I love to read. Studying Philosophy at university, I had my head in books, Sartre, Nietzsche, Plato, Descartes… you name it, I’ve read it. As part of my heritage, I also read Russian novels. I am yet to get my hands on War and Peace, and I am also getting into Victorian literature.

Before I joined Picturesmith, Christian, the creative director, asked me: “Are you much of a reader?”. This was an easy question for me to answer. It turns out ‘continuous improvement’ is a core value here.  This is made visual by the bookaround the studio. There are books on artists, filmmaking, animation, storytelling, marketing and much more.

The books aren’t just for decoration, although who doesn’t love colourful book spines? I have a personal shelf to help get me started. It’s a reminder that whatever knowledge I came here with is just the start. For my career to be successful I need to addd to it over time. 

The first book I read here is Writing that Works by Kenneth Roman and Joel Raphaelson. How am I doing so far?

Reading one book is like eating one potato chip

Diane Duane

A history of reading

I moved to England form Russia at the age of 11. Without knowing the language at all I enrolled into secondary school in East London. To say this was a challenge would be an understatement. I was trying to make friends and achieve high grades simultaneously, trouble was- I didn’t understand what anyone was saying. My English teacher advised that I invest more time in reading. She suggested that I read children’s books like The Gruffalo and The Tiger Who Came to Tea. Once I grasped these simple texts, I would challenge myself to read teen fiction, then modern classics and then classics. I was trying to mimic the reading history of an average English-speaking reader. Only very quickly, I had a lot to catch up on.

My love for literature is deeply rooted in the way I learnt the English language. Book by book, novel by novel I found that my language was improving. In some ways this process was rather addictive. I was not only improving my English but also reading fantastic stories about interesting characters.

This continued in university as I studied philosophy. Trips to the library were part of my a daily routine, piles of secondhand books on the floor as well as mountains of photocopies on my desk… This was how l had become accustomed to living at uni. As I was learning the language at secondary school, learning philosophy at university and now developing my career – through literature. 

On the same page

During morning and weekly catch ups, we talk about the direction of the business, our strategies and tasks. Since the team read books from the same shelves, we are speaking the same language. We spend less time explaining a concept as we know what the reference is. Business terms that used to be intimidating to me are now familiar.

Books are often recommended during conversation which helps get the team on the same page, pun intended. 

Think before you speak. Read before you think

Fran Lebowitz

Continuous Improvement

Our library has given me access to lots of literature on business and marketing that I wouldn’t have heard about. Access to these books has made the work culture focus on development and learning.

Instead of simply suggesting a book to read on marketing strategies, Christian will literally hand me the book. I have learnt marketing and business ideas, more importantly I understood them despite not studying the subject in university.

Our library is rich with content that gets read. This is helpful if you need inspiration for a new creative project, instructions on how to make content or create a strategy.
My job here is marketing and new business. Although I enjoy flicking through books on Matisse at work, my main focus is on learning social media strategy, Websites that Win and brand development. This prepares me for a day of meetings, tasks and campaigns.

Books are beautiful 

Our studio library brings a comforting atmosphere to the working day. Our studio is a creative hub and this comes across in the deco. We have colour organised LEGO, statues of previous projects, toys and prints on the walls. The shelves filled with literature make even more so comfortable to work in.

I have found that having a small library at my workplace has shaped the work culture. It has also given me the right tools to fulfil the continuous improvement’ core value of Picturesmith. 

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