Studio South + DA present Open Book – Conversations on Studio Life

2 years ago by

On Thursday 20th October Studio South and Design Assembly collaborated on a new initiative which saw final year graphic design students invited into the studio for a night of conversation, literally opening the book on studio life.


The evening started with pizza and drinks and one-to-one conversations between students and the South team before heading upstairs for a Q&A session with key members of the studio;

Sam Southwell, Creative Director and founder of Studio South, Senior Designers – Elliot Stansfield and Emily Macrae, Intermediate Designer, Lucy Caldwell, Junior Designer, Mira Takeda and Paul Phanoulas from New Territory who works closely with Studio South in the execution of digital projects.

Sam shared the story of his journey into the industry to where he is today, how he came to start his own studio known then as Aplus and how Studio South came to be.

‘Employ people who are better than you.’ – Sam Southwell

Elliot gave insights into the process that Studio South go through when working on a client brief from the moment it comes in the door through to execution in digital and physical spaces.

Talking about the transition from design school to working in a commercial environment, Elliot discussed finding ways to ‘maintain the quality of output while often working at a fast pace’.

Emily talked about her extensive time freelancing in London before coming back to work at Studio South. She advised students to consider working in a studio full-time after graduation to get some real-world skills and portfolio pieces before heading off overseas or going it alone.

‘I think there are always benefits to working collaboratively, being a freelancer doesn’t mean you have to work in isolation. Contracting directly with studios is a good way to learn how different design businesses operate.’ – Emily Macrae

When it came to the nitty gritty of getting your foot in the door as a young designer, the introduction email was a hot topic.

‘Share your goals and milestones that you are working towards. Tell us about where you want to go and confidently tell us what you are good at and what you’re interested in.’ – Sam Southwell]

The night wrapped up with more one-to-one conversations between students and the South team.

The evening was a great opportunity to openly discuss real projects and engage with real people working first-hand in the industry. Studio South provided transparency into their work and process providing tangible insights for the students.

Thank you Studio South for opening your doors!


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