Visiting VSA

Originally uploaded by pablohart.

A bunch of us creative types from work hopped the train to Chicago to get some fresh(?) air and a change of scenery. Among other things, we were able to sneak a tour of VSA Partners while we were there.

A quick backgrounder: VSA has done work for BP, Harley-Davidson, Cingular, IBM, GE, Mohawk Paper, and even packaging for the Smashing Pumpkins last album “Machina/the machines of God.” They’re doing good work that’s winning them awards left and right. I guess in our book, we would consider them to be a pretty big deal.

So… it was nice to get a glimpse into how they’re set up and how they do things, then compare that to ourselves. Surprisingly, I found there to be a few similarities; Their approach to a project, the way they use photography (stock vs. custom and the client issues that come with that), they way they comp up ideas for presentation, etc. Outside of that, the first thing I noticed was how unassuming everything was. They’re on the outskirts of the city in an old brick building with no sign or any indication as to the great stuff happening inside. Then, once you do get inside it’s still pretty unassuming. A big open space, everyone sitting next to each other, with no walls or barriers or any sort of separation for privacy. At first glance you’d have a hard time distinguishing it from a telemarketing operation. I’m wondering how much that set up affects their work, if being out in the open like that welcomes a sort of collaboration from everyone else and improves it. I wonder what would happen if the talented people they have, had some space of their own to experiment without their neighbor looking over their shoulders. Does sitting right next to your boss as you’re working make you grumpy?

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