Meet the Members: Alex Finn
Alex Finn of Kinsey Studios makes everything look easy. Innovative, curious and with a neverending passion for learning the new, his design studio boasts clients from high-fashion to tech giants.
When it came to choosing a coworking space for his design studio, Alex chose Gather Round for it’s creative community, bang-on interiors, that and his ability to teleport to The Cigar Factory. We caught up and found out all about his work day routine, spoiler: it includes chess and Duolingo, and what work gets him jumping out of bed in the morning.
He shares his advice for fellow entrepreneurs and creatives and encourages us all to embrace the future and the changes technology will bring.
Can you tell us what you do and what an average workday looks like?
I’m a designer, it wouldn’t feel right to categorise myself any more specifically than that because I cover a variety of digital design services. I run a small design studio which now consists of just me so I can travel and work without limitations.
No day looks the same, not really. Whatever the opposite of a creature of habit is – I’m that. But on a day when I am actually coming into the office, I will wake up, splash some water on my face and basically teleport straight to my desk which is around 300m from my front door. Bed-to-desk could take 10 mins and that suits my lifestyle very nicely.
Coffee for breakfast using the amazing commercial-grade Gather Round coffee machine. I’ve done my time in the catering industry so I know how to handle the beans.
My work day depends on what projects I have on, could be branding, could be UI/UX, could be animation. Typically though, if I don’t have a deadline, I like to spend time on as many projects as possible and get through them sequentially. I’ve developed this practice to keep my attention on point. After the first couple hours of work, I’ll move to the office sofa for a game of Online Chess before grabbing a snack and getting back to it. Same ordeal in another couple hours’ time but I’ll do some Duolingo or maybe just scroll social media for a bit. My personal key to remaining productive is switching up my tasks throughout the day and taking mini-breaks.
What excites you most about the creative process?
Oooh, good question. Currently, iteration excites me the most. I love watching a concept or idea evolve over the course of the project timeline into something entirely different from any initial visions. I find that part of the joy (and pain) of being a designer is to try not to be too sentimental over work you are being paid to do. I believe there is an undefined sweet spot between designer satisfaction and client satisfaction. The goal is to reach it without too much compromise and loss of interest.
I suppose something else that excites/interests me about the creative process is the educator side of things. Working with clients who are perhaps new to certain digital services or entirely naive to simple constructs like the importance of brand consistency, colour theory and basic UX/UI principles requires a degree of patience and willingness to educate on the designer side.
What kit/tools can you not live without?
My MacBook, its charger, and a reliable multi-country travel adaptor.
What are you listening to/watching at the moment?
I typically watch TV as background noise whilst working. So I like to put films or TV shows on that I’ve seen a bunch of times so I don’t have to concentrate on them. Usually, something to do with rising success or entrepreneurialism. The Pursuit of Happiness or Dragon’s Den to name a couple. Anything inspiring.
Music-wise I’m pretty flexible. If I’m working and feeling chilled then something with a good beat or guitar riff, jazz, blues, neo-soul, or Hip-Hop. If I’m working and not chilled or I’m exercising then something heavy like DnB or metal.
Anything you’re working on at the moment that’s exciting you?
Since covid I’ve been extremely lucky to work within some pretty incredible emerging industries like Cryptocurrency, NFTs and Artificial Intelligence. I love innovation so I’m sure to seize any opportunity to work with new and growing industries.
I’m also currently re-branding my studio and building a new website that will have a function and aesthetic steered towards the tech sector.
Any top design/dev tips or creative advice?
1: Remain a student of your craft. Always.
Be adaptive and be brave. It’s never been easier to advance current skills or learn new ones. Never plague your thoughts with self-limiting beliefs, if you desire to learn it – you can. Also, as if our industry wasn’t competitive enough, we’re now entering into an exciting and unknown territory with Artificial Intelligence. This follows nicely into my next piece of advice…
2: Embrace the unknown
Move with the times. Stay on top of innovative technologies and software. Try your best not to get left behind. Find and follow some great influencers and educators in your space and let them do the research for you. This will help save time, which is my third point.
3: Mind your time. Work smarter.
With a resource as invaluable as time, we can’t afford to be wasteful. Be continuously looking for ways to save it. Not necessarily always with the path of least resistance, but don’t be afraid to cut a risk-managed corner or two where you can. You could save a minute and earn an extra quid simultaneously. Double Bubble.
Where is your favourite place to eat in Bristol?
I’m a sucker for Asian food, and lots of it. I like to stuff my face at a Chinese buffet called Cosmo in Clifton and roll back home down the hill.
Also burgers from Oowie…yum.
Why did you choose to come to Gather Round?
Gather Round stood out from the crowd with its entry requirements. Having previously worked in offices that housed all kinds of careers/jobs I could certainly appreciate the benefits of having like-minded workers around me from an atmospheric and networking perspective.
Gather Round’s Cigar Factory location is a modern and spacious work location specifically for creatives and only 5 minutes walk from my front door. Tall ceilings, minimal yet colourful interior design and 100% chance of a warm reception – it was a no-brainer.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us Alex! If you want to see more of Alex’s work, check out his website.
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