A design student, whether close to graduation or not, is always curious to discover the face of the inside of an actual design studio. One of the perks of being an AIGA member is the ability to experience such things while still being a student. This past month, we had the opportunity to visit two Kansas City design studios, Design Ranch and Whiskey Design. With them being just a couple blocks from each other, it was a convenient little day trip for us K‐Stater’s traveling about ninety miles from Manhattan.
Our first stop was Design Ranch. Upon arrival we were greeted by friendly AIGAvolunteers who got us signed in. When looking around, you could the see the stars in the eyes of future designers, so thrilled to be there. The tour was kicked off by the Creative Director and Copy Editor. There were three floors to the establishment. The top floor, where the two bosses worked and mood boards were presented; the main floor, that contained a conference area, lobby, four cubicles, and a lounge; the basement, containing a couple workspaces and a library. The space was very modern and warm. There are plenty of windows that provide an inviting atmosphere. It is a company dominated by women, having only one male influence on staff, making it a unique place to work.
The next stop was just down the street a ways to Whiskey Design. Once entering, the only two faces of the business greeted us. The tour began in their workspace. They explained that usually the front of house is a conference room, but it was important to them to have their offices right up front. The space was newly renovated and quite beautiful. We were able to see pictures of the construction process and what the building used to look like. The highlight of the building definitely had to be the area for entertaining guests. It was a large room, including a kitchen and dinning table. It was in this room, that we were offered a libation and given a presentation on the work that Whiskey Design had accomplished.
Although they were both very small companies, they both seemed to bring in big business. It was great getting to see the projects that they had worked on and just how excited they were about each of them. The overall tone of Design Ranch was mostly clean cut; while Whiskey Design gave more of an edgy, push the envelope feel. They both had extremely kind staff and were both quite accommodating to our tour group. Senior Meredith Muller of Kansas State University states, “Even though we only saw two studios, it was still a diverse range of projects, styles, and designers.” On the topic of all of the work that we were able to see, Senior William Greusel added, “It was interesting to see how a studio represents itself by the work they choose to present to visitors.” So
in conclusion, thank you, Design Ranch and Whiskey Design. Not just for your hospitality, but also for inspiring yet another generation of designers and opening our eyes to the real world of Kansas City design.
By Jess Shea, Kansas State University Senior