Last Thursday, I attended an AIGA Chicago Studio Walk in the West Loop. There were four studio spaces in the area that were open for the evening. Each studio would give attendees a brief tour of their work space, and discuss, over cheap wine in a plastic cup, their function as creatives. The first studio I visited was called Webb De Vlam. They are a company based in London and Chicago. They assist in branding and packaging. As kind of a "noob" in AIGA events, I was immediately taken away with the studio space. It looked like every other swanky loft studio featured in Computer Arts magazines; equipped with Macs, bean bags, and colorful Herman-miller furniture. It was essentially a playground for designers.
In addition, the workers in the studio appeared to be a very tight-knit group. The graphic designers who gave me the studio tour highlighted two essential factors in working in a design group: the need to inspire one another and the need to be comfortable with the group members. This resonated with me because of the fact that their design team sounded very similar to the design community I've grown so found of here at DePaul. At this point of our senior year (for most of us), we have learned to an extent how each artist operates, and we are comfortable with one another to share our honest feedback during critiques. We also inspire one another, at some degree.
I suppose these are the things that are most important to me as a growing designer, trying to find work right out of college. Not only does the environment I work in have to be in a space conducive for creativity--there also needs to be a strong sense of community that leaves room for growth.