It’s not just small design studios. We’re talking about some of the biggest creative agencies in the world, like Pentagram and UsTwo, where we see decorating must-haves. Of course, everyone’s space is different and has its own character. But it’s always the same objects that slip through.
Some of the items listed below will bring back fond memories for many of you, perhaps of visiting IKEA to outfit your first office – many of which have stayed with you through several moves as you have grown your business and your team. We’ve even shared some real studios from our creative community to inspire you further. Enjoy!
1. The IKEA Bookcase
No design studio is complete without IKEA’s beloved white shelving system. Now called KALLAX, it’s affordable, reliable and can do a lot. From room divider and sideboard to bookcase, vinyl storage, or D&AD pencil stand, it’s a hardworking piece of furniture that we take notice of time and time again. But don’t even think about buying anything other than white. White is the color of choice in this industry.
2. Motivational letterpress printing
Although some studios are moving away from classic design and opting for other typographic statements, Anthony Burrill’s Work Hard & Be Nice To People has become a studio staple for much of the industry over the past decade. . The graphic designer is known for his punchy yet direct statements and his love of print. And it’s easy to see why the design community loves his work. Other options for your office walls include those by graphic artist Sarah Boris, “type twister” and designer Dani Molyneux and Veronica Fuerte of Hey.
3. The classic Anglepoise desk lamp
Whether it’s a cozy corner or a well-lit office, a lamp is essential for the space of any discerning graphic designer. But if there’s one classic that designers keep coming back to, it’s the Anglepoise desk lamp. Who can resist the charms of this timeless British product? Especially when there are so many irresistible options.
4. Playful design toys and ornaments
There is no doubt that we want to express ourselves creatively. We want our workspaces to say something about us and what we love. This is why vinyl toys are a massive feature of many studios. Even nostalgic ones like Transformers pop up often. We love this classic Smiley Lamp that acts as both a toy and a functional item – Hey, space is limited; we have to be practical about these things. Or you can opt for something a little more mature, like a typographic ornament. Who is guilty of having an ampersand exposed? Etsy has some really nice options if you haven’t added one to your desktop yet.
5. A Swiss cheese factory
We’ve seen plenty of cacti and prayer lilies, peace lilies, and chains of hearts in design agencies around the world, but the one plant that stands out is still the Swiss Cheese strain. There’s just something about this humble plant that appeals to designers everywhere. Maybe it’s the interesting foliage. Maybe it’s the air-purifying abilities that these plants possess. Whatever the reason, it’s the most loved in the industry. Beard & Daisies offer a lovely option and, in solidarity with Ukraine, are donating £1 from every sale from their Swiss cheese factory to Choose Love, a charity that works to provide lifesaving help to people forced to flee their country.
6. Habitat Flip Clock
Sadly no longer available to buy on the Habitat website, this classic flip clock is loved by many design studios across the UK. For a decent alternative, we recommend heading to industry favorite Present & Correct. We particularly like its Flip Clock/Calendar on sale for £195. Made by a small company in Hong Kong since 1968, you can opt for one in yellow, black or grey. An absolute classic. (And we spotted some at Pentagram, you don’t know!)
7. A miniature fridge
A small refrigerator is an essential addition to any design studio for beers, for milk in the office and for keeping chocolate cool in the summer. One particular classic that keeps resurfacing over and over again is the ridiculously wonderful Marshall Fridge. Reserved only for cool kids, it’s an icon of the creative industry.
8. G . F Smith
Yes, you have your important reference books like Swiss Graphic Design by Richard Hollis, Total Design 63-73 by Unit Edition and Twenty-Five Years at the Public by Paula Scher. But among these immense titles hides a booklet whose popularity is universal, it is The Collection Book of G . F Smith. It houses all the papers, weights and embossings it offers in its four key collections, from Colorplan to Fine. Yes, it is convenient. But it confirms very well what you do for a living and is often more of an ornament than an essential guide.
9. Corkboards, pegboards and panels
As creatives, we need inspiration. We need to be surrounded by art and design. The IKEA SKADIS gives you everything you need. Available in white, you can opt for just one or add several to make a larger version. Then use various accessories like hooks and small shelves to store your things. The best thing about a painting on your wall? You can swap things whenever inspiration strikes.
10. Desk Storage for Pens and Pencils
With so many gadgets, tools and stationery to keep us happy, we need proper storage space to keep our desks neat and tidy. But we don’t want just any box, folder or basket. It must be stylish. Enter Hay, the highly respected Danish design company. We love its colorful crates, versatile round storage containers, and just about everything it does. All of this can be seen in studios around the world. What if you still need more storage? The Boby Trolley is where it’s at. Keep it under or next to your desk for convenience.
So there you have it: the ten pieces of decor and furniture that you always see in design studios everywhere you go. We haven’t included other worthy contenders such as the honorary studio dog or the essential gumball machine. We also didn’t add a fixie bike hanging from a wall. However, in our research, we discovered a recent project by Ben The Illustrator where he asked creative friends on Twitter what their dream workspace would look like, and the results somewhat matched our breakdown of the essentials. We’ll just leave his resulting illustration here, providing further inspiration.