A week in the life of... Will Tunstall, Creative Partner, Tommy
Ahh, the monday morning management meeting. Routinely held in the same local Italian restaurant whose staff stubbornly refuse to write down our order despite consistently bringing at least one incorrect item to each person. Ordering poached eggs has become something of a company challenge.
This week unfortunately, we have to discuss only our third leaver in Tommy's young five year life.
I'm not going to use the cliché that the company is like a family, but as I can't think of an alternative that conveys the same message I'm left with no choice: Tommy is like a family (sorry). Seeing one of us grow up and leave is a difficult thing to deal with.
Having said that, I've always believed in hiring young, enthusiastic people with a great attitude. Andy came to us as an intern three years ago and is leaving for a project management role at a leading international agency. Being part of a person's career and helping them on their way always feels like an immense privilege, and I'm genuinely pleased for him.
We wrap up. We've had a couple of wrong drinks, a mix up over which one is decaf and two, fresh, hot, but unfortunately, fried eggs. The hunt goes on.
Meeting clients to discuss dynamic display advertising going forward with HTML5 in light of the Chrome announcement. With the shift away from Flash and font foundries not yet decided on how they might license fonts in such cases, there are some issues for brands who want the benefits of rich, dynamic content coupled with their brand elements displaying as they would like. Interesting times.
Discussing the HTML5 vs Flash 'thing' with Craig, one of our most experienced designers who's been with us since before we even had desks.
Lunch. We're based on Oxford Street in central London, one of the most famous shopping streets in the world. Next to Soho, where every other shopfront is a food seller specialising in a different international cuisine. So what's it gonna be?!! Argh, the agony of choice!
...I go to Pret and buy a sandwich as it's opposite and there's no queue. Silently promise myself there won't be another visit in this write up.
Back in the office we get engaged in a heated discussion about VR gaming. Where is it going? Is it going to work? Whose lounge is large enough to do it in anyway? etc etc.
We're experimenting with Cardboard a lot at the moment so the debate raises frequently. No-one ever wins, but everyone's excited.
Tommy website. We are (finally) redoing our website. Always the hardest one to do, right? Clients always take priority so it's forever being pushed to the background. This time we're actually making it happen and it feels good. An evolution of where we were, different to others we see and something the team will be proud to show their mates which is important to me.
Discussing creating a Tumblr for Tommy. We're frequently asked by clients how we can push Tumblr forward and our team are always creating little bits and bobs in the process of their work. So we're looking out how we can marry the two.
Leaving to collect my three year old, Lucas, from nursery. Walk to tube...
Get to car...
Get to nursery...
Get home to my seven year old, Tom, who's off for summer.
Dinner for the boys
Watch half an hour of The Croods. Love it, great creature design, beautiful visuals.
Bed for the boys. We're reading a kids compendium of the Star Wars saga. Luke's just met Ben and they're having 'the chat' about his dad. I put on my best nasal voice for Alec Guinness. Am told I've pulled it off.
Begin the boring process of setting up a SATA drive to consolidate my sprawling photo collection, spread across 20 or so hard drives hidden all around my home. Fun times.
Woken by my three year old who seems determined to undermine our new, gentler 'wake up slowly with the radio' strategy. It is neither slow nor gentle.
Eggs with the boys.
Excited about today, starting build on a working prototype for our new site.
Leave for nursery...
Park car, get tube...
Seeing it all written down makes me realise how ridiculous my daily commute is. Zone 2, an hour and a half?! The boys go to great schools and I work on Oxford Street. I'm not complaining and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Daily scrum - who, what, when how, etc. etc.
Discussing hand coding animations through Greensock while our internet connection has a moment. Time for some ribbing of our tech lead even though it's not his fault. We now have 100mb connection which on Oxford Street in Central London is, astonishingly, unheard of in the five years we've been here. We're temporarily on our old 16mb line which feels very 90's.
Working on the website. Getting there.
Lunch. Thai red curry with brown rice.
Reviewing a sizzle reel created by one of our designers, Pete. It's showcasing one of our most recent and most ambitious projects, and we're discussing the challenge of explaining something you're so familiar with to someone new - to forget your long history with the project and think like someone encountering it for the first time.
Tommy website. Talking showreel with Charlie who's taken on the unenviable challenge of condensing the agency into a couple of minutes whilst simultaneously not looking like every other showreel out there.
Chatting through one of the most irritating modern day digital design problems - how to make something responsive, internationally localisable AND still looking good.
Discussing API vs Theme approach to Tumblrs, pros and cons, what's possible within the platform and so on. I always like the idea of using existing platforms in new ways. Why spend the client's money reinventing the wheel with when you can do something engaging in an already established place?
Our latest site for Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation has just gone live. The last of the big ones we've been working on over the last 6 months.
On tube on way home. Not picking up the kids so quicker journey than this morning.
Pleasant glass of wine in the garden in the evening sun interrupted by Nerf battle with the boys.
Scouring Pinterest for interesting design references for our website. I love Pinterest for its inspiration - not in a direct search for what I'm after but rather the journey it takes me on around the winding backstreets of utterly unrelated content. Eventually I know I'll stumble upon a random single image that inexplicably solves a design problem I've been turning over in my mind.
Got a day with the boys today so taking them out after lunch to the Imperial War Museum as my eldest is covering WWII at school.
Roaming about the house engaging in various games and action figure storylines. Get embroiled in 'discussion' with oldest son over how hard is too hard when hitting younger son with toy foam swords.
Imagine the museum cafe doesn't have a huge gluten-free menu selection and my youngest has acute Coeliac disease so I do an early lunch.
Heading out. Tube with two excitable kids, here we come! Three year old falls asleep almost immediately, seven year old climbs up and down the hand rails like the carriage is some sort of mobile, subterranean assault course.
Museum done. So much to see. I promise myself I'll return, sans kids, so I can enjoy it without having to make sure my youngest isn't climbing over a fragile piece of 70 year old naval weaponry and my eldest isn't refusing to leave the mock air raid shelter until the looping, recorded air raid sound effect ceases. Good times though.
Take the boys to the office. The company is named after Tom, my eldest, so he always feels special coming in here. At least I think he does.... it could be the toys and general obligatory design clutter we have accumulated on the shelves. As I said earlier, it really is a family here. Almost literally in this respect.
Pizza Express (great gluten-free kids' pizza) for dinner with the boys. Long day, they're hungry, they eat, mission accomplished.
Uber it home rather than fight my way with a buggy and two boys into a rush hour Tottenham Court Road. Costs a tenner a day to park so figure I'm coming out even.
Woken. 5am... really??
Back in the office catching up on the work done yesterday. Educating clients on transitioning to HTML5 for their ad campaigns and the limits/possibilities therein.
My design approvals list on Trello operates like the painting of the Forth Bridge - as soon as I complete a set, I have to start again.
Lunch with one of our young design team to define roles and progress for the next six months. We allow people total freedom to follow any path they see fit as long as it offers tangible benefits to the company and he's coming out of his post-degree 'I just want to do everything!' mindset and beginning to formulate clearer views on the direction he wants to take.
We'll work closely with him over the next six months/year to make sure he's moving in a direction that he's happy with. That could be ensuring he's free to work on briefs that are of particular interest to him or sending him on training courses to expand his skills and so on. We're firm believers in helping people achieve their goals and of the mantra that happy staff make better work.
As if to illustrate the point, we receive client invites to the first UK Mission Impossible screening in the grand Leicester Square Empire Imax for tonight. Excited.
Leicester Square, looking for the client with the tickets. The package is in the open, *ahem*.
Package received, complimentary comically titled salsa covered peas consumed, let's do this.
Blimey! That had more set pieces than a game of Mouse Trap, brilliant stuff. Fantastic old fashioned, international, rolling adventure. Love my job.
Tommy Friday breakfast.
Standard fare: croissants, pain au chocolat, juices, cheese (Bavarian smoked, leerdamer, jaarlsberg, what... no spicy chilli cheese?! Who chose this cheese?!), meat (honey roast ham, salt beef, pastrami), satsumas, coffee, tea.
Off-piste: strawberries, banana milk, piña colada (non alcoholic).
Weekly question: Who would you take with you in the event of a zombie apocalypse? Chewie (our designer Gou-You Chew, not Han's copilot) came out an early favourite due to previous military training and his performance at the office paintball event a few weeks ago. Close contenders were Myia due to her intimate knowledge of underground bars and other London hiding holes, and Marcus mainly due to his perceived value as sacrificial bait. Happy days.
We reviewed a showreel for our Terminator digital package created by Pete which is looking stunning.
It's looking like a typical British summer day with torrential rain so we're doing our Friday thing and going for some darts in the pub. Everyone desperately trying to finish their work in time to join.
Pints in hand, names on the board, three lives each. This shit just got real.
Alexis, with us on maternity cover, has just whitewashed everyone in two successive games. Everyone pretends to be happy for her as it's her first time while secretly plotting her downfall next week.
Testing scrolling across mac and PC - important to get a perfect balance with all input devices. As a devout PC user I'm particularly picky about it, having been subjected to a thousand parallax scrolling websites juddering past my eyes.
Clients page designed. Never a fan of clients pages that just list the logos, want something more interesting than that. Everything should feel like it's been considered and designed.
Beer o'clock. Few people out at Secret Garden Party today so a smaller order. I'm glad, as it's raining like it's the final Sunday of Wimbledon.
The cliché that is a branded pool table is alive and well in the Tommy office and being enthusiastically fought over. FIFA is on the XBox, Marcus is three matches down to Craig and the air is blue with frustration.
While people finish their work, excitement builds as Marcus brings it back to three all with a tightly fought 2-1 victory. He tells me in the time it's taken for him to score three goals, Craig scored 18 so I'm not holding out much hope for him in the decider but I push them to play it purely for the spectators.
It's all over in a 5-0 defeat. Marcus's disappointment is palpable.
We lock up shop for the week and head our various ways into the tropical summer. Tropical as in rainforest, not island.
Woohoo, a lie in!!
Slow morning of tidying the debris from all the toy boxes that have exploded over the previous week.
Summer festival in Alexandra Palace with kids and family. A few overpriced lagers in the sun later and I sense my early morning starts of the previous week will be caught up this evening.
My wife is leaving for a week on a work sprint later today so we take the boys to see Inside Out as a treat. Incredible film. So many levels and so much more complex than the average kids' fare. Love Pixar for that.
Most of it goes over my eldest's head but he gets the general gist of it and likes what's going on.
All of it goes over my youngest's head and he spends the whole time driving his smuggled-in Lightening McQueen toy over the back of the seats in front.
I spend half of the film trying to get him to stop. We all have a great time.
Kids fed, bathed and in bed. Obi-wan has just sent Luke off to the Dagobah system in search of Yoda and that's it. Quiet sunday night before we're back to the monday morning poached egg challenge tomorrow.