substantial_design

Last night I attended my first coding event ever @Substantial studio in Seattle.  My buddy and I go upstairs, walk over to the photo booth guest sign in (which we failed miserably), turned the corner and found a large wooden table, lined with developers on their laptops or should I say MacBooks.

I’m a designer, early in my professional career. I graduated in June but it just started about 8 months ago and I’m loving every minute of it. I work full time as a web designer for a food testing lab and really enjoy what I do, but I know from having read PDF after PDF of culture docs from various design companies, that there is a large chunk of design missing from my environment. Walking into Substantial, I was sub consciously taken back a bit. I loved seeing the branded door made of a steel cutout with their name on it. The solid wood railings, floors, tables, open walls, all beautifully lit by dim bulbs, and the sound of conversation on projects, design and creativity. It all makes up an environment I had never been in before, and I don’t think I was really able to work as I had planned to. I was expecting an interior like the one I stepped into but I never really thought about how it changed my process of brainstorming as we were doing last night. I was a little starry eyed thinking, “I could be working in a place like this”, and as I was leaving, “I should be working in a place like this!”.

The difference being here made in what I was willing to try, just in simple brainstorming and writing of ideas was incredible. My attitude after leaving was different too, as I was thinking 100% on what I wanted to work on next and how I might start working at a place like this. I’ve got confidence in where I’m at with my current job and I consider myself a very strong critical and forward thinker. People like to bounce ideas off of me when they have the chance. I just had no idea that coming up with ideas and conceptualizing could be even more exhilarating than it already was, back in my cubicle. Hell we didn’t even make anything but I feel more accomplished as a designer in the 2 hours we were there than I did all day at my current job. Even the music playing was exactly what I listen to in my own room/ studio.

My first walk around a design studio, a creative space if you will, was pretty incredible. By continuing to work hard, create every day, and gain more experience, entry level designers have a lot to look forward to. There are many new spaces to explore that can offer that extra amount of duration needed throughout our creative careers. Sure I would love to work at a place like Substantial right now, but mostly I just want a work area that isn’t made of gray cloth walls, and has other designers to work with. I love making stuff, and the environment I was in last night is designed to promote that, I could definitely feel it. The interesting part of this feeling is that I didn’t even take a tour of the rest of the studio. I just saw one floor, one room, one table and many MacBooks. So I’m excited about the future of this career and the places I will get to “work” in. I’ve never been good with patience so I probably need to press full steam ahead and get there sooner than later. As if I felt I wasn’t already doing this, I need the same experience I had last night more often than just every other week.