Everyday Rituals with a Creative Director Who Reads Library Books to Switch Off
How Glasfurd & Walker’s Phoebe Glasfurd applies her design-driven mind to the execution of the everyday.
“When it comes to work, I’m very disciplined. I’m a structural thinker who enjoys that creative process. But in my personal life, I’m not particularly good at everyday rituals,” says Phoebe Glasfurd as she sits across from me in her downtown office.
It comes as no surprise that Glasfurd, who is the Creative Director and co-founder of Glasfurd & Walker, is highly driven by her business. In the early days of the Vancouver-based studio, which Glasfurd launched with partner Aren Fieldwalker, it was tricky to switch off ‘work brain.’ To remedy this, she’s recently acquired a nightly reading habit at home.
“I always make sure it’s non-industry related so I’m getting outside perspective.” At any given time, she’ll have three books on the go, along with several bookmarked articles. She also joined the library recently. “With the algorithms of things like Instagram and Pinterest, I feel like everything I’m looking at is the same. The library’s got really great books,” she laughs.
"With the algorithms of things like Instagram and Pinterest, I feel like everything I’m looking at is the same. The library’s got really great books”
Glasfurd and Fieldwalker’s thoughtful approach to branding and design has influenced some of the city’s most creative, not to mention successful restaurants, including Kissa Tanto, Savio Volpe and Ask For Luigi. Their work can also be seen on the likes of food, fashion, beauty, and hospitality brands.
As partners beyond the confines of the office, working and living together does not come without challenges, says Glasfurd, and allotting time apart is something she values highly. “I get up early, make a proper coffee then walk to the office. I’m by myself for at least half an hour to an hour. If I don’t spend that time, it completely messes up my day.”
“I get up early, make a proper coffee then walk to the office. I’m by myself for at least half an hour to an hour. If I don’t spend that time, it completely messes up my day”
Since launching in 2007, the firm has since evolved well beyond just the two of them and currently consists of a 10-person team. Glasfurd feels fortunate for their growth, and says the ability to bring on new designers and artists has only enriched the company. “We’re able to work with these amazing people who can do illustration, or things I could never have brought to projects.”
Glasfurd’s role in the company has always weighed heavily on the creative side, applying her design-driven mind to guide the execution of every project. She meets with each of the design team individually on a daily basis, briefing them on their work and communicating the process constantly. It’s this meticulous dedication that is evident in everything Glasfurd & Walker touches.
Ambitious as she is, Glasfurd is mindful not to take work home, “Although Aren would argue otherwise,” she says, grinning. She divides her downtime between eating at any of the restaurants they work with, cooking Southeast Asian curries reminiscent of her home in Australia, and riding her bike around the seawall. “It’s such a Vancouver thing to say, but it really is quite nice!”
When it comes to sources of inspiration, Glasfurd puts her clients high on the list. “Though they may not think of themselves as creative – I think they’re all really smart, individualistic people,” she says. “Every job we do is influenced by who they are and what they do.”
“Though [my clients] may not think of themselves as creative – I think they’re all really smart, individualistic people. Every job we do is influenced by who they are and what they do”
While some design studios will sell a certain aesthetic to their clients, Glasfurd & Walker’s process is about figuring out how to make the client feel like they thought of it, says Glasfurd. “I try and make sure that we have a certain amount of empathy and really listen to people’s point of views, because they are the things that make it different.”
Since day one, this people-focused ethos behind their business remains the same. “By our nature we would never go and do corporate work, it’s not what interests us,” she says. “I think hospitality naturally creates a DNA within the places we live, hang out, and meet interesting people.”
As the company grows, Glasfurd wants to continue to be creatively fulfilled, by working on projects that are meaningful. “As you grow, you have to be able to articulate the process of how you think and how you work so that everyone around you gets it as well.”
Photo courtesy of Glasfurd & Walker.
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