Artisan Blog

First Day on the Job: How to Make Your First Day a Success

Laura Pell - Wednesday, January 14, 2015


The first day at a new job is nerve-wracking for everyone and first day nerves should be expected as you prepare to meet your new team members, managers and departments. To make sure it's a positive experience for both you and your new company, we put together a few of our favorite points to make your first day an absolute success.

First day success falls into two categories:  Operational and Interpersonal. 

The first step for Operational success starts before the start day. 

What are the orientation or training plans?  Does your new company or assignment have an on-boarding plan in place?  Will there be a workstation waiting for you?  Will you be working on a Mac or PC?  Will there be a team of people or will you be the solo designer for the day?  If you are working with a recruiter, they should provide these details for you ahead of time.

Equally important are the Interpersonal skills such as meeting and interacting with your new supervisors and coworkers.  Before you start, take a look at LinkedIn and your new company's social media pages to get a sense of the team, interests and company culture.



Introducing yourself to new people can be daunting, especially if you're an introvert, but making an effort at the start will have its benefits in the long run. First impressions are lasting impressions so make a point to introduce yourself to your new team and have a quick chat with people you meet in the kitchen, the elevator or just around the office. Ask questions about what they do at the company and what they like about working there. Let them know what department you are joining and offer to help if they need anything from your team.


We'll let you into a not-so-secret secret. Everyone loves cupcakes or some kind of treat. Taking in a box of cupcakes or candy for your team is a delicious little ice-breaker and gives you a reason to walk up to new people and make your introductions. Setup business lunches to make more formal introductions and learn as much as you can about the company and its people.


At the early stages, it’s best to listen more than to talk. Get to know everyone’s communication styles and personalities. You should be absorbing as much information as you can and asking questions so you can quickly get up to speed. Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know something, there’s always a learning curve with new jobs and it’s usually expected. Show up 15 minutes early, grab a coffee and be ready to tackle anything thrown your way. Oh, and don’t forget to smile!

How was your first day at your new job? Did you try any of these tips to get you through your first day?


Laura Pell - Artisan Creative


Achieving Goals: Why a Theme is More Effective Than a New Year’s Resolution

Laura Pell - Wednesday, January 07, 2015

How many times have you set a specific goal for yourself at the start of a year and achieved it? In a recent survey of over 1000 Americans, just 45% said they set resolutions for themselves. If you’re the type of person to say “I want to lose x amount of lbs” or “I’m going to read x amount of books each month” but have never quite attained your goals, consider setting yourself a theme instead.


What do we mean by theme?

A theme is an overarching mindset that you carry with you throughout the year – it can just be a single word. If your goal is to become healthier, ignore the introductory gym memberships and instead of setting rigid rules, try implementing healthier habits into your routine. With every decision you make, think of your theme or word.

This can be applied to just about any subject. If your goal is to find a new job this year, rather than set yourself the task of finding a new job, try thinking of a theme like “building relationships” or “making new connections”.  If you spend a whole year putting effort into business and personal relationships, at the end of the year you should have a much easier time with your expansive network.

Much like good design, you want to keep your themes simple. They need to be easy to navigate and clear. Without having to focus on specific measurables, you may find you’ve adopted new habits without even realizing it. Remember to stay open to new possibilities and changes in direction; the significant thing about having a theme instead of a resolution is that you never quite know where it will lead you.

Did you achieve last year’s resolutions? What theme will you set for yourself in 2015?

 Laura Pell - Artisan Creative

Happy Holidays from Artisan Creative

Laura Pell - Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Holiday Shopping for Designers: 6 Gifts for the Creative in Your Life

Laura Pell - Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Christmas is a little over a week away and we’re betting that most of you have presents wrapped and ready to go. For the small handful of you that have left everything to the last minute, we picked out some of our favorite gifts for your creative team mates or friends. Amazon Prime is a sure way to get your online deliveries before the big day, although many companies are offering last minute shipping. We love giving unique gifts, things that people wouldn’t buy for themselves but will frequently use and appreciate so we picked out gifts we think designers will love.

DIY Print Shop
For those designers who love to create their own shirts or graphics, why not buy them a DIY print kit? They have a range of options including gig posters, table printing and shirts. It’s a nifty way to learn the screen printing trade at a relatively cheap price. They are taking orders for Christmas delivery until December 22nd

Bamboo Keyboard and Mouse
A biodegradable and environmentally friendly keyboard and mouse made entirely out of bamboo. This is an interesting way to make your desk stand out at work or at a home office. If you really want to go all out, you can even buy a matching calculator. The letters are engraved into the wood, offering a really unique way to get your work done.

Tuts Premium Membership
Tuts is an online resource to help people build upon their creative skills by self-directed learning. You can go at your own pace and learn a multitude of topics across code, design and illustration. If you’ve overheard conversations about wanting to create an app or brush up on photography skills, this is your chance to put the wheels in motion. They have over 18,000 tutorials available online by expert instructors. Find out more on their website.

Field Notes
If you watched this week’s viral design video, Lynda’s logo design challenge, you would have spotted the quick mention of Field Notes booklets. Inspired by old school vintage agricultural books, they are made in the USA and include some limited colors and editions. These are a must-have for any creative. 

Doxie One Photo and Document Scanner
We mentioned doc scanners in last week’s blog about managing finances and the need for managing documents. With the Doxie One Scanner you don’t have the hassle of connecting to computers and scanning your work – it sends directly to your favorite apps.

Inside The Sketchbooks of the World’s Greatest Designers
A glimpse into the minds of the world’s greatest designers and illustrators, this wonderful book aims to inspire creativity. Informative and visual, you never quite know what each page will bring. Different techniques and ideas are shown along with visual representations of some of the most creative minds. For designers who are always on a quest for new inspiration and ideas, this would be a cherished book.

What are your favorite gifts for creatives? What do you think of the gifts we’ve chosen? Share your ideas with us on Twitter @artisanupdates.

Laura Pell - Recruiter at Artisan Creative

Managing Finances as a Freelancer: Five Tips to Better Manage Your Income

Laura Pell - Wednesday, December 10, 2014


As a freelancer, part of your job is to keep on top of your money and your financial plan. Managing finances may not be part of your job description but it’s obviously an important part of leading a successful freelance career. How do you manage your income? Are you leaving it up to a third party or an accountant or perhaps you’re taking each week as it comes? We’ve compiled a list of best practices for you to better manage your income and keep you money in order.

Create a Budget
Make a list of everything you need each month, both business and personal and keep track of what you’re spending. Mint has a great free resource for budgeting and they even send alerts to let you know how you’re doing. Make sure you pay yourself and budget for your own personal allowance. If you have a few months where you come in below your budget, you may need to rethink your freelance strategy or take on more work.

Manage Expenses
Here’s where the bookkeeping comes in. Familiarize yourself with a program to help you track expenses with ease. We recommend QuickBooks or a similar software program -- when it comes to tax season, it makes everything that much quicker. Apps such as DocScanner are a wonderful little tool to upload documents from your phone and help you to de-clutter your office space. Ana Rubio, Artisan’s Financial Controller states, “Tracking income and expenses can also be easily done on a spreadsheet listed by each week so you know where each check is going ahead of time. Keep track of all cash expenditures for a month so you know where your ATM withdrawals are going!”

Save, Save, Save!
You may be working now, but what happens at the end of your current contract? Unless you’re very lucky, there may be gaps between jobs so having some kind of backup emergency fund to keep you going is the key to longevity. Try to have at least a few months of savings based on your monthly budget – by doing this it will mean you can afford to choose the next freelance job that you actually want, not one that you need.

File Your Taxes
Tax season can be a pretty confusing time, especially if you haven’t been too organized throughout the year. It can take hours to file so keep all of your 1099 (for independent contractors) or W2 forms (for temp employees) saved. Clients should send these out by January 31st so start chasing them if you haven’t received yours by February. If you’re able to pay your taxes quarterly, take advantage of being able to pay off small chunks throughout the year to avoid being hit with a big bill when April comes around. If it’s within your budget, hiring an accountant can save you a lot of worry and time but it does come at a price.

Open a Business Account
By keeping personal and business accounts separate, you can avoid overspending and keep track of your income more easily. Pay yourself from your business account to your personal account so you have a dependable and steady income.

What advice would you share with freelancers? Have you learned from any mistakes? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter @ArtisanUpdates.

Laura Pell - Recruiter at Artisan Creative

Goal Setting: 10 Best Practices for Setting Goals

Katty Douraghy - Wednesday, December 03, 2014


Around this time of year, people start reflecting on the previous months and begin setting goals (and resolutions) for the coming year.

I’ve also always done this until a recent event changed my perspective completely.  It happened by chance on my birthday at the 180th Meridian, the international date line.  In a split second I was simultaneously standing in today and yesterday.  Quite amazing, however, it made me realize that a date is just an arbitrary number -- a line literally drawn on a map.

As I reflected on a new “birth year”, it made me realize that “start dates” can be counter-productive when it comes to setting goals and resolutions. Why wait until an arbitrary date in the future like Jan 1, or next week, or even tomorrow to make a change that will be impactful in your life or in your career?

Why wait to plan that once-in a-lifetime trip, why wait to plan your financial future, why wait to get healthy and fit?  All goals will require time and action steps to accomplish, so why delay the start until sometime in the future?

As human beings, we fall into a second trap of mistaking our daily to-do lists with our goals.  We often set too many goals and try to change too many things at once—and then we get busy with life and only accomplish a few of them.   Once we get busy, it’s easy to lose focus, and have the day-to-day to-dos of work, kids, school etc. take over the goals we want to accomplish.  How many times have we all said, “ I don’t have time to go to the gym”, or “I don’t have time to go on vacation!”

“You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage—pleasantly, smilingly and unapologetically— to say “no” to other things.” -Stephen Covey

Here are 10 Best Practices for setting goals that I have learned:

1)     Set only one or two (maximum) Key Goals you want to accomplish in a certain period of time
2)     Write down your goal and WHY is it important for you to accomplish this goal
3)     What do you need to STOP doing in order to accomplish this goal?
4)     Set a specific timeframe & metrics needed to accomplish the goal
5)     Work backwards from the date above and calendar the steps below
6)     Set the specific, actionable and controllable steps needed to reach that goal
7)     Ask yourself, am I in control of these action steps, or are they dependent on someone else? If so, change your action steps because you can’t let someone else control your goal, or plan an accountability metric and share it with that person
8)     Set check points along the way to track your progress
9)     Share your goals and action items with someone else and engage them as your accountability partner
Don’t wait…Start today!

Without specific mini steps along the way, the goal has the danger of becoming just a wish.

 Katty Douraghy - President at Artisan Creative



Laura Pell - Wednesday, November 26, 2014


“Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold rather a large amount of gratitude.” – A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

With the hustle and bustle of the Holidays right around the corner, we’d like to take a moment and express our gratitude to those around us.
We spoke with some of our talent and the Artisan team to see what they are grateful for in 2014.

To me gratitude means to be appreciative of things on a daily basis. I write down three gratitudes every day. In the rush of daily to-dos, this allows me to focus on the important things in life. Today I’m grateful that my family, friends and Artisan team are healthy, of Artisan’s virtual office setting that allows me to work yet be close to loved ones, and grateful for the beautiful weather in LA.

I’m grateful for a job that allows a lot of flexibility, for a husband who I love very much and so lucky to have and a supportive Family who is there for me no matter what.

I thank God every day for my family and friends.  I am thankful that my children are growing up surrounded by a loving community and I am thankful to share my life with some really kind and wonderful people.  For me gratitude is recognizing even the smallest blessing or gesture and not taking anything for granted, especially my health and well-being.

I'm thankful for good health, strong friendships, and a happy family. Grateful to work in the creative space where I get to connect with and be inspired by brilliant, passionate, and talented individuals and so lucky that it's through an agency that values people, trust, and respect.

I’m grateful to have such a supportive, kind family with a devoted husband. I’m grateful to be in a position to have saved two rescue dogs and work for a company who has integrity and respect.

Gratitude is that deeper feeling one is left with after having been a part of contributing to, or being the recipient of, someone’s contribution to a greater good.

I am thankful my family is healthy this year. Both my husband and I have some advancement in our career. And I met a great agent, Jen at Artisan around Thanksgiving time!

I'm thankful for my dog, Pepper! In March, my boyfriend and I adopted an abandoned mini pincher mix from the rescue organization Dogs Without Borders. She's the most delightful, playful little bundle of joy and adopting her was the best decision we've ever made. Not only is it wonderful to have a dog, but by virtue of having a dog, we've ended up getting out and meeting many of our neighbors, making our neighborhood really feel like home

Robert Emmons, the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude states, “Gratitude makes us appreciate the value of something, and when we appreciate the value of something, we extract more benefits from it; we’re less likely to take it for granted.”

What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving? Share your responses with us on Twitter @artisanupdates.

Laura Pell - Recruiter at Artisan Creative

Agency vs. Client Side

Laura Pell - Wednesday, November 19, 2014


For many people, there comes a time in your career when you start considering what it would be like to work on the other side. There’s no right answer: agency life can often involve long hours and multiple clients, but it can also be very rewarding. Perhaps working for a brand is more suited to you if you like to specialize in one area and take ownership? Many of our candidates talk about their desires to work for the other team so what better way to help you make the decision than by comparing them side by side.

What’s it like to work at an agency?
Agency life can often have a reputation for long days and hard work, but on the upside you get to flex your creativity and have exposure to many different accounts and brands. You can be working on a last minute project one day then quickly switch gears onto a pitch or something entirely different the next. Multitasking is king so you must be switched on and ready to take anything thrown your way.

For designers, an agency is a perfect way to build your portfolio. You can show a breadth of work with multiple brands while proving to future hiring managers you have what it takes to survive in a fast-paced and deadline-driven environment. This rings true for those in marketing, client services or similar verticals.  Being exposed to many different brands also means you will qualify for more jobs in the future so think about where you want to be in 5-10 years and make sure your current responsibilities are in alignment with your future goals.

What’s it like to work client side?
Unlike agency life which can be very seasonal, workflow in-house is often more stable and predictable. Projects are usually repeated (and improved upon) each year so you know what to expect and when. There’s also a sense of brand familiarity. You will live and breathe one brand and their message so you can become specialized in their area, such as CPG or technology. There’s also the added job security -- agencies are reliant upon business from their clients; if one client leaves it can put jobs at risk. We’re not saying that layoffs don’t happen for in-house companies because sadly they do, but it can be less of a concern.

In the end, it comes down to what you want to get out of your career. If you like high energy and a variety of work, perhaps the agency world is where you will thrive, but if you feel you want brand familiarity, it could be time to look at client side.

Have you worked on both sides before? How did the experiences differ? Share your thoughts and experiences with us on Twitter @artisanupdates.

 Laura Pell - Recruiter at Artisan Creative

Meet & Greet with Artisan

Laura Pell - Wednesday, November 12, 2014


The holiday season is right around the corner but before you start stuffing turkeys and eating pumpkin pie, Artisan has a special event to ease you into the spirit of Thanksgiving.

On Tuesday, November 18th we’ll be at our favorite co-working space, Kleverdog in Chinatown, Los Angeles for a meet & greet with job seekers and a drive to benefit two of our favorite charities.

We’ll be hosting the Meet & Greet with Artisan from 4PM – 7PM which will give people an opportunity to meet with our team and put faces to names. Bring your resume along and we will chat through open jobs, career advice and resumes to help your job search be a successful one.  We’ll have delicious snacks available, too!

Our chosen charities are NKLA and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. As advocates of rescue animals and with some of our team members being parents, we’ve chosen two non-profits close to our hearts.

No Kill Los Angeles
NKLA is a pet adoption center led by Best Friends Animal Society. They’ve been working closely with animal welfare organizations, pet shelters and volunteers to help end the killing of healthy animals. They offer spay/neuter services and hold events across the city to help find forever homes for unwanted animals. They have their own adoption center in Santa Monica so if you’re looking for a furry friend, be sure to check out their available animals or next adoption event.
Donations to bring to the Meet & Greet:  pet food (unopened and unused), pet treats and toys.

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
A non-profit hospital serving over 100,000 children each year through care, education and research. With only 10 children’s hospitals in the US, CHLA are ranked #5 in the nation. The entire hospital is designed for children and families and they depend on donations to help heal the children.
Donations to bring to the Meet & Greet: Books, unused toys, coloring books and more. Check out their wish lists here.

Make sure you RSVP and give us a heads-up if you are planning to attend. We look forward to getting into the holiday spirit with you next week and collecting some wonderful gifts for NKLA and CHLA.

Laura Pell - Recruiter at Artisan Creative


6 Things You Should Be Doing in Your Next Interview

Laura Pell - Wednesday, November 05, 2014


You’ve landed an interview, now what? Interviews can be a nerve-wrecking experience so in order to help you through your next interview, we’ve compiled a list of things you should be considering to get that job offer. Have you come up against any of these points in interviews before? How did you overcome them?

Being Prepared
Being prepared for an interview is a given, but how well do you really know the position and the company? It’s useful to make notes and bullet point any relevant information before you interview. A job interview isn’t a test so take your notes with you if it makes you feel more confident. Try to learn a few facts about the company such as a recent takeover or a statistic and reference it in your conversation.

Body Language
We can’t stress how important body language is. If you don’t believe us, watch this TED talk on power posing. Now we’re not saying you should walk in to an interview with your hands on hips and head held high, but what we are saying is that subtle language such as posture and hand movements can make all the difference between appearing shy or confident. Sit up straight, make eye contact and use open hand gestures. Avoid body language such as sitting on your hands, playing with your hair or looking around the room as it gives off the impression that you're nervous.

Having Gratitude
Gratitude can go a long way so thanking the interviewer for meeting with you and following up with a thank you note will show how interested you really are. You could be up against several candidates and if you’re the only one to follow up and thank them, you’re already ahead of the rest.

Even if the interviewer has answered everything for you, ask another one! There’s nothing worse than being in an interview and not having any questions prepared or forgetting to ask something. Take in a list of questions and refer back to your notes when they ask you. If they truly have answered everything, at least they can see how prepared you were, but make sure you leave knowing as much as possible about the job and company. Don’t be afraid to ask several questions; just don’t take over the interview!

Standing Out
We attended a NAWBO conference earlier this year and they discussed the importance of standing out. When the speaker would take to the stage, she’d wear a hat or another item of clothing that would make her memorable. After the event, people would spot the hat and know who she was. So wearing a hat is obviously out of the question for your next interview, but how can you stand out – what is your hook? You may have a charming accent or have ran a marathon, whatever you choose as your hook, bring it up as a topic of conversation to help the interviewer remember you.

Avoiding Negativity
People tend to remember the bad points, so how do you avoid using negative language? Stay away from saying “I’m not” or “I can’t” and say phrases such as “I’m strong with” or “I can”. If you’re asked to give an example of managing a team and you’ve only had experience managing an intern, give a solution to the problem by saying “I haven’t had specific team management experience, but I have mentored and trained an intern who became a great designer. “


By Laura Pell - Recruiter at Artisan Creative

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