How to build relationships

How to build relationships

Firstly, treat design studios like normal people. They are, after all, normal people.

Written by Dave Greasley on 23.07.2020

Firstly, treat design studios like normal people. They are, after all, normal people.

Written by Dave Greasley on 23.07.2020


Why focus on building relationships?

So you’ve chosen to be in the creative industry, hurray! Nice to have ya, it’s lovely here. 

Having a good network of people around you will be invaluable throughout your career. Whether you’re looking for your first job, your next job, a bit of spare work or just some advice, having friends in the industry just makes everything easier.

Luckily for you the world is more connected than ever, meaning new friends are just a few clickity-clicks away!

How to make friends

Here’s a few typical routes we’ve witnessed, and how successful they tend to be. Whichever route you choose, get creative with it, we’re all just people – don’t be afraid to reach out.


The Awkward Caller
— Success rating 2/10*

"Errrm hi, errrr, do you have any jobs please?"

Cold-Calls are usually pretty bad. Scrap that, they’re all bad. I commend anyone who’s wiling to pick up the phone & talk to a studio, it’s a great start! But here’s why they don’t work:

  • I’m not expecting the call, which means it’s going to be a distraction – from my work, or worse, I might be enjoying a nice biscuit.
  • My head will naturally be elsewhere (mmmm GOLD BAR) so I probably won’t ask you anything important, I may even be mad that you’re ruining biscuit time.
  • You’ll pick up on my displeasure & then be all stuttery & forget what you called for.
  • You’ll ask me questions like ‘Do you have any jobs going’, or ‘Could I come in to show you my portfolio’ – these are quite heavy questions and I probably won’t be able to answer them with as much consideration as you’d like.

When can calls be good:

  • Ask for the right person to address an application to, ask for their name & email address.
  • A brief note - ‘Hey I saw you had a job application out, I just wanted to say hi and introduce myself…’

The Unsolicited Emailer
— Success rating 3/10*

"Dear Sir/Madam…"

Emails are the easiest form of communication to ignore. ESPECIALLY when you can’t be arsed to address it to us personally. Emails should be used to carry on an existing dialogue, talk to the studio online first, build a rapport, then hit them with your portfolio. If you insist on sending out emails:

DON’T go straight for the money shot & ask them for a job.
DON’T make it so long it looks like a chore to read.
DON’T blanket-email everyone with the same approach.
DON’T link off to Google Drive/Dropbox downloads.

DO treat it like a first date, compliment them, be friendly, duh.
DO research who you’re talking to.
DO consider what you’re sending them & what outcome you’d like (read this)
DO think about what time you’re sending it, 4pm on a Friday is not going to be very successful.


The Social Stalker
— Success rating 5/10*

We’re now online 24/7/365. Which is a truly terrifying thought, but grabbing our attention, any time of day, is now – somehow – completely normal!

A like here, a comment there, the odd story DM. It’s a good technique for under-the-radar stalking. So get to know them and don’t be afraid to ask questions over their social feeds - it’s much harder for them to ignore when it’s in the public eye :).


The Postie
— Success rating 6/10*

99% of the post we receive is either junk or bills. It’s an under-utilised method by most job seekers, which is why it’s refreshing and can make a big impact.

In the past we’ve received hand-knitted pigeons, squeaky toys, baked goods, beers, burgers, posters, black lights, zines, pom-poms, books and many other wonderful/odd things that you can read in our how to stand out article.

FYI - The edible stuff is always a little bit dodgy, please avoid.


The Networker
— Success rating 7/10*

Consider where your new friends are going to be when they aren’t in work. Local creative events can be a great place to meet people when they’re off the clock, so if you recognise someone don’t be afraid of saying hello & passing a business card.

Nationwide events:

Local creative events in Sheffield: (as of July 2019)


The Long-Burner
— Success rating 8/10*

The LB’er knows it’s a marathon, not a sprint. They start their attack a year in advance. Dipping their toes into a mixture of all the above routes. Like Monica’s scene in Friends - 1,2,1,2,3,3,5,4,3,2,2,2,4,6,2,4,6,4,2,2,4,7,5,7,6,7,7,7,7,7,7,7,7,7,7,SEVEN!

Remember, the aim of the game here is to MAKE FRIENDS. Not get a job. So take it slow, build up those relationships & the rest will fall into place.

*These ratings are in no way accurate, I just made them up.

Written by Dave Greasley on 23.07.2020
Follow the studio on Instagram and Twitter

Written by Dave Greasley on 23.07.2020
Follow the studio on Instagram and Twitter



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