Just as winemakers often talk about the importance of terroir, the geography where a grape grows, shellfish lovers have taken to describing the oceanic equivalent as ‘merroir’, as in the seawater, salt content, and terrain which affects the taste and quality of the shellfish farmed.
The health of the land contributes to the food it produces and is inextricably connected. So it makes sense to assume the right combination and contribution of personnel to a studio environment enhances the work produced. Add personality to attitude, friendliness, dilligence and creativity, we believe we're on the right path for, let's say, 'studoir'
Now, we all make errors at some point. The trick in life is to not make the same mistakes again and again. We’ve only had a couple of people join The Graphical Tree who really didn’t fit into the vibe of the company. But from these errors of judgement, we learnt a few things about interviewing which has held us, and subsequently our customers, in good stead since.
At the end of the day we’re together for many hours, and sometimes in stressful situations. What can a job candidate bring the studio that isn’t based around job experience? (yes we do ask this too) What is the person involved in and what do they enjoy outside of work; what are their interests; what inspires them; what could contribute to an interested, invigorating work environment other than the practical skills needed to do a job successfully?
Here are some of the outside of work activities we’ve had since asking in interviews –
Rebuilding old cars
Vinyl only deejay-ing
Organising indie music gigs
Allotment food growing
Playing the guitar
Now, none of these are particularly out of the ordinary, but they all add to the melting pot. Encouraging a passion outside of the workplace to come into the studio when fit to do so by way of conversation, different skillsets, or progressive personality traits can usually only enhance the space. You can also learn a lot about an individual from their interests. For example – working on an allotment could suggest patience and nurture; skateboarding could suggest poise and control, fearlessness and physicality; photography could suggest an eye for composition, attention to detail, observation, and expression; Vinyl only deejay-ing suggests understanding flow, care for equipment, and creating a harmonious environment – which all sound useful to us. (p.s. everyone got the job)
We're also chosen to operate from a London base, including a central location HQ in Great Titchfield Street, surrounded by an abundance of ideas and energy. A simple walk around the streets to observe the retail stores and galleries we are neighbours to will add a spark of inspiration if needed. We recognise this and, as well as being closer to the action and our customers, we realise how much it can enhance the studio by operating from such a vibrant, ever-changing, dynamic environment. You can read more about the benefits of a central London studio here.
The Graphical Tree is a sum of its parts. We are tied to, influenced by, and a part of our environment. Some of it we choose, some of it we create. And it all contributes to sustaining the energy and philosophy of the company. Having people in the team who can add different attributes is hugely worthwhile.
Great work needs a healthy place to thrive and come alive, and The Graphical Tree does its best to foster one for staff, and clients alike.
Ping Pong creative by Barbara Stauffacher Solomon (photographer unknown)