Our production floor was eerily quiet a couple Thursdays ago. No printers were humming, X-Acto knives were tucked away in drawers, and computer screens were black.
A daylong sabbatical, Designers withdrew from their computer desk chair thrones (and in Sarah’s case, her exercise ball) to convene offsite for SPARK, the 2016 Design Team Summit for a day of design inspiration to reignite their creative spark. Leading the troop on this day of workshops, discussions, and presentations was Studio Director, Maribel Costa and Creative Directors, Linda Rochelle, Mary Wilcox, and Todd Fidelman.
Morning began with a well-balanced breakfast, as well as opening remarks and a short presentation on brevity from Chief Creative Officer, Jeff Antkowiak. Next on the docket were presentations of personal assignments, an activity designed to encourage the sharing of each of their creative personalities. There was only one parameter; it had to fit in their car. From video reels and baked goods, to potted vegetables and sketches, each was challenged with telling an amazing story—their amazing story.
“Personal projects give designers an opportunity to express who they are as a creative individual, often giving them a showcase to demonstrate an artistic skill the rest of the team probably didn’t know they had,” said Maribel. “Each designer took the opportunity to share something about themselves, which I believe enriches their relationships with the rest of the team. This, of course, is a wonderful thing.”
Reconvening after lunch, the crew then broke off into three separate clusters to work on a branding project, pitching their group’s newfound identify at the end. What resonated with Associate Designer Tori Peck? “My greatest takeaway was actually getting to work with people that I don’t usually interact with a whole lot. The groups were mixed up really well so we all worked with someone new, and so that multiple different strengths were on each team.”
The day of team building ended with FBOM (First Beverage On Me), the agency-wide event where Creatives from all departments—think Design, Strategy, Development, HR, and Leadership, have an opportunity to talk shop over a bit of nosh and drinks.
Fueled with a spirit of curiosity and exploration, by Friday morning our friends had returned. Coffee carafes were low, whiteboards were covered in multicolored hieroglyphics, and normalcy had resumed along the Gateway.