Collaboration, Coffee, and Design with Parker
Rather than being barred down by a limiting aesthetic, graphic and interior design studio Parker partners with each of their clients to develop a collaborative partnership that celebrates each client’s unique vision and focus. The design team itself also functions as a collaborative network that utilizes the multi-faceted skills of the network on projects that suit certain members best. When they’re in their Seattle-based office together, coffee is another connecting factor for the team, and we loved hearing about their favorite caffeine-centric routines and processes. Fueled by that, and the important movements that are happening at this time, we’re looking forward to seeing what Parker creates in the coming months.
Can you tell us how Parker came to be, and the type of design work you focus on?
Parker provides creative services, specifically in brand development. We work with businesses to help develop their visual identity, establish a clear foundation for their brand, hone in on a messaging platform, and go-to-market strategy. We then help apply that brand across a variety of touchpoints from web design and development, packaging, print media, and interior design and environmental graphics.
We started the business with a desire to work with small to mid-level business owners - helping them develop a clear and concise message and visual language. We love working at this scale as it allows us to have a direct impact on a brand’s foundation, and help steer the direction of the business along with the owners themselves.
Who is part of the Parker team?
The mainstays are Brooke and Tyler. We work as sort of a collaborative with a big network of super talented creatives and we scale a team to suit the project. Most of the crew is Seattle-based but we’ve got a few others scattered down the West Coast and in the Midwest. It’s great because it allows all of us to be flexible and we can really tailor ourselves based on the skills that best benefit each client.
One of the nice things about this is, when COVID-19 hit, we were already very accustomed to working remotely. Made the transition super easy!
What is Parker’s aesthetic, and how do you all collaborate to create your design projects?
Parker doesn’t have an aesthetic as much as it has a methodology. We believe design has a job to do, should be linked to business objectives, and needs to be honest to the business it’s representing. Our approach is that less is always more, and we tailor the visual language of the brands we develop uniquely to each client. We don't have a “house” style, but rather like to push ourselves to use various aspects of our team’s experience and skillsets to produce brands that express our client’s honestly, and uniquely.
How do you choose the clients you work with on your design projects? Are there certain parameters you always keep in mind?
We like to approach our work as partners with our clients - weighing opportunities together, discussing constraints with one another, making decisions together. The most important thing for us is that there is a baseline of trust and value placed on one another’s point of view.
Do you have a specific routine built around having coffee together in your studio?
We have a pretty hard time getting the day started without a cup of coffee. Usually, the first person in gets the coffee going and it’s a fairly steady stream throughout the day. As we’ve slowly started to get back into the studio together for the first time since COVID really hit, the Ratio is one of the few things we’re all still sharing. Wiped down after each pour of course!
From a design perspective, why did you choose to use the Ratio in your studio?
For the longest time, we had this teensy six cup coffee maker that was just constantly sputtering out a pot of coffee. The kind you get for your first apartment! When we shattered the carafe several months back it was finally enough of an excuse to upgrade to something that better suited our needs and our aesthetics.
Along with that, the Ratio makes substantially better coffee. Using the same beans, and the same filtered water, we notice a very big difference in the quality and flavor of the coffee we typically use at the office.
How does coffee fuel your creative energy?
Coffee is definitely a mainstay of ours throughout the day. We start with a cup of coffee in the morning and usually just keep brewing. During the summer, the Ratio is nice because we’ll brew some at the end of the day and toss it in the fridge for iced coffee the next day.
Outside of just keeping us moving, coffee is a nice excuse to take a little mental break as well. If we’re in the thick of something having a little coffee break is a great way to get up and move around or chat with each other. It shakes out the cobwebs!
Have you ever worked on any coffee-centric design projects?
We have! Parker recently did a big website design for a coffee brand. That hasn’t launched yet, but looking forward to seeing it live! Other than that, people on our team have worked on a wide range of projects with all sorts of coffee brands over the years - Starbucks, Stumptown, Proud Mary, etc. The coffee industry is such a big part of this region.
What else is inspiring your creative ideas these days, aside from a steady flow of caffeine?
For all the chaos of 2020, it actually has been a pretty great year for art. Between the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement, and the coming election, there’s been an enormous influx of really incredible art from pretty much everywhere.