Originally published on Juelp. Article titled, Q&A: What’s Your Advice For Collaborating With Someone? Written by Amy Schroeder
Ever thought about working in collaboration with another artist or designer? For some artists, working solo-style is best for them, while others choose to collaborate for short sprints or long-term projects. Many Minted artists also say they benefit from the collaborative nature of critiquing each other’s work during the Design Challenge process. For this edition of #ArtistAdvice, we asked full-time design duos Baumbirdy and Rose Lindo and her husband to share their best advice for creative collaboration.
Sarah Baumgardner and Carolyn Doogan
Our best advice for working in a collaboration with someone is to have good communication from the very beginning. Honest communication is best. Sounds simple, but it can be really hard in the beginning not to take things personally, especially when dealing with something so personal as art.
It’s easy to say, “I like this color palette,” “That looks nice,” or “What do you want for lunch?,” but the true progress comes from “real” critiques. Being able to openly give and take advice and criticism is essential in creating trust and open-mindedness between one another. Being able to recognize and talk about one’s strengths and weaknesses are essential to creating an efficient design process.
“Floral Peace” holiday card by Baumbirdy
Openly communicating during the creative process will allow you to see things in a different light and recognize potential in areas you didn’t see before. When you honestly communicate about the good and the bad, likes and dislikes, visions and revisions, it doesn’t become work anymore—it becomes two people having fun doing what they love.
Photos by Carolyn Doogan
San Antonio, Texas
Several years ago, my husband and I were living the so-called dream in Austin, Texas. Thomas worked as a corporate restaurant manager with a decent salary and good benefits, and after many setbacks, my design business was finally starting to take off. In 2013, just before I turned 30, my husband traded in his chef coat for a laptop, and we celebrated our new life as business partners with a trip to Denver with our closest friends.
Thomas likes to give himself a new title each week, so for now, we’ll call him Chief Technology Officer, or CTO, for short. He’s always been obsessed with gadgets and researching the latest trends in technology. He’s a wizard at keeping up with our social media and marketing, which has played an essential role in growing our business over the last year. I take care of all the design work and product creation, so our roles rarely intersect.
“Heart of Gold” by Rose Lindo
I’ve always been a “fly by the seat of my pants” kind of gal, which didn’t mesh well with Thomas’ strict schedule. We had grown accustomed to missing birthdays, holidays, and most social gatherings due to the restaurant’s schedule we were married to, but it was a small price to pay for, well, whatever reward it was we were chasing after. The more I thought about it, the more I realized we were living someone else’s dream—not our own.
We decided to set financial goals, eliminate all debt, and downsize from a three-bedroom house to a 650 square-foot apartment in hopes of forging our own path as business partners. Thomas is the left brain to my right, while we both fall into the “scatterbrained” category. It’s almost comical to watch either of us work, as we click haphazardly around our screens, usually with at least a dozen windows pulled up at once. Neither of us uses a planner or to-do list of any sort, but we somehow manage to make things work.
When it comes to collaborating with someone else, it’s important to find someone who brings a unique set of skills to the table. If your roles are too similar, you might end up stepping on one another’s toes. Fortunately, my husband excels at all the things I’m terrible at and vice-versa.