If you go to digital creative agency Hello Monday’s website, one thing you might immediately notice is the sense of movement in their work. Not just because the design of their projects page is so interactive and illustrative of their specialization in digital experiences and products, but also because the projects themselves suggest that there is a vibrant story unfolding just on the other side of a mouse click—and that it’s a story you want to be a part of.
Equally alluring is the agency itself, which operates on a different set of rules than many of us do:
Eating lunch together, every day. Making Mondays fun. Incorporating culture into everyday work. These are the things that make Hello Monday stand out in the international design landscape.
[Psst! HOW’s International Design Awards recognizes excellence on a global scale. Enter by Sept. 9 so that Sagi Haviv, Mona Patel and Magnus Berg can check out your work!]
Let’s find out more from Johanne Bruun Rasmussen, founding partner and designer at Hello Monday.
How Hello Monday Does It
HOW: Staying true to your name, you all call yourselves Mondayteers and say that you’re on a mission to turn the worst day of the week into the best one. What exactly does that look like?
Rasmussen: When we say that Monday is the worst day, we’re also indirectly saying that people don’t think work is the most awesome thing in the world. We wanted to do something about that. It’s like the realization you get to when you decide to buy a good mattress because you understand that you’ll spend 8 hours on it every night for the rest of your life. Then you want a great mattress. It’s the same with work; we’ll (hopefully) be working until we’re 70 years old, so we might as well make it as comfortable as possible.
What makes Mondays fun changes depending on who we are. It’s safe to say that everyone here thrives when we’re experimenting and walk on “new snow.” The feeling of being the first to try or do something. At the moment, many of our projects are making an impact either by helping Mother Nature, changing digital habits for kids or collaborating with a team that’s trying to cure lung cancer. It changes all the time, so our mission is always adapting itself to the X, which is the potential projects and clients that approach us or the potential we create ourselves. So the way we make Mondays better is always changing.
“We never stop people that take initiative.”
—Johanne Bruun Rasmussen,
Something amazing that your teams do—whether in Aarhus, Copenhagen or New York—is have lunch together every day in order to continue to cultivate your “unique brand of crazy,” as you put it. That’s quite the commitment! Back in February, you wrote the following powerful passage about this:
Culture isn’t a series of random perks that are to be enjoyed in addition to a crushing workload — it’s the blood in the heart of a business. But it’s not just a warm-and-fuzzy concept: studies are backing up that good culture is good business. A commitment to well-being, development, and culture doesn’t stop at free coffee, but it could start at the lunch table.
I’m guessing it doesn’t stop at the lunch table with the Mondayteers. How else do you maintain your commitment to well-being, development and culture, and how have these commitments evolved your teams?
Despite from lunch (which is super important ) my mom always taught me to knead love into the dough when I bake rolls. You can taste the difference. We’re always trying to get the right projects to ensure that we also knead love into our projects. Users can feel the difference, and that’s why we try to match the right people with the right projects.
Culture has to be an ingredient in work itself instead of something you do on the side—the work-sucks-but-we-have-yoga-approach is never working well. When what you’re doing is more than just a job, you can feel the genuine interest in the solution. And people develop much faster when their development is based on interest.
Is there anything specific Mondayteers do to cultivate creativity on a regular basis?
Our Mondayteers have many different interests. Creativity creates creativity. The more you use and flex these muscles, the more creative ideas you’ll get. Then you come home and suddenly you feel an urge to make things in leather, create a jacket collection, go fishing with a strange Japanese fishing rod or grow plants in urinals. All real examples.
“Creativity creates creativity.”
To find out more about what creativity means to Hello Monday,
check out the video above that the agency created exclusively for HOW readers.
Oh and! To deep into the ideas, inspirations & innovations behind modern-day creativity,
subscribe to HOW today to get the Summer Creativity Issue while it’s still available!
What do you consider to be the agency’s biggest success of the past year, and how did you celebrate?
We recently did a complete revamp of thefwa.com. It was a huge project with 15 years of legacy content and complex user journeys. We won our first FWA nine years ago, and we’ve always used this award to keep our creative bar high. It was a bit nerve-wracking to mess with something that so many creative people have a strong opinion about, so we were extremely happy and relieved to see all the positive reactions. It was also a special project because the platform had not been living up to the high ideals it celebrates, so we felt that we had to help or save it in a way. We’re happy to see its heart beat again so it can continue to inspire a new generations.
We celebrated by eating all the candy we got from Rob, the FWA founder.
What’s the biggest lesson that Mondayteers learned in 2016?
The most important lesson we’ve learned is that we can’t have a five-year plan. Things change so fast that a plan becomes a limitation rather than a drive. An iterative process is important in your life too. For that reason, we’d never recommend agencies or people to create these plans. Instead they should just stay curious and keep on repeating the following line: “change is good” just like the sharks in Finding Nemo when they say: “Fish are friends, not food.” If you say it enough times, you’ll start to believe it.
What might the future of Hello Monday look like? Any big plans?
We always have a hundred different plans, but the ones that get executed are mostly driven by a moment of insanity where a person says, ”Let’s do this,” and then actually does it. We never stop people that take initiative.
Any words of wisdom for your fellow designers and creatives?
Sure. Don’t be intimidated by the beautiful Dribbble boards and creative portfolios out there. Don’t look too much at what other designers or developers do. It’s ok to imitate in the beginning. In jazz, you first practice chords and scales (the craft), then you imitate to get ideas, and suddenly one day you start to fly on your own. That’s what you want. To learn how to improvise.
Anything else you’d like to add? Random, quirky facts about the team? 🙂
We recently realized that the division of men and women at Hello Monday is close to 50/50—we haven’t thought strategically about it, but as a female founder it’s nice to see more women in the digital world. And I’m proud that it happened naturally.
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