Artisan Blog

How to Hire Creatives

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


Hiring qualified talent for creative roles (digital, marketing, UX or design) is an art unto itself.

In addition to reviewing resumes and looking for specific skills or years of experience, reviewing a portfolio and understanding the nuances in a creative’s work requires a unique talent. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Here are 3 tips to consider when looking to hire creative talent and evaluating portfolios.

1. Concept or Execution

Are you looking for a conceptual creative or one who is more executional? A conceptual talent ideates, pushes the creative boundaries, comes up with new ideas, new campaigns and a way to challenge the status quo. This person may or may not have hands-on skills— as they concept and ideate, someone else may actually sit behind a computer to bring it to life and take it to the finish line.

An executional candidate is someone who is very hands-on still. They know all the design programs well, can take the big picture idea and apply it to a variety of formats and deliverables. They’re able to read between the lines, interpret the big idea and execute it across multiple media and channels.

In some instances, one person can have both strengths—or they may favor one over the other. Who do you need on your team?

2. Your Brand

When looking at a resume and comparing two design talent, both may have similar proficiency with design programs, both may have the same years of experience and both may seem like the ideal candidate…on paper. When reviewing creative talent, a portfolio must accompany the resume, and in many cases it holds more weight than the resume.

When you review portfolio links, you may notice one designer’s aesthetic is bright, colorful, fun and illustrative, while the other candidate is minimalistic and corporate with a clean UI design aesthetic.

Both are beautiful, which aesthetic fits best within your company brand?

3. The Portfolio and to How Navigate it

When reviewing a portfolio, it can be difficult to get the full picture. Designers often work in collaboration with others: art directors, illustrators, copywriters, production artists, developers and many other talented teammates

How can you best tell who was involved in the work you are reviewing?

If the information isn't clearly defined in the sample, ask for clarification to help you get the full picture.

Do you need help hiring creative talent? Connect with us.


5 Morning Habits of Productive People

Wednesday, August 31, 2016


No matter your sleeping habits or natural rhythms, we all have a starting routine to our day. However, one of the things that makes successful and productive people the way they are is how they handle their morning routine. Here are our tips on how you can go from chaos to clarity in the morning, and lead yourself into a productive and creative day.

1. Think. Whether it’s meditating, journaling or simply being still, take a few minutes to think about your day. Clearing your head before the day starts is a great way to help you stay productive throughout the day. Focus on being present and what’s happening right now, not what’s going to happen in the later morning or afternoon or evening. If it helps, use an app to guide you through a morning meditation. Some will even help you focus on a particular area, such as reducing anxiety or improving creativity.

2. Exercise. Getting in even seven minutes of exercise and a few minutes of stretching can go a long way towards improving your physical energy. If you have time, getting in a full workout before the work day begins means you’ll be able to focus on work and do other things with your evening. Even if you don’t have time for a full workout, just the act of moving your body first thing in the morning means you’re using it in a meaningful way, which is in and of itself productive.

3. Eat healthy. Starting the day off with a healthy breakfast is a surefire way to give your body the fuel it needs to get through the day. It’s also a way to continue focusing on your morning and make sure that you get a moment to eat, especially if you have a busy day. Try blending greens together in a smoothie for something quick, or focus on healthier fare like greens, lean protein, and complex carbs.

4. Focus. Instead of looking to your to-do task for the day and stressing out over it, take this moment to look ahead. What do you want to achieve? By knowing what’s coming up, you’ll be able to map out your to-dos for today more easily. For example, if tomorrow is a big deadline for a project, you can plan ahead so your work day helps you get done anything you need to help reach that deadline.

5. Don’t Plug-in! Instead of immediately checking social media profiles or emails, try to resist the urge to “plug in”. Use this time to focus to set priorities or learn--like reading a chapter in a book, or learning a new language, or doing something creative--anything to help prep for the day. This will help you stay focused instead of worrying about what’s coming based on an email sent.

~Nadia Osman for Artisan Creative

How to Make the Most of Brainstorming Sessions

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Collaboration is key for creative teams. Here ere are a few tips to maximize your productivity in group brainstorming sessions:
  • Define a goal before the meeting. Send out an agenda in advance to let team members mull over the purpose of the session so they have time to come in with a few good ideas.
  • Set ground rules. If all ideas are good or you’re going for a “blue sky” atmosphere, let everyone know that so they feel confident to share. Whatever your ground rules are, state them at the top so everyone understands, and feel free to chime in if the rules are being broken. 
  • Encourage openness. Sometimes, brainstorming sessions fail because team members feel pressured to conform to certain ideas on the spot. Set a tone of non-judgement and invite all ideas to be voiced in a comfortable setting.
  • Don’t discuss or problem solve ideas. Set this as one your ground rules. Problem solving will hamper the creative free flow of ideas and eat away at the timelines. Capture all concepts first and then explore further.
  • Assign a facilitator or scribe. This person can capture all the ideas on the board. They will be facilitating and not part of the brainstorming itself and can ensures all team voices are heard equally. They can helps the group on track, take notes, assign follow up and next steps.
  • Set timetables. Give everyone thirty seconds and go around the table and capture one word ideas or one phrase ideas. Go around the room as often as possible to capture as many ideas as possible within your set time parameters.
  • Get creative. If your group needs help to get started, play improv games, doodle, stand and walk while pitching, or create mood boards to help the team get out of their heads. Encourage everyone to offer their own ways of busting out of a creative rut, and apply it to the group dynamic.
  • Don’t decide on the spot. Plan for reflection time for the team to think and react to the ideas they heard, then ask them to share their top choices. If scheduling a second meeting is not possible, then take a 10 minute-break. Allow the team to stretch their legs, get some fresh air and reflect, and then come back together to discuss decision and executing on the chosen ideas.
What are some of your tips for making the most out of a brainstorming session?

Artisan Creative is celebrating our 20th year staffing and recruiting Creative, Digital and Marketing roles. Please visit Roles We Place for a complete listing of our expertise.

Click here if you are looking to hire. Click here if you are looking for work.

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15 Ways to Jumpstart Your Creative Process Now

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

As a creative professional, it’s your job to create. But sometimes, that creative spark you’re known for just won’t ignite. Here are 15 ways you can jumpstart your creativity, right now and later:

Right Now:

  • Go for a walk. Physical movement can get your brain going in a way that staring at the wall cannot. If you meditate, consider a walking meditation to clear your head space. 
  • Listen to music. Whether it’s classics you love, something new, or even ambient noise, fire up a playlist. It’s about getting in the right mood to free your mind and get ideas flowing.
  • Read something new. The Internet has a seemingly endless supply of content that goes beyond cat videos or Buzzfeed quizzes. Give yourself a time limit and go down a creative wormhole by searching designers, writers, and other artists you admire. (Our Pinterest page is full of illustrations and designs that inspire us!)
  • Change colors. Blue activates a “promotion focus” and helps enhances performance on creative tasks, according to this study. Change your desktop background picture, or study nature-drive photos of blue oceans, skies, and so on.
  • Doodle. Even if you draw for a living, bust out a pen and paper and draw. Don’t think. If you prefer to free write instead, do that. Or play a game on your phone, or use your desk supplies as wannabe Legos. Enjoy the physical sensation of touch, and let the mind wander.
On the Weekends:

  • Turn off your brain. Watch a silly movie, an uplifting documentary, or some crazy reality TV to give your brain the break it deserves. 
  • Keep a journal. Even if you don’t write in it religiously, having a journal (or a sketchbook) is a great way to express your inner thoughts and feelings. Something you jot down as a half thought could become the start of something big!
  • Do the dishes. Tasks like sweeping, vacuuming, or mowing the lawn allow your subconscious to do its thing and not think too hard so new ideas can enter. 
  • Make a list. Sometimes the simple act of writing it all out can free up brain space. Write down everything you think you need to do -- and be specific! If you’re preoccupied with redecorating your bedroom, list out each item and its task (go to the store, choose paint color, buy paint, etc)
  • Go outside your comfort zone. Branch out. Have lunch with a different friend. Try a new form of exercise. Read a book you wouldn’t normally buy. Plan a trip to a museum. Head to the beach if you’re a “mountain” person. It might be your next source of inspiration.
In General:

  • Exercise! Release those endorphins and help boost your creativity.
  • Don’t try to be perfect. The more you focus on trying to make something perfect, the more likely you’ll drive yourself crazy. Allow yourself to be messy, unpolished, and well...unperfect. You can always edit or change something later. Just try to go with the creative flow!
  • Silence your critic. Your inner critic -- the voice that tells you “this isn’t good enough” -- is just as bad as perfectionism. Color outside the lines and tell that negative voice inside of you to be quiet until you’re finished drawing. 
  • Reverse think. If you’re struggling with a specific problem, go at it from another angle. Try reversing your assumptions about the issue at hand, and see what ideas pop up from that. Getting to the point where you can effectively describe a problem’s contradictions will get you on your way to solving it. 
  • Look for connections. Combine something you’re thinking of with something that inspires you. Through idea generation exercises, force unrelated ideas to fit, and see if anything sticks.
  • Carve out time for you. To the best of your ability, think ahead and carve out some “me” time at the office. It doesn’t have to be long (it could be as short as 15 minutes), but it does have to be time for you to breathe and be, without worrying about meetings, emails, or busywork.
How to do recharge and reboot your creative process? Share your tips and tricks with us on our Facebook page!

5 Ways to Unblock Creative Blocks

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

For creative professionals, creative blocks are not just a moment of unproductivity. They can be frustrating, maddening stretches of time, potentially affecting deadlines and deliverables.  As a creative you can’t afford to run out of ideas!  It can happen to anyone!  However, not all hope is lost. Here are five ways to help jumpstart your creativity again:

  1. Stick to a routine. If your schedule has been off recently, it might be keeping your brain too busy to let creative thoughts flow naturally. Commit to at least one routine thing, such as waking up at the same time every morning, meditating for 15 minutes a day, or cleaning up your work space.  A cluttered desk can lead to a cluttered mind.  You’ll be surprised what great idea might pop into your brain when you’re concentrating on mundane, uncreative tasks instead.

  2. Go for a walk. Sometimes the best thing you can do is walk away -- literally. Take a walk around the building, in the park, by the beach, or wherever you like. Don’t think too hard about anything when you do. Put headphones on and listen to your favorite music or some podcasts. Let whatever thoughts you want enter your head without judgment. And if you can’t get outside, just step away from your desk and give yourself a break.

  3. Stay motivated. Inspiration comes from all kinds of sources. Look beyond your own work and colleagues into other creative work. Listen to new bands or rediscover old ones. Study fashion, photography, art pieces, and film. Go beyond your comfort zone and seek out completely new artistry.  Look at illustrations, design, branding, packaging, typography and more from a variety of industries. Let nature inspire you. What strikes you as interesting? What gives you that “eureka!” moment?

  4. Keep a swipe file. Austin Kleon talks about having a “swipe” file at the ready so you can “steal” ideas, or jot down new ones. It doesn’t matter if it’s a physical notebook or a digital one, so long as it’s something you can access easily and carry all your ideas in one place. Designers and illustrators might want to consider carrying a sketchbook so they can sketch out ideas instead of just making a note of them.

  5. Explore all options. You may be looking at a problem from a familiar perspective. Don’t make assumptions or let your inner critic stop you from coming up with another approach. Look at the issue from every angle. Train yourself not to run away from ideas that may not seem to fit right away. Instead, see if there’s a way to turn it into something. It’s not about getting a square peg into a round hole -- it’s about shifting your concept of pegs and holes altogether.

How do you get past creative blocks? Connect on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter, and share how you overcome blocks to find the best solutions to your creative needs.

Information Overload: How to Switch Off and Take Control

Wednesday, June 03, 2015


For some time now, I have been astonished with the deluge of information coming from every source imaginable.   My social networks seem to be buzzing with the latest architectural craze,  the cutest cat videos to the top 50 of the world’s most spectacular destinations and so much more.

All is good and fun and I enjoying clicking through as much as the next person—but I realized that I was filling my brain with lots of (mostly useless) information, and I wasn’t really stretching my brain much.   

I stretch my body with yoga and Pilates, but what was I doing to stretch my mind?

This past January I set out to create a plan to help stretch my mind. Now that I have been active with it for the past 5 months I wanted to share my findings.  These are some of the tools I’ve applied:

I have a hard time quieting my active mind.   My thoughts tend to jump from branch to branch like an active monkey.  Meditating does not come easy to me, but I am finding immense value in it.  By working on quieting my mind, I am finding a certain calmness and peace towards solving complex issues.   Sometimes I even meditate on that issue and the focus and clarity has done wonders for me.

Learn something new everyday: 
Each day I set aside 15 minutes to learn something new.  In our line of business it’s important to keep up with the market trends, so I block 15 minutes each day to read up on the latest SEO trends, or newest development platforms, or read design-related articles. By the end of the week, I’ve gained some valuable preliminary information, and then I can decide whether to continue the same topic into the next week and delve deeper, or if its time to select a new topic.  


I love to dance, yet I am not a very good dancer.  It doesn’t stop me though from trying it on a several times a week.  I find trying to remember the various dance steps and choreography, is actually helping me both mentally and physically.  Although you’ll never find me on Dancing with the Stars, I do get immense satisfaction with how my mind gets expanded while my body is getting a workout.

I started with the Day One App.  Truth be told, I am not writing everyday, its more like 3 or so times a week.  I write a recap of the past few days, I write three gratitudes, and then via the app I can attach an image that sums up my thoughts and feelings.  I am still working towards doing this daily, however I am happy with the amount I have been doing thus far.

Once I perfect the above and can commit to daily journaling,  I will add learning a new language to my mind stretching routine.  Using the Duolingo app to work on my very poor command of the Spanish and try to improve by practicing and expanding my vocabulary will be an exciting new challenge that I am looking to undertake in the latter part of this year.

Do you have any tips to share as to how do you stretch your mind?

Katty Douraghy - President at Artisan Creative 

Agency vs. Client Side

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


For many people, there comes a time in your career when you start considering what it would be like to work on the other side. There’s no right answer: agency life can often involve long hours and multiple clients, but it can also be very rewarding. Perhaps working for a brand is more suited to you if you like to specialize in one area and take ownership? Many of our candidates talk about their desires to work for the other team so what better way to help you make the decision than by comparing them side by side.

What’s it like to work at an agency?
Agency life can often have a reputation for long days and hard work, but on the upside you get to flex your creativity and have exposure to many different accounts and brands. You can be working on a last minute project one day then quickly switch gears onto a pitch or something entirely different the next. Multitasking is king so you must be switched on and ready to take anything thrown your way.

For designers, an agency is a perfect way to build your portfolio. You can show a breadth of work with multiple brands while proving to future hiring managers you have what it takes to survive in a fast-paced and deadline-driven environment. This rings true for those in marketing, client services or similar verticals.  Being exposed to many different brands also means you will qualify for more jobs in the future so think about where you want to be in 5-10 years and make sure your current responsibilities are in alignment with your future goals.

What’s it like to work client side?
Unlike agency life which can be very seasonal, workflow in-house is often more stable and predictable. Projects are usually repeated (and improved upon) each year so you know what to expect and when. There’s also a sense of brand familiarity. You will live and breathe one brand and their message so you can become specialized in their area, such as CPG or technology. There’s also the added job security -- agencies are reliant upon business from their clients; if one client leaves it can put jobs at risk. We’re not saying that layoffs don’t happen for in-house companies because sadly they do, but it can be less of a concern.

In the end, it comes down to what you want to get out of your career. If you like high energy and a variety of work, perhaps the agency world is where you will thrive, but if you feel you want brand familiarity, it could be time to look at client side.

Have you worked on both sides before? How did the experiences differ? Share your thoughts and experiences with us on Twitter @artisanupdates.

 Laura Pell - Recruiter at Artisan Creative

Meet & Greet with Artisan

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


The holiday season is right around the corner but before you start stuffing turkeys and eating pumpkin pie, Artisan has a special event to ease you into the spirit of Thanksgiving.

On Tuesday, November 18th we’ll be at our favorite co-working space, Kleverdog in Chinatown, Los Angeles for a meet & greet with job seekers and a drive to benefit two of our favorite charities.

We’ll be hosting the Meet & Greet with Artisan from 4PM – 7PM which will give people an opportunity to meet with our team and put faces to names. Bring your resume along and we will chat through open jobs, career advice and resumes to help your job search be a successful one.  We’ll have delicious snacks available, too!

Our chosen charities are NKLA and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. As advocates of rescue animals and with some of our team members being parents, we’ve chosen two non-profits close to our hearts.

No Kill Los Angeles
NKLA is a pet adoption center led by Best Friends Animal Society. They’ve been working closely with animal welfare organizations, pet shelters and volunteers to help end the killing of healthy animals. They offer spay/neuter services and hold events across the city to help find forever homes for unwanted animals. They have their own adoption center in Santa Monica so if you’re looking for a furry friend, be sure to check out their available animals or next adoption event.
Donations to bring to the Meet & Greet:  pet food (unopened and unused), pet treats and toys.

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
A non-profit hospital serving over 100,000 children each year through care, education and research. With only 10 children’s hospitals in the US, CHLA are ranked #5 in the nation. The entire hospital is designed for children and families and they depend on donations to help heal the children.
Donations to bring to the Meet & Greet: Books, unused toys, coloring books and more. Check out their wish lists here.

Make sure you RSVP and give us a heads-up if you are planning to attend. We look forward to getting into the holiday spirit with you next week and collecting some wonderful gifts for NKLA and CHLA.

Laura Pell - Recruiter at Artisan Creative


A Guide to Relocating to Los Angeles

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


So you want to move to Los Angeles, but now what? LA is a place unlike any other. There’s the entertainment industry, the growing start-up area of Silicon Beach, the emerging creative world of downtown – it’s hard to know where to begin. As American poet and critic Dorothy Parker so eloquently put it, “LA is 72 suburbs in search of a city”. If you’ve yet to visit LA, it will all make sense when you arrive.

First of all, you will need to plan. Are you able to move without landing a job first? Do you need to find an apartment? If you’re outside of the US, can you legally work here? Careful planning and research will allow you to figure out budgets, timelines and scope. LA is an exciting city to live in and opportunities can be plentiful if you work at it.

Finding Work
Identify a few recruitment agencies you’re interested in working with.  If you plan to make the move to LA after you find a job, be clear and concise with your timeline. Outline your availability for in-person interviews and communicate your travel arrangements. If you’re clear on these factors, it makes working together more seamless and cohesive.
If you’re planning to move here first, keep in mind that LA’s industry is very different to that of say, New York or London. It can take many people a few months to find work so be financially and mentally prepared.

Living in LA without a car is not impossible, but it is tough. LA is basically a series of towns connected by freeways. There’s a Metro system which can take you through Hollywood and as far as Long Beach and downtown but if you want to work on the westside, your options are buses or a ridesharing service such as SideCar or Uber. If you plan on using public transport, be clear to recruiters and companies you’re working with that you are without a car. That way they can look at their client base in your local area.

LA comes at a price. LA Times recently warned Angelenos to prepare for rent hikes over the next two years. Rent prices in areas such as Newport Beach where they’ve experienced a tech-boom average 2.5k per month. Renting rooms, sharing houses or renting studios are commonplace. Decide what will work for you with your budget but remember; LA salaries aren’t quite in line with New York or San Francisco. Use places like Glassdoor to find out salaries of companies and positions you’re interested in and ask your recruiter to guide you on average market rates.

Making Friends
Rest assured that your friends and family will always want to visit the City of Angels. With the constant sunny weather and palm trees, it’s an inspiring city to explore. Use to find local events (and if you’re in the UX space, be sure to check out our friends over at LAUX MeetUp) and peruse our recent blog about co-working spaces which is a great place to start networking and making friends.

Have you made the move to LA and had similar experiences? Share your thoughts with us over on Twitter @ArtisanUpdates.


Artisan Creative’s 5 Favorite Co-Working Spaces in San Francisco

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


We’re well aware that San Francisco is one of the most expensive cities in the US for cost of living, so starting out on your own or freelancing can be tough. With inflated rent and property prices, renting your own office space is out of the question for many. With that in mind, we’re featuring five of our favorite co-working spaces in San Francisco. Ranging from tech communities to shared living spaces, there’s something for everyone.

What we love about StartupHouse is that they have so many resources available for budding entrepreneurs or contactors. Finding accountants, legal advice or even sorting benefits can be time consuming and tricky but they have experts on-hand to give guidance and essentially free up your time. With 50 workspaces available, StartupHouse aims to be the home of builders, bootstrappers and disruptors. Located on Howard Street, they’re central to just about everything.

With two co-working options, Parisoma offers an open desk package which entitles you to attend their wide array of events (including delicious breakfasts) or a dedicated desk which includes 6 hours of conference room time per month. With 24/7 access, monthly and weekly events and workshops including hackathons, their modern open space is perfect for co-working. Parisoma has been home to many startups including QuickPay and Scoop.It. If you want your startup to have optimal resources available and intend on having client meetings, Parisoma is worth checking out.

Citizen Space
Citizen Space is a wonderful option if you just want to test the waters and try co-working. They have packages ranging from hourly drop-ins to full monthly dedicated desks. If that’s not enough, they have unlimited conference room time and perks such as snacks and coffee but best of all, a pet policy! You can bring your furfriends with you while you work. With a central location and a host of creative types renting office space, it’s a great atmosphere to meet new people, hang out and work.

This friendly, open-plan environment is great for designers, developers and entrepreneurs alike who want to live and work in a creative community. With co-working desks as well as bedrooms to rent as living spaces, there’s a real community feel to the company. 20Mission hold regular events aimed at their members which includes video game nights, art gallery showings and parties held on their patio.  Their memberships are great value for money and also have half-day passes available.

NextSpace has an array of locations across California including San Francisco, Union Square and San Jose. They act as more of a trendy, established agency who understand the needs of their members. As a member, you get benefits such as free ZipCar membership, 24/7 access and reduced gym rates. With tons of natural light and central locations (accessible by BART) plus a care facility for parents who need childcare, their vibrant community couldn’t be better. 

Laura Pell - Recruiter at Artisan Creative


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