The Conductor: Project managing the design studio

Cannings Purple 15 Feb 2021
2 mins

Have you ever watched a classical music concert and wondered why the orchestra needs a conductor? Surely the musicians can play without the person at the front?

The truth is, the conductor holds everything together. The conductor is the only person who can hear the whole orchestra play. For example, the musician on the left can’t hear what’s being played on the right, so how will the musicians know when to come in and how loud to play?

The creative

It’s the same in the design studio.

It is extremely ineffective for designers’ to be constantly jumping from creative processes to analytical or administrative ones. Creativity accesses a different part of the brain to that needed for logic. It’s an inefficient and unsatisfactory way to work.

This is where the Studio Manager comes in. By managing creative projects from the starting point of initiating creative proposals and project plans, all the way through to project completion, the Studio Manager puts everything in place for the designer to complete their work to the very best standard.

The conductor

Similar to a conductor, the Studio Manager is one of the few people who can see the whole ‘picture’.

Being fluent in both the creative and account management aspects of the business makes this role demanding. Maintaining the momentum to ensure a studio doesn’t lag behind through scheduling, keeping to budget, planning and managing resources – all whilst keeping the channels of communication open is at the heart of the role.

Client value

Without the conductor, the concert would be a wash. The cost of design would rise, and the designers and account managers’ time (and stress levels) would increase exponentially.

The Studio Manager removes the need for negotiations and helps teams work better together, promoting collaboration.

Talking the language of both creatives and account managers, as well as specialised suppliers like printers and developers, means the Studio Manager is really working for the client ensuring quality work is done on time and on budget.

Meet our ‘conductor’, James Norris

As Cannings Purple’s Studio Manager, James uses his project management skills to control workflow for our busy Design & Digital team.

An experienced designer in his own right, James has worked in agencies throughout the UK and more recently in Perth, servicing clients such as American Express, British Airways, Apple, MGM Studios and Saab.

He has a strong background in branding and brand development, helping lift the profile and market presence of clients across a range of industries, including the tech, travel, retail and motoring sectors.

Find out more about James or contact him here.