A Day in the Studio by Jennifer Hail
As creatives, we’re all innately curious about how everyone else is achieving their success. We try to break it down into a formula, so that we might learn the steps and replicate them in our own lives—and once we solve the mystery, we hope to finally reach the goal we’ve set our eyes upon.
In reality, there is no set pattern for creating great work or becoming successful, and often times, those who have earned recognition are mostly unaware—because they keep their heads down and get right back to it.
Alvin and Vince are no exception, but I’ve had the rare opportunity to witness them work, day-in and day-out for the past three months. Together, they create a harmonious studio: two friends working and designing across from one another, eight or more hours each day, five days a week. Balancing each other through a natural understanding of what the other is communicating, and dividing the work based on their strengths and interests (Vince typically leans more toward branding, while Alvin tends to favor layout design in print and digital forms).
From the first time that I saw Faculty’s work, I was inspired by their designs and wanted to know more about them. Perhaps this inside look will reveal the men behind the studio, and show that the people we look up to and aspire to be like are actually quite similar to ourselves. What follows is a record of a normal day at Faculty.
Vince’s alarm sounds.
Alvin is still asleep.
V: Catches the bus in North Van.
A: Stretches and gets out of bed.
V: Arrives at the studio, starts the day with emails and reviewing any scheduled meetings. Replies to anything urgent.
V: Begins working on smaller tasks or urgent projects.
A: Gets ready to head out (music on). Commutes to the studio on the skytrain while reading the news or a book.
Around 9 am
V: Sometimes heads down to Prado to get an Americano, to go.
A: Arrives at studio and grabs coffee or tea with Vince (or at Tim Hortons) before starting on emails and the day’s to do’s.
Together, they run through project updates and emails.
V: Continues work for smaller projects.
A: Starts working on a couple small projects to begin the work pace.
They transition to working on the biggest projects/tasks at hand, discussing things when needed.
V: Heats up lunch, typically leftovers that smell amazing.
V: Jumps back into working on larger projects to continue till the end of the day.
A: Takes a break for lunch. His go-to is usually sushi.
A: Continues working on the day’s biggest project/task.
A: Returns to some smaller projects/tasks.
They discuss the agenda for tomorrow before Vince leaves to catch the bus.
A: Commutes home by bus or train, either reading or catching up with friends.
They arrive at their homes, to have dinner and relax before starting another day.
What Alvin and Vince’s routine fails to include is how diligently they work, and how they approach decision-making in an honest, thoughtful way. How they find inspiration in the work of their favorite designers and artists, setting their own bar quite high and pushing themselves to continuously improve. They give more than what they’ve promised, ensuring that every choice is true to their clients’ brand while aligning with their own values. And most importantly, that everything they do is done with an attitude of humility.
Working with Faculty this summer has been a dream come true. I’ve witnessed the way that they run their studio and have taken part in some amazing projects—planning a complex photoshoot, designing packaging, naming a new business, developing logo concepts, designing a book, and more. Alvin and Vince are skilled designers with wisdom beyond their young studio of four years, and they have left an irreplaceable mark on my journey as a designer and entrepreneur. Working with them has taught me that there is no secret or right way to go about the work—we just have to do it and give our best each and every time, knowing that we can always grow and improve.
Photos: Jennifer Hail