Inside the Offices of Branding Agency Lodge 26 in Dallas

Past meets future in a haven for creative exploration

We like to think of our creative studio space as our fourth team member at Lodge 26. You'll find a mixture of youthful whimsy and curated sophistication, infused with each of our personalities, design aesthetics and energies. But despite the cacophony of visual stimuli in our space, it is specifically designed to be 100 percent functional. We make use of the entire space as our workshop, leaving no surface unaltered by creative exploration as we craft branding strategies for our clients. A piece that may serve as inspiration for a logo one day can transform into the foundation of a color exploration the next. 

Our tight-knit creative unit of three was originally an in-house team, pouring our creative juices into launching and growing internal brands. Now that we are fully public as a studio, we still maintain that same boutique sensibility. Our space is designed to allow us to do what we do best, providing us with the comfort, tools, inspiration and layout to transform brand problems into design-driven solutions. Oh, and a couch, because: naps. 

Our desks are modular representations of our inspirations, quirks and passions. Like our creative process, our studio setup is constantly in flux, shifting and molding to accommodate the ideas that are driving our work. We each have our own work stations that provide a lens into the beautiful mess we create and the images and thoughts that inspire us. 

I'm a bit of a sentimental hoarder, so a lot of the artwork and inspiration that has contributed to my work over the years seems to stick around, in one way or another. All of the culture, art and experiences that I've absorbed over the years contribute to my creative lens when approaching brand design work. By infusing it in my workspace, I'm able to bring my experience to the table, while keeping it fresh with new approaches. 

Our clients often come to our office for presentations, so we try to keep the space professional, yet representative of who we are. Certain pockets we reserve for a more curated display, and currently we have a few cubbies that have a mix of monochromatic products. These are items that have served as inspiration for past projects, remixed to pay homage to our love of heritage products in a fun way. These collections have honestly happened fairly organically. Once your brain is wired for design, it's a bit difficult to turn it off circumstantially. We try to constantly evolve our displays so it's never stagnant.

Aesthetically, we have a taste for heirloom products. We gravitate toward designs that are timeless and continue to sharpen and elevate with age, often providing a level of inherent familiarity. Whether it is a vintage radio, turntable, lockers or theater seats, all of the classic pieces that you'll find in our space have found their way to us through various creative explorations or adventures. Again, if you can make it look good, it's not stockpiling; it's design.

Are you truly a hoarder if you transform your childhood toys into colorful hipster catchphrases that are actually vintage-inspired? I think not. We are constantly rearranging our knickknacks within our space to maintain a fresh and charmingly unpredictable element of design. And books, always books. It's amazing how much more you can derive from 10 minutes of poring into a book versus the same time with equivalent materials, all while combating the 25 other browser tabs you have open. Try it every now and then, trust me.

Our long, narrow space is meant to be free-flowing and very hands-on. When we present ideas to clients, we aim to create a gallery sensibility, so the narrow, shotgun look of the space leans into creating a full visual experience as you walk through. The massive steel panels allow us to have a very interactive creative process, using magnets to post new ideas and removing ideas when they no longer reinforce our strategy. When clients come in for a presentation, they are also able to be a part of this exploration, giving us the space for a much more collaborative process. We want to feel that we are presenting with them, not to them, engaging them and allowing them to step into the creative evolution. By being present in our workshop, they not only see the massive amount of time and energy that we have put in, but also the scale of what we are looking to do for their brand. 

Everything in our space is arranged from one end to the other, with a centralized table that you can walk around. This gives us a unified space to come together to brainstorm, while also giving us a prime vantage point of where we are in the envisioning process. Having the ability to see our ideas on both a micro and macro level is essential to shaping the vision to best serve the client's branding needs. It gives us the ability to step back and see the big picture or lean in to see a more specific train of thought, then tweak as needed. 

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David Hummel
David Hummel is creative director at Lodge 26.