Artisan Blog

Information Overload: How to Switch Off and Take Control

Katty Douraghy - 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

Laura Pell - 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

Laura Pell - 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

Laura Pell - 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

Laura Pell - 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

Artisan Creative’s 5 Favorite Co-Working Spaces in Los Angeles

Katty Douraghy - Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Working from home can be a luxury for many people and let’s face it; spending time at your home office instead of a traffic jam is never a bad thing. Sometimes there are those days when you just need interaction. Whether it comes in the form of friendly conversation with a guy one desk over or soaking up inspiration from beautiful architecture and surroundings, it’s good to have a change of scenery.  With that in mind, we decided to share some of our favorite spots across the city to inspire your creativity and pique your mood.

The Unique Space
Arts District, Downtown
Living up to its name, The Unique Space is a beautiful historic factory turned co-working spot home to innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. We love their library filled with helpful resources and the fact that they even have bikes to borrow along with a rooftop terrace to take a break. Did we mention this spot has everything?

The Hub LA
Arts District, Downtown
The Hub is 7000 square feet of open plan flooring and tall windows allowing plenty of light. What’s great about The Hub is that they have Media Lab which boasts post-production suites, spaces for filming and screening. You’ll also find a host of General Assembly events along with film screenings and workshops.

Kleverdog CoWorking
Kleverdog is an Artisan favorite and a regular place for us to hold company events and meetings. The atmosphere at Kleverdog is relaxed and as such, feels like a home away from home. With 24/7 access and a favorite with developers, designers and writers you’re never short of finding new conversations and even a friendly office dog.

Santa Monica, Downtown, Mid-Wilshire
One of the original co-working spaces opened its doors at Mid-Wilshire and most recently, Santa Monica and Downtown. The architecture of their buildings is beautiful and clearly a lot of time and effort went into the construction and layout of their spaces (owner Jerome is also an architect). We’ve used both Downtown and Mid-Wilshire locations and they’re great for meetings, co-working and events.

Little Tokyo
Opodz blends technology, community and culture into one cohesive space which allows co-working, art events and lectures. This week they’re hosting a UX Strategy lecture and they even feature their resident co-working colleagues on their website which is a thoughtful touch.

Do you have a favorite co-working space of your own that hasn’t been featured? We’re always on the lookout for new places to explore so share your recommendations in the comments.

Laura Pell | Talent Acquisition | Artisan Creative   

9 Tech Gadgets to Spruce Up Your Work Desk

Katty Douraghy - Tuesday, September 16, 2014


The majority of us spend a good chunk of our 8 hour workday sitting at our desk crunching numbers, writing emails, and staring at the screen.  With so much time spent in one spot, why not deck it out with some cool desk gadgets to help spruce up the livelihood of your workspace?

Check out these 9 fun and (mostly) useful tech gadgets to add to your work desk!

Android Humidifier
With the dry winter air just around the corner, you'll want this handy dandy guy around to keep your nose breathing right.  Say Hello to the Android Humidifier and your newest desk buddy!  One fully loaded humidifier works for 10 hours without a mechanical drive, no noise or pollution and low energy consumption.  Bonus plus? Rotate his arms up and it will be like he's cheering you on all day.

Cable Clips
If your desk looks anything like ours, it most likely has a web of wires collecting on the floor waiting for you to untangle when you happen to need one.  Guess what?  There's a very simple solution and extremely affordable fix for that! These adhesive colorful cable clips help keep all your wires organized and ready to use at a moment's notice.  

Desk Cycle
Looking for a way to burn calories and improve your mood while at your desk? You might want to invest in a DeskCycle.  Specifically designed to be used in the work environment with its smooth and quiet operation, this convenient equipment is a great workout alternative for those busy work days where you just can't escape to the gym.

Digital Smart Pen
If you find yourself furiously jotting down every word at meetings or during phone calls, this pen may be the perfect solution.  Livescribe's Echo Smartpen records everything you write and hear, replays your meetings for later review, searches for words within notes, and much more allowing you to actually be present and focused on the meeting at hand.  With Wi-Fi accessibility, this is truly note taking of the 21st Century!

Laser Projection Keyboard
Is there anything wrong with your existing keyboard? Probably not, but how much cooler would your desk look with one of these laser projection virtual keyboards! Compatible with your smart phone, tablet or laptop, this device projects a virtual keyboard onto your flat desk surface through Bluetooth technology allowing for not only more space but a futuristic desk sure to turn a few heads.

Play More Notepad
What this next must-have desk item lacks in tech points, it makes up for in creative inner child glory.  Notepad paper that looks like a sports ball when crumbled up is just pure genius and an awesome way to add some fun into your workspace.  Turn your next brainstorming session into a friendly ball game!

iPhone Handset
Add some retro fun to your desk with this cell phone handset.  Compatible with most phones and tablets, this accessory is both functional, charming and perfect for those who use their cell phone as their main work phone, too. 

Mug Warmer
Keep your cup of coffee or tea warm throughout the day with this small desk size mug warmer.  With a convenient on / off switch, you can enjoy a warm cup of your favorite pick me up any time of the day.  Similarly, run a quick search and you can find a beverage chiller to keep your favorite refreshers cool all day as well.

Office Putty
We can name a handful of things on your desk that are a magnet for dust and small debris.  This cool Cyber Clean Putty squeezes into the most stubborn and small crevices to pull out last week's bagel crumbs and office dog hair to reveal a clean and spotless desk.

Jen Huynh - Recruiter  Artisan Creative


Vacation Planning Best Practices

Katty Douraghy - Tuesday, September 09, 2014


The summer holiday season is over, and everyone at Artisan is now looking forward to the fall season.  This summer our team traveled to the far reaches of the globe…from Hawaii, Texas, and New York to England, France, Germany, Switzerland, Taiwan and Zimbabwe.

We asked our team to share their pre- and post-trip planning process.  Even though the summer holiday season is over, we hope the following tips help you plan for any time away from the office.

 Vacation Planning Best Practices

  1. Be Proactive. Contact clients and key stakeholders a few weeks ahead of time to let them know of your upcoming vacation schedule.  This will give everyone an opportunity to address any project needs and plan accordingly.

  2.  Status updates. If you are mid-project, or have direct reports, make it a point to meet with your team before leaving and within a day upon your return for status updates.

  3. Prioritize & Delegate. Create a step-by-step process of all pending projects.  Prioritize for your team and clearly assign tasks that require a follow-up.  Tools like Basecamp make it easy to keeps track of the communication and makes it easy to get caught up when you get back.

  4. OOO. Set your out of office response with the names and contact info of colleagues who will be supporting you while you are away.  This alleviates frustration and any lag time for urgent needs.

  5.  Inbox planning. Use Rules and Filters to manage your inbox while you are away. Unsubscribe from non-essentials newsletters and notifications or direct them to a specific folder.

  6. Minimize travel day stress. Pack your bags, print out travel itineraries and make sure you're ready a few days prior to travel so your last working day isn't affected by any pre travel stress.

  7. Plan your first day back to work before you leave so your expectations are set beforehand.  Have your to-do list ready to go!

  8. Tidy your desk & desktop.  Coming back to paper or digital clutter is no fun.

  9. Your body and mind need time to recharge. Trust your team to handle urgent issues while you are away.

  10.  Have Fun!

Artisan Creative Team

Team Building Activities Outside the Office

Katty Douraghy - Wednesday, August 27, 2014


How often do you spend time with co-workers outside of work? Whether it’s each quarter or each year, team building activities are not only an opportunity to get to know colleagues better and form lasting relationships, it’s also a fun way to explore Los Angeles and San Francisco attractions. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite events. Share your favorite places in the comments!

Paint Nite
Artisan Creative recently spent an evening eating, drinking and embracing their creativity at Burbank’s Paint Nite. The premise of the evening is to hone your creative skills in a social environment. Armed with paint, brushes and a canvas, you spend the evening following the direction of an art instructor and painting step-by-step (with oodles of wine). The finished result is rather remarkable and allows an opportunity to create individually and independently while working in a team environment – it’s perfect for all personality types and super fun!

Groundlings is an improvisation and sketch comedy theater based in LA responsible for training a whole host of comedians including Will Farrell and Lisa Kudrow.  As a non-profit, they are one of the go-to companies in the country for improv comedy which makes them a great place to spend time with co-workers. The Intro to Improv is a one-day workshop aimed at building confidence and creativity through games and exercises.

The Gentle Barn
The Gentle Barn is an animal paradise and the perfect way to get up close and personal with rescued animals. Their repertoire of animals includes some very relaxed cows, friendly turkeys who love to be cuddled, pigs, llamas, chickens, goats and horses. Each animal has a history of abuse and was saved by the organization. Based in Santa Clarita, you spend the day learning about each animal by feeding and snuggling. They also have a delicious vegan BBQ and cupcakes.

San Francisco Nerd Night & Los Angeles Nerd Night
A once-monthly event with engaging lectures on a whole range of subjects from 3D printers to crosswords and spacecraft. With beer and grilled cheese sandwiches at hand, the evening is relaxed, informative and entertaining. Tickets tend to sell out fast so make sure to book in advance! They’ve also just launched a Nerd Night North Bay which you can find here.

Farallones Marine Sanctuary
A non-profit based on the gulf of San Francisco, Farallones Marine Sanctuary is a haven for teams who want to get out of the city for a day and spend time in the great outdoors. They have a whole host of activities including fishing, whale watching, surfing, kayaking and boating.

Los Angeles Conservancy
LA is steeped with history and beauty but sometimes you just need to know where to find it -- that’s where LA Conservancy comes in. They hold regular walking tours with skilled experts who know everything there is to know about LA architecture and culture. Our favorite tours are their Art Deco and Renaissance walks where you can explore the historic downtown areas across the vibrant city.

San Francisco Food Tours
Taking a culinary journey through the heart of San Francisco sounds like our idea of heaven. San Francisco Food Tours takes you to local artisan companies from Little Italy to the oldest bakery in China Town to authentic Western Saloons.  There’s something for everyone with these types of tours: delicious coffee, exploring old Beat neighborhoods and handmade chocolates. They also cater to group bookings of all sizes which is perfect for every company.

Laura Pell | Talent Acquisition | Artisan Creative 

Boost Your Summer Creativity

Wendy Stackhouse - Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Do you feel more or less creative in the summer months? High temperatures and humidity can seem to leach energy and productivity right out of our day. There are, however, some special things about the summer season that we can use to boost creativity if we let them:

Time with family

From K through college, kids are home for the summer and underfoot. But don’t let work stop you from spending some quality time with them--it could actually make you more creative. Let their enthusiasm boost your own and make sure to remember any crazy ideas that come to you during special playtimes.


A small change of scene can make a big difference, but a big change of scene can do even more. Even the light is different in another country. Be especially present when you are somewhere new and different, take lots of pictures to help you recapture how you felt there, and carry a notepad with you just in case of a brilliant insight.


We can’t play and travel all summer--sometimes we have to get some work done. “All work and no play…” isn’t a well-known saying for nothing, though. It’s okay to slow down, take breaks and remember why you love to do what you do. We are hardwired to think of summer as a slower season so go ahead and do so. You will probably improve your productivity during working hours.

Try something new

What have you always wanted to learn? Whether work-related or a new hobby, learning something new changes your perspective on the familiar and may spark new solutions to old problems. 

My family decided to take a break and vacation right at the beginning of the summer, and now I get to use all that inspiration from traveling with them overseas to rejuvenate my creativity. What are you doing to boost yours?

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

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