Jason Munn is the name behind the award winning one-man studio known as The Small Stakes. Jason’s work has been featured in many of the top design magazines and is part of the permanent collection at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Jason’s client list includes Patagonia, Wired and New York Times magazine to name a few. He is also well known in the world of concert posters. Since 2003 he has been designing for indie rock’s hottest bands including The Pixies, Death Cab for Cutie, Modest Mouse, The Flaming Lips and many more. Over 150 of these posters are featured in a book titled The Small Stakes-Music Posters which was recently released by Chronicle Books. Jason spoke to us about his home studio and the challenges he faced transitioning from a traditional office setting.
How long have you been working from home? I’ve been working from home full time for about the past seven years, before this I had been working in a couple different design studios. My first home/studio was a studio apartment, which became more and more challenging because there was not any type of separation between anything. Now we live in a two bedroom house, the second bedroom acts as my studio space
What challenges did you face transitioning from working in a design firm to a home based office? The biggest drawback for me about working from home versus in a design firm is the lack of communication or feedback while you are working on project. More and more I miss that aspect of a studio. Dirk Fowler, another designer and friend of mine who also works from home often send images of what we are working on back and forth to get feedback or advice from each other.
Working in a home setting, it’s easy to get distracted. Do you have any tips for staying focused on projects? I try to stick to a routine, but will be the first to admit I can have a hard time doing that. My wife has been back in school the last couple years, so she is often working late, so I’ll often do the same. When I’m stuck or in the thinking process during a project I tend to work in chunks of time and find myself walking around the block to take a break. I think the distractions of working in a firm versus working at home probably balance out, in the long run I feel I have less distractions. I do miss the commute to work a little bit, I used to walk to work and that was perfect for starting the day. Now if I have any errands or anything like that I typically do them first thing in the morning, so that becomes my commute.
Is there anything you would like to change in your workspace? As you can see I keep things pretty sparse and I often have the tendency to want to get rid of things rather than acquire them. I’m happy to have my own room to work out of versus having everything in the studio apartment. We also have a small room below the house that acts as the poster storage and shipping area, our shipping area used to be the kitchen in the studio apartment. I would like to try working from a space outside my house, maybe a shared space with a couple other designers. We’ll see, it hasn’t been a priority yet.