We believe that independence breeds innovation at Red Thinking. Our design team is a collaborative force, but their creativity comes from first working on their own to bring their own unique perspective to a project. Without interruptions, they find more freedom. And, when they come together, their multiple visions lead to an even stronger solution.

Design is a process that is as collaborative as it is independent. For every brainstorming session that ignites creativity and sparks new perspectives, a designer needs heads down time to actually put those ideas onto paper (…or screen). And, since day one, the Red Thinking design team has found that one of the unexpected benefits of working from home is more time to focus on creativity in design. 

Without interruptions, we find more freedom. We’ve realized the most innovative designs come to life when each individual goes in their own direction without the influence of others. Each designer comes to the table with their own interpretation. Yet we work hard to avoid losing the power that comes from thinking through designs together and iterating towards a common brand goal. A mix of autonomy for focus, and collaboration, is key in graphic design phases because it brings together diverse perspectives and expertise, which enhances creativity and innovation. Plus, effective collaboration fosters clear communication, reduces misunderstandings, and ensures that design solutions are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. It also accelerates problem-solving and decision-making processes, leading to more cohesive and effective design outcomes!

Here’s how we focus on the creative process, how we believe independence breeds creativity in design, and how we approach working remotely, together.

Remote Work Culture in a Creative Design Agency

Red Thinking was founded as a work from home business from day one. We believed — and still believe — that hiring the best employees means trusting that they’ll do incredible work wherever their laptop is. We love spending time together, but we don’t need to do it in an office 8 hours a day.

We know that’s not how most creative design agencies work. But it works for us, and it instills a focus on balance, communication, time for out-of-the-box thinking, and creativity into our culture. When it comes to branding for designers, our team is always focused on how to be more creative and how to feed off each other’s creativity to come up with the best possible result. That means finding designated time for both independent work and connecting. 

Good design starts with getting on the same page with a kickoff, it evolves with each person running with their own inspiration, and it takes shape when everyone comes back together to share their unique vision.

When working remotely, making an intentional effort to connect with fellow designers is key. And, throughout the process, over-communication is critical, especially when the team finds  themselves stuck and in need of talking through ideas. We have multiple slack channels, DM threads, and group Zoom calls where we share things that inspire us, bring us joy, or make us laugh. It’s those connections that keep us moving forward creatively.

Why Independent Work is Crucial for Designers

Independent work is important for anyone at a brand strategy agency, whether it’s the account manager carefully working through detailed timelines or the copywriter massaging every word in a headline. But, perhaps more than anyone else, the design team has found that the ability to work remotely has perfected our ideal work style.

While teamwork is absolutely essential at a design agency, our individual strengths help fortify the team. As designers, we know that the outside perspective of design often stops at thinking it’s about making a logo or website look good.

But it’s so much more than that.

We need to organize information making it legible and digestible for a variety of audiences. We need to tell stories. We need to answer questions before the viewer even has a chance to have a question in the first place.

These goals can be kicked off in a group — and they should be. Talking through the challenges and problems that a design will solve makes sure that everyone is working towards the same goals. That’s the key to bridging work efficiency and creative inspiration. 

But it’s that independent work that allows us as designers to explore, play, and discover new solutions. Everyone comes to the design with a different vision, and, together, those lead to the strongest results. If everyone was working together throughout the process, those unique angles would be lost. We look into our own experiences and work with that. We see what we can come up with on our own first.

This also means every designer has an opportunity to approach a project in the way that their own creative brain works. For some designers, that means prototyping — taking the time to build out something physical to show the team to communicate. For others, they want to sketch out their initial thoughts. It all comes down to having the freedom to play and be creative.

Four Tips to Promote Independent Design Thinking at an Agency

As designers, working at an agency offers a unique opportunity to see new ideas and push the envelope on brands. We touch so many different clients and projects that the creative process naturally grows with each new challenge. It’s furthered by the ability to work remotely and design independently.

Here are four ways an agency can promote independent design.

  1. Establish a Culture of Trust

For a team to work independently, they have to be trusted. That could be the number one reason working remotely doesn’t work for everyone. At Red Thinking, we recognize that if we want our employees and coworkers to be independent thinkers, we need to give them space to be independent thinkers. We go in with a game plan and expectations laid out, then we watch things come together.

  1. Put Communication Channels Into Place

    Remote work thrives on over communication, whether that’s Slack, email, or regular check-in calls. Our team has the freedom to design on our own, but we have the team resources to help refine an idea, particularly if we’re stuck. We also have access to mini internal reviews and feedback that help tighten a design before it’s presented to our account executives.

    1. Equip the Team with the Right Technology Tools

    You can’t work independently and remotely without the right tools in your toolkit. Each designer needs to have access to everything from strong wifi to their preferred design software to creative and inspiration sites, stock photography/sound/music libraries, and tutorials and continuing education.

    1. Recognize that Inspiration Comes From Balance

    Staring at a computer for hours on end doesn’t usually spark inspiration, and the Red Thinking team knows that one of the benefits of remote work is the ability to step away. We love to take a minute to stretch our creative muscles in a different way. Some on our team like to grab some fresh air, take a notebook, and sketch something they see in front of them. Others like to change up their environment or scroll through inspiring art. 

    If we’re ever stuck, we just look around — which is a lot easier when you’re not in an office. Let the lines, textures, angles, and color of anything and everything inspire you, then bring that back to your computer.

    Succeeding as a New Designer in a Remote Agency Environment

    If you’re starting out as a new designer in a remote agency environment, you might be wondering, what is your work style? Will it thrive in a space where you’re working independently? It may not be for everyone, but this approach is where creativity grows .

    Be open to new ideas, projects, and needs, especially when trying to find the right solution for a client. This independent work approach and the ability to work remotely gives us space to learn and grow. Everyone comes to the table with unique ideas, but we come together to bring it to life. We all have our roles, and we’re also all willing to step in and support where needed — this helps us never lose that spark of learning a new program or way of thinking.

    Want to learn more about the creative solutions that are coming from Red Thinking’s design team’s innovation, including logo design services, website design, social media graphics, and more? Contact us today to chat about our design team’s process and the unique approach that’s driven over a decade of working independently, together.