Artisan Blog

First Day on the Job: How to Make Your First Day a Success

Laura Pell - Wednesday, January 14, 2015


The first day at a new job is nerve-wracking for everyone and first day nerves should be expected as you prepare to meet your new team members, managers and departments. To make sure it's a positive experience for both you and your new company, we put together a few of our favorite points to make your first day an absolute success.

First day success falls into two categories:  Operational and Interpersonal. 

The first step for Operational success starts before the start day. 

What are the orientation or training plans?  Does your new company or assignment have an on-boarding plan in place?  Will there be a workstation waiting for you?  Will you be working on a Mac or PC?  Will there be a team of people or will you be the solo designer for the day?  If you are working with a recruiter, they should provide these details for you ahead of time.

Equally important are the Interpersonal skills such as meeting and interacting with your new supervisors and coworkers.  Before you start, take a look at LinkedIn and your new company's social media pages to get a sense of the team, interests and company culture.



Introducing yourself to new people can be daunting, especially if you're an introvert, but making an effort at the start will have its benefits in the long run. First impressions are lasting impressions so make a point to introduce yourself to your new team and have a quick chat with people you meet in the kitchen, the elevator or just around the office. Ask questions about what they do at the company and what they like about working there. Let them know what department you are joining and offer to help if they need anything from your team.


We'll let you into a not-so-secret secret. Everyone loves cupcakes or some kind of treat. Taking in a box of cupcakes or candy for your team is a delicious little ice-breaker and gives you a reason to walk up to new people and make your introductions. Setup business lunches to make more formal introductions and learn as much as you can about the company and its people.


At the early stages, it’s best to listen more than to talk. Get to know everyone’s communication styles and personalities. You should be absorbing as much information as you can and asking questions so you can quickly get up to speed. Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know something, there’s always a learning curve with new jobs and it’s usually expected. Show up 15 minutes early, grab a coffee and be ready to tackle anything thrown your way. Oh, and don’t forget to smile!

How was your first day at your new job? Did you try any of these tips to get you through your first day?


Laura Pell - Artisan Creative


Achieving Goals: Why a Theme is More Effective Than a New Year’s Resolution

Laura Pell - Wednesday, January 07, 2015

How many times have you set a specific goal for yourself at the start of a year and achieved it? In a recent survey of over 1000 Americans, just 45% said they set resolutions for themselves. If you’re the type of person to say “I want to lose x amount of lbs” or “I’m going to read x amount of books each month” but have never quite attained your goals, consider setting yourself a theme instead.


What do we mean by theme?

A theme is an overarching mindset that you carry with you throughout the year – it can just be a single word. If your goal is to become healthier, ignore the introductory gym memberships and instead of setting rigid rules, try implementing healthier habits into your routine. With every decision you make, think of your theme or word.

This can be applied to just about any subject. If your goal is to find a new job this year, rather than set yourself the task of finding a new job, try thinking of a theme like “building relationships” or “making new connections”.  If you spend a whole year putting effort into business and personal relationships, at the end of the year you should have a much easier time with your expansive network.

Much like good design, you want to keep your themes simple. They need to be easy to navigate and clear. Without having to focus on specific measurables, you may find you’ve adopted new habits without even realizing it. Remember to stay open to new possibilities and changes in direction; the significant thing about having a theme instead of a resolution is that you never quite know where it will lead you.

Did you achieve last year’s resolutions? What theme will you set for yourself in 2015?

 Laura Pell - Artisan Creative

Holiday Shopping for Designers: 6 Gifts for the Creative in Your Life

Laura Pell - Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Christmas is a little over a week away and we’re betting that most of you have presents wrapped and ready to go. For the small handful of you that have left everything to the last minute, we picked out some of our favorite gifts for your creative team mates or friends. Amazon Prime is a sure way to get your online deliveries before the big day, although many companies are offering last minute shipping. We love giving unique gifts, things that people wouldn’t buy for themselves but will frequently use and appreciate so we picked out gifts we think designers will love.

DIY Print Shop
For those designers who love to create their own shirts or graphics, why not buy them a DIY print kit? They have a range of options including gig posters, table printing and shirts. It’s a nifty way to learn the screen printing trade at a relatively cheap price. They are taking orders for Christmas delivery until December 22nd

Bamboo Keyboard and Mouse
A biodegradable and environmentally friendly keyboard and mouse made entirely out of bamboo. This is an interesting way to make your desk stand out at work or at a home office. If you really want to go all out, you can even buy a matching calculator. The letters are engraved into the wood, offering a really unique way to get your work done.

Tuts Premium Membership
Tuts is an online resource to help people build upon their creative skills by self-directed learning. You can go at your own pace and learn a multitude of topics across code, design and illustration. If you’ve overheard conversations about wanting to create an app or brush up on photography skills, this is your chance to put the wheels in motion. They have over 18,000 tutorials available online by expert instructors. Find out more on their website.

Field Notes
If you watched this week’s viral design video, Lynda’s logo design challenge, you would have spotted the quick mention of Field Notes booklets. Inspired by old school vintage agricultural books, they are made in the USA and include some limited colors and editions. These are a must-have for any creative. 

Doxie One Photo and Document Scanner
We mentioned doc scanners in last week’s blog about managing finances and the need for managing documents. With the Doxie One Scanner you don’t have the hassle of connecting to computers and scanning your work – it sends directly to your favorite apps.

Inside The Sketchbooks of the World’s Greatest Designers
A glimpse into the minds of the world’s greatest designers and illustrators, this wonderful book aims to inspire creativity. Informative and visual, you never quite know what each page will bring. Different techniques and ideas are shown along with visual representations of some of the most creative minds. For designers who are always on a quest for new inspiration and ideas, this would be a cherished book.

What are your favorite gifts for creatives? What do you think of the gifts we’ve chosen? Share your ideas with us on Twitter @artisanupdates.

Laura Pell - Recruiter at Artisan Creative

Goal Setting: 10 Best Practices for Setting Goals

Katty Douraghy - Wednesday, December 03, 2014


Around this time of year, people start reflecting on the previous months and begin setting goals (and resolutions) for the coming year.

I’ve also always done this until a recent event changed my perspective completely.  It happened by chance on my birthday at the 180th Meridian, the international date line.  In a split second I was simultaneously standing in today and yesterday.  Quite amazing, however, it made me realize that a date is just an arbitrary number -- a line literally drawn on a map.

As I reflected on a new “birth year”, it made me realize that “start dates” can be counter-productive when it comes to setting goals and resolutions. Why wait until an arbitrary date in the future like Jan 1, or next week, or even tomorrow to make a change that will be impactful in your life or in your career?

Why wait to plan that once-in a-lifetime trip, why wait to plan your financial future, why wait to get healthy and fit?  All goals will require time and action steps to accomplish, so why delay the start until sometime in the future?

As human beings, we fall into a second trap of mistaking our daily to-do lists with our goals.  We often set too many goals and try to change too many things at once—and then we get busy with life and only accomplish a few of them.   Once we get busy, it’s easy to lose focus, and have the day-to-day to-dos of work, kids, school etc. take over the goals we want to accomplish.  How many times have we all said, “ I don’t have time to go to the gym”, or “I don’t have time to go on vacation!”

“You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage—pleasantly, smilingly and unapologetically— to say “no” to other things.” -Stephen Covey

Here are 10 Best Practices for setting goals that I have learned:

1)     Set only one or two (maximum) Key Goals you want to accomplish in a certain period of time
2)     Write down your goal and WHY is it important for you to accomplish this goal
3)     What do you need to STOP doing in order to accomplish this goal?
4)     Set a specific timeframe & metrics needed to accomplish the goal
5)     Work backwards from the date above and calendar the steps below
6)     Set the specific, actionable and controllable steps needed to reach that goal
7)     Ask yourself, am I in control of these action steps, or are they dependent on someone else? If so, change your action steps because you can’t let someone else control your goal, or plan an accountability metric and share it with that person
8)     Set check points along the way to track your progress
9)     Share your goals and action items with someone else and engage them as your accountability partner
Don’t wait…Start today!

Without specific mini steps along the way, the goal has the danger of becoming just a wish.

 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

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

Virtual Office Best Practices: 5 Tips For Working With Your Pets

Katty Douraghy - Wednesday, September 03, 2014


Trust me, nobody loves your 'work from home' job more than your pet. Despite being surrounded by all your loveable pooches, work is work no matter where your office is.  You know that, your boss knows that, but guess what? Your dogs have a different scenario in mind and the majority of their plan involves play time. I mean, why else would you be at home?

Before you break the gangs' hearts and send them to the dog hotel for the day or call up the pet sitter, read these tips on how to work with your dogs and make them your best co-workers.   

1.  Differentiate Between 'Crunch Time' and 'Break Time'

Make a habit of taking your dogs on a long morning walk before you begin your work day.  This will provide the exercise, stimulation, and bonding experience they need to take them right into a happy nap or quiet time while you attack the pile of emails waiting for you come 9am.  For the same reasons, opt for a game of fetch during lunch time to help cruise into the latter part of your day.  Your pups will soon learn play time is only when it is most convenient for you.  Make sure to have dog toys or other stimulating activities available during "quiet time" so they can entertain themselves while you work.

2.  Schedule Your Day Wisely
You certainly should not plan your day around your dogs but if they get excited every time the mailman comes, do not schedule any calls during that part of the day.  Be respectful of other's valuable time and eliminate as many nuances as possible. You may not mind the sound of dogs barking in the background but many people may find it distracting and unprofessional.

3. Have A Dog Free Zone

One of the biggest benefits of working from home is the ability to work in any Wi-Fi accessible space in your house.  As comfortable as these areas may be, they are an open invitation to your dogs to hang out with you.  While this is great, make sure there is an accessible space with a door you can go to for important calls, video meetings, or just an area for when you need to dedicate 120% of your attention on a task at hand.

4. Take Tiny Breaks
Instead of two 15 minutes breaks throughout the day, take several smaller ones.  These will allow you to let your dogs out and an even better opportunity for you to get some fresh air, clear your mind, and come back refreshed. The best ideas and creativity flows when you relax and allow your brain time to let information settle in and "click" while you roll out one of your infamous belly rubs.  Your dogs will thank you and your brain will reward you.

5. Enjoy Them!

Working from home can get lonely, but it doesn't have to be.  Your dogs will soon become your favorite office mates as you spend your days celebrating the highs and venting about the lows.  During slow or routine parts of your day, let them hang out with you.  Give them treats every now and then and scratches never go unnoticed.  

Before you know it, your dogs will crave this structure and look forward to play time while simmering down during quiet time.  They will play a vital role in boosting creativity and lowering stress levels so take advantage of your ability to work from home alongside your best furry friends.

Jen Huynh, Artisan Creative Recruiter and Dog Lover

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