Abhisek Sarda / 2016-08-12
Studio Version 2.0.1
I’ve always thought of Beard Design as an experiment. A lab to create the practices and organizational structure of the design studio of the future.
This experimental frame of mind reflects in everything we do – being based in Goa (without any clients within a 600 km radius), a design team that is half engineers, a practice that aims to break new ground in both Brand Design and UX Design, lack of any client servicing roles, zero bad debt (in an industry that averages ~30-40%), no pitching, abundant side projects… and the list goes on. It has, of course, helped that I never knew the traditional practices of design studios, having never gone to design school or worked at a design studio in my life.
“A lab to create the practices and organizational structure of the design studio of the future.”
Over the last four years, we’ve sailed through several versions of Beard Design. Through each version, we’ve discovered what we truly believed in, what gave us joy (apart from Bodoni!), what was profitable, what was foolish (having a phone number on our website!) and what the next version of our studio should be.
I’d say we are currently at V1.9.9 and to paraphrase Steve Jobs “It’s the best version of Beard Design yet”. We’re extremely profitable, we have 36 months of cash reserves, our project pipeline is as robust as ever, we have the most talented team we’ve ever had, we get PB&J sandwiches and Rice-paper rolls for snacks at the studio… couldn’t get better!
“We’ve built a great prototype, now it is time to see if it scales.”
So, is this it? Have we found the perfect version? Not even close. We’re just getting warmed up. I asked myself, what would V2.01 look like? After dozens of cycling trips and banana smoothies, the answer was evident – scale. We’ve built a great prototype, now it is time to see if it scales.
After that long preamble, here’s the news: We’re setting up a studio in Bombay and moving there in 4-6 weeks. Most of us will move there, some of us who have roots in Goa or hate big cities, will not.
Finding the right place was difficult (after being spoilt in Goa with our bungalows and gardens). But we’ve found a beautiful place in Prabhadevi – it is huge, has a big terrace and is dog-friendly (apparently that is difficult in Bombay!). We’re in the process of transforming it into something magical. And we’re looking at adding a few extremely talented folks to our team in Bombay, starting September / October. Openings here.
We’ll know how this experiment turns out in a couple of years. Until then, see you in the trenches (and potholes, local trains, pub queues…)
Contrary to rumours and photoshopped images, none of us are having a quarter-life crisis that has made us fancy our chances in Bollywood. Though, who knows!