Surviving Fridays in a design studio!






At TOTEM we stand for quality being a given, not an aspiration. And that doesn’t just refer to our work for clients – it’s at the very heart of who we are. Right across the team, we’ve different interests, different hobbies and different passions. But no matter what the subject is, there’s always an appreciation for, and an expectation of, quality.

And when Viktorija joined the team, it was her passion for quality coffee that inspired the whole team to change our Friday ritual…







In most offices, people start to ease off work on Fridays. They try and finish early – eagerly anticipating the start of the weekend. But when we hear people say “that Friday feeling” we shudder, instead of smile.

Because in the design industry Fridays can be best summed up with the phrase “expect the unexpected”. Friday is a day for last minute changes and urgent deadlines. And when the pressure is on, there’s nothing quite as good as a steaming mug of coffee to boost the energy levels. To gear you up for that extra push before the weekend.

When I started in Totem, the ritual of the weekly Friday coffee run was already established. But I had to insist on a change of our source and supplier. Because I won’t lie, when it comes to coffee I am a little picky (see food and drink snob in dictionary).

But I think that’s only because I’m a designer.

Design teaches you that most of the good work is in the smallest of details. And that less is more. It is the same with coffee, for me. Rather than cluttered blends of flavours, I strongly prefer the simple elegant taste of single origin beans.

And for me I’ve no interest in coffees where words like ‘Arabica’ scream from the packaging. I want the details. Where did it come from? What altitude was it grown in? How was it processed, dried and roasted? What does it taste like? How does it brew?



Some would ask – whether that really matters? Altitude, really? But it does.

It’s a bit like looking at an amazing logo or poster. And as good as it is, when you hear how many hours went into producing it you’re thinking… really? It couldn’t have been that much! I mean it’s just a tick. Just an apple. I could have done that on the laptop myself.

And that’s the true mark of quality – simplicity.

As Woody Guthrie said ‘Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make it simple.’

And simple, quality designs and coffee involve incredible dedication and passion for every step of the process.

For design work, it’s the critical thinking and brainstorming.  The attention each and every vector point fixed, every slight curve added, and line weight selected is given.

Now the ritual of the Friday coffee is almost sacred in the office. It’s no longer just me – there’s an office wide appreciation and obsession with every detail of the coffees we drink.

We all have different preferences. I prefer a flat white with an occasional Americano. Colin and Oren like Lattes and Doireann drinks hers in a keep cup, to help the environment. But one thing is common no matter who is getting the coffee…

… we walk the extra distance for quality.

And only at the end of the day, when the lingering coffee aroma airs out and all the unexpected work is finished, with deadlines reached … do we say see you on Monday, have a good weekend. And go home to switch the coffee cup for a glass of gin and tonic.

But that’s a story for another blog…