I can't entirely work out.

On Jul.26.2005 at 08:57 AM
Hex’s comment is:

does anyone experience a shift between winter and summer attire?


I always dress better in the winter. I think it has something to do with putting on a warm, freshly ironed shirt on a chilly, rainy Vancouver morning.

I am more inclined to wear shorts & Ts in the summer in anticipation of a spontaneous trip to the beach.

On Jul.26.2005 at 01:47 PM
Tan’s comment is:

Winter allows you more flexibility in wardrobe — lots of layers, warm suits, cool jackets.

For men, summer wear consists of short-sleeve shirts, breathable pants or shorts, and open shoes or sandals. There are "dressy" summer clothes for men — Tommy Bahama, etc. — but it's usually more expensive than the more formal winter wear.

I think by nature summer is more casual altogether. And (ahem), I certainly have no problem with seeing women sport less clothes in the office in the summer.

On Jul.26.2005 at 04:17 PM
gregor’s comment is:

Winter allows you more flexibility in wardrobe.

much agreed. It's certainly more difficult to find a suitable summer wardrobe where semi formal is the appropriate attire. Typically I'll start the day dressed comfortably but by mid-late afternoon as temperatures rise will be way overdressed. Even if I'm likely to see no one but myself and a production artist on a given day it's nonetheless important to my process to dress 'professionally.'

The price for summer wear is high, regardless of being business casual or even less formal (a pair of CK shorts for 39.00 or more-- much more expensive than cutting off the jeans from the winter before when I was a kid!). Some clients show up for meetings very, very casually, but I'm in agreement with the notion it's always best to present your "A" side. I personally feel like more professional based on attire -- pajamas, shorts, Ts, flip flops never make me feel on top of my game.

Summer heat is shorter here (seattle), which makes it more difficult to seriously put together a 5 day a week summer wardrobe of business casual....

On Jul.27.2005 at 01:55 AM
Aaron’s comment is:

True self being a girl with 3/4 length sleeves of tattoos that she hides every day with long button up dress shirts

coming in a little late...

Bottom line: be yourself as much as possible. I sport my tats, wear shorts in the summer (it's a rare opportunity in Seattle!) but other times end up dressing nicer than the majority of people in the office. If I had to wear long sleeve shirts everyday because the office was too conservative to 'handle' it, I would not be a happy camper. I don't feel I'd fit in at a company that uptight anyway. It's common sense really: You don't go out to a fancy restaurant in shorts, right? Figure it out, and dress accordingly. In the end, it's all just cotton or cotton/poly blends. People who don't like jeans are snobs anyway :D

Personally, I'd wear the cons over the mocs any day.

On Jul.27.2005 at 05:23 PM
Doug Bartow’s comment is:

We wear whatever we want, but we keep a change of clothes (not a suit) in a wardrobe bag in the closet 'just in case'. I've found the East coast (US) to be loosening quite a bit WRT to what's acceptable for meetings. Creative fields have alway been looser, but I see it expanding to other businesses as well. However, if I walked into a studio in London for a pitch meeting wearing what I'm wearing right now, I wouldn't be taken seriously, regardless of the work.

On Jul.29.2005 at 10:26 AM
Paul Mayne’s comment is:

If you guys have not yet seen this video, Belief produced a fantastic piece called "The Common Desk".

Some great solutions to handle your personal workspace to let the creativity flow.

A must see...

On Jul.30.2005 at 04:42 AM
Tan’s comment is:

Thanks for that link, Paul. Great piece. Long, but worth seeing.

On Jul.30.2005 at 02:21 PM