Try the kitchen table for some homespun wisdom

Given the continuing debates about going freelance vs the security of the payroll, and the delights of working in the centre of a city, compared to the drawbacks of life in the regions, I thought my experience might helpothers considering working from home.

We work at our kitchen table by choice. We have considered getting a studio space, but since we started up about a year ago, the prospect of shipping ourselves out of our home each day and into an alien environment has become a daunting one.

The reason lies not in laziness on our part, travel phobia, or even the outlay, but, rather, we have discovered that the home plays an active part.

To get work done, friends come to us, connecting their laptops to our little wireless network and putting the kettle on for a cuppa.

Being focused primarily on consumer goods, the interplay between food, cooking, kitchen and design has become vital to us.

We’ve started designing packs that really feel like they belong in the home, because they are born and debated there.

We ask parents, neighbours and friends what they like about the solutions we’ve devised, in what could be described as simple, but relevant focus groups (that add to, rather than supplant, in-depth research, I should stress).

I’m not saying that we should all go and work at home, but it has proven to us the wisdom of the mantra that many a consultancy preaches – that all designers should gain immersion in the brands they’re working on, in the right proximity, and contextualise them in appropriate situations.

If you want a jam or a muesli to feel at home on an old pine breakfast table, best design it on one.

Derek Johnston, Co-founder and creative partner, Family and Friends, Summerstown, London SW17

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