Last night our very own W+Ker's Jen, Dom and Silvan hosted a cracking general knowledge quiz in the basement of the agency. To coincide with the quiz we also hosted a bake sale to raise money in aid of St Joseph's Hospice. We've been raising money for St Joseph's since one of our beloved WK-ers, Cheryl Rogers, passed away there in January last year.
Apparently we have quite a number of talented bakers amongst us here as a plethora of sweet and savoury treats adorned the kitchen.
But the best part was that we managed to raise £261 for St Joseph's Hospice last night. Well done everyone.
Take a peak at some of the culinary delights that were on offer.
Summer means school holidays. School holidays mean work experience. And work experience means an extra-enthusiastic, extra-curious extra pair of hands around the office. We had the pleasure of welcoming one such young man last week, Ché, and giving him a week long peek into agency life. He wrote us an account of his time at W+K, and we think we didn't embarrass ourselves too much, so here it is:
Strange and unfamiliar are words which cannot describe enough the extent to which W+K was a new environment to me. Prints on ceilings. Statues made of awards. Rooms made to look like old libraries, mental hospital facilities and diners. Irreverent is one word that perhaps best sums up the overall vibe as I walked in on Monday morning, with a feeling of acute unknowing as to what the week would bring. Who are these people walking around purposefully with a dazzling array of Nike trainers on, carrying MacBook Airs everywhere? And are they really ‘walking in stupid everyday’ as the man with a blender for a head in reception implores them to?
I can safely now answer these questions and more, because my week was better than these first impressions could have ever suggested. W+K London holds the Nike advertising account, hence the trainers, and the reasons behind the purposeful MacBook walking became clearer each day. Dynamism is one main one, as I understood when I got my own laptop, and myself became a purposeful-MacBook-walking Wiedener (life goal reached). Everything felt like it was always moving, whether it was other people whom I had displaced from their seats (sorry Tom and Indiana :/) or the work itself, which the Finish team truly included me in. I really have to thank everyone on the Finish team, especially my supervisors Frankie and Holly, whose enthusiasm for their work made me delighted to find out more about dishwashers – something I never thought I’d say - and who were more than forthcoming with information on W+K and the advertising industry as a whole.
My encounters with everyone left me with a much greater understanding of the unique space W+K inhabits; as an independent company extremely appreciative of the efforts of its staff, all of whom say they love working there. By the end of the week, I believed them, because my work experience was helpful in making me understand how work can be done differently, yet still to the highest standard and with a level of attention to detail that continually astounded me.
Even though it flew by like a lightning bolt, the week taught me about the basic rules of work, as W+K is a place that doesn’t seem too fixated on rules, and so just lets the work just get done. But also, I learned that work can be fun. Busy, stressful and tiring, but still fun. And if there is one tip I can offer the next lucky hopefuls who are at Wieden+Kennedy for a week or longer, it is this: don’t wear Adidas. But seriously, that not what matters most – just remember to ‘walk in stupid’ every day.
For once, the weatherman was right. It's a scorcher today and London is officially hotter than the surface of the sun.
We're all melting here in the office and our laptops are on the brink of exploding. So imagine our joy when we discovered that our very own Culture Club had called the heatwave hotline and summoned an ice cream van to rescue us with some icy treats.
Now that we've all cooled down, we've perked up a bit. All hail Culture Club! Rock stars.
Oh and don't tell IT, but our laptops are a still just as hot, but *little* bit stickier.
Earlier in the year we started our Design Placement scheme, and welcomed Sam Part as our very first willing guinea pig. Sam writes:
I recently spent three months as a design placement at W+K London, and I enjoyed every minute. I was given the opportunity to work on a self-initiated agency project about failure, as well as the 'InstaNapzzz' window installation during my time there. It's a fantastic agency full of very talented and welcoming people.
I learned a lot, but here are the top five things I came away with:
1. Asking questions is a good way to learn. Just make sure they are good ones.
2. Being confident in your ideas can pay off. I found that visualising the crazy ideas floating around my head helped others understand what I was thinking.
3. Crossing into different disciplines is surprisingly rewarding. I never had a way with words, but I had fun trying out copywriting, much to the amusement of my peers.
4. Talking about things I was doing outside of work helped shake up my thought process. It was refreshing, and I think it helped others understand the way I think.
5. I came across lots of amazing people with varying backgrounds at W+K. I learnt very quickly that anything is possible. You just have to talk and listen to the right people to help you make it happen.
After finishing my spell at W+K, I launched a dream project of mine in Selfridges in London, called ‘Candy Mechanics.' It's something I've been working on for some time and combines 3D scanning technology with good old fashioned sugar. For six weeks, my partner-in-crime Benjamin Redford and I will be making custom 3D-printed candy. Pop in and see us on the lower ground floor in the Ultra Lounge until the 7th of June, to have your own head replicated in lollipop format.
You can also see same examples of Sam's lollipops in the L Gallery here in our office, featuring a few familiar faces from the W+K London family.
Including these glorious candy versions of CDs Sanam and Anders:
At this month's agency meeting we were joined by some of the guys from St Joseph's Hospice in Hackney.
St Joseph's is a very special place for Wieden+Kennedy as last year our dear friend and colleague Cheryl Rogers passed away there. Cheryl was an amazing member of the W+K family and we still feel her loss every day. We were so moved and impressed by the work that St Joseph's carries out for people like Cheryl that we asked the team to come in and tell us a bit more about it
Here's Anita talking about the incredible work they do.
Last year we did a sponsored walk in memory of Cheryl and had an absolutely brilliant afternoon exploring our neighbourhood, celebrating Cheryl's spirit and getting some fresh air.
Most importantly, we managed to raise some money for St Joseph's through the kindness of our friends and family, who sponsored our walk.
We'll be doing a 12km walk again in a couple of weeks and we're once again raising money to help St Joseph's Hospice continue doing the fantastic work they do.
The dedication and care St Joseph's provides costs. A fan, to keep a patient comfortable in hot weather costs £1.84 a day, a box of syringes costs £15.29, a physio to help a patient manage their breathing and pain is £31.57 a session. Which means each day, it costs £41,000 to keep St Joseph’s going. Which means a whopping £15 million a year, half of which needs to be funded through donations. An awful lot of money for a charity to raise to keep such vital work going. All donations are welcome and no amount is too small!
Lots of people at W+K were wondering why a woman was taking lots of photos of them last week. Check out today's Time Out and you'll understand why. W+K has been included in an article based on London offices that serve up 'a healthy dose of fun.'
Finding themselves with a spare skateboard deck leftover from a shoot, our design department saw a creative opportunity. Rather than letting it go to waste, why not make something that the whole agency could enjoy?
Over the years, the agency has acquired a collection of sayings lovingly called "Wiedenisms" by its employees, phrases that capture W+K's philosophy; some Wiedenisms have become such a big part of everyday agency life, they can even be found emblazoned on our office walls.
W+K designers Michael Bow and Guy Featherstone wanted to create a permanent piece from a phrase that hadn't yet featured in the office but was close to the agency's heart: "Difficult is worth doing." Born from the early days of the our partnership with Honda, we've adopted this creative mantra and approach ever since.
Michael and Guy saw a similarity in the attitude also shared by skaters and skateboarding culture – that relentless persistence is what it takes in order to progress. In addition, the double stroke to the typography was inspired by the fluid lines of skating. The design neatly incorporates the existing truck holes of the board.
Michael says of the project, "Despite our limited experience with the process, we chose to laser etch the design on the board. We felt this would be a good opportunity to push our boundaries and learn new skills. There were a few issues that we encountered during production, especially with regards to etching on the curved ends of the board. After a number of failures we managed to make something we were proud of - and something that truly embodies the philosophy of 'difficult is worth doing'."
W+K placement team Hanna Stenwall and Joyce Kremer are members of SheSays, an organisation for women in the creative industries. SheSays helped us host an event in our basement last night on the very W+K theme of embracing failure, where we shared some of our experience (and a few embarrassing photos) with their members.
Hanna and Joyce write:
Fear of failure. It’s quite primal really. We’re a performance-driven breed, always planning for the worst case scenario. For some reason, we tend to think that the result of our work equals our worth as human beings. No wonder we fear failure.
At W+K, you’re encouraged to ‘embrace failure’. The philosophy behind the legendary statement runs through the company’s veins. You can’t be blocked by fear when you're supposed to take risks. Without risks, the world would be predictable. Dull. Plain boring. A nightmare.
Yet we rarely take time to talk about this fear, what it does to us and how to overcome it. So that’s what we did. W+K and SheSays joined forces. Gathered some friends. Popped open some bottles of wine. Shared some stories. Basically, a lot of good things came out of it.
Over 100 people came to the agency last night to find out how Helen, Vikki and Ray embrace their failures. We can say that it was quite a success. Even though we, not too surprisingly, feared failure.
Thank you to everyone who came, and everyone involved. Without you all, this would have been just another Wednesday night.
When Chinese design magazine 360 Design got in touch about featuring the W+K London HQ in their Designer at Work issue earlier this year, they took a particular shine to our Real Life at Work window from last year. Thanks to the talent of photographer Paul Barbera, who captured our office on camera earlier this year, our real-life office also manages to scrub up pretty well.
A beautifully bound tome landed on our desks this week. Good to see Blender Man made it in there too.