“Choose joy” and other BSTRO guiding principles

April 25, 2018

April of this year marked BSTRO’s 14th anniversary as an agency. Over the years, our BSTRO guiding principles have been pivotal in allowing us to maintain our unique point of view, even as we’ve expanded internationally.

Recently, our design team has begun commemorating our “words to live by” in posters. We’re sharing a few of our favorites below, along with the full list of our BSTRO guiding principles. Take a look, and please send us suggestions for other principles that have guided you to success!

Choose joy

Cynicism is contagious. Once it rears its skeptical, sneering head, it’s difficult to turn away from, and it often leads to a negative work environment. But you know what’s equally contagious? Joy. That’s why choosing joy is one of our favorite guiding principles as an agency.

Choosing joy isn’t always easy. But at BSTRO, it’s always the choice we encourage. To be successful here, we ask everyone on the team to make the conscious choice to look beyond any momentary irritation or friction, and see the larger goal that we’re working together to achieve. The result, unquestionably, is that happy people are more free to be creative and find solutions. Happy teams make better work, which makes choosing joy the clear choice.

Designed by Anastasia Chetvertukhina | Download: Instagram (JPG) | Printable (PDF)

Top the pyramid

Early on in our founder Jill Tracy’s marketing career, one of her bosses told his team to make sure to always “top the pyramid.” He firmly believed that the last 5% of time and effort spent on a project can make all the difference in the world. All the work of building a solid foundation wouldn’t have been appreciated if the team gave up and didn’t “top the pyramid.” What this message tells us today at BSTRO is: When you’re tired and feel like quitting, don’t. Make sure the final decisions are just as thoughtfully considered as the first ones, so the end results meet your standards and stand the test of time.

Created by Ron Woloshun | Download: Instagram (JPG) | Printable (PDF)

Kindness always wins

The Dalai Lama once said: “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” Not to one-up the contemporary incarnation of Tibet’s Bodhisattva of Compassion, but we might also add that, in addition to always being possible, kindness also always wins.

Kindness wins when we’re up against a stressful deadline and we still remember to use our “please” and “thank you” words and smile to each other. Kindness wins when we see a coworker in a tough spot and we help them cross the finish line. Kindness wins when a client calls with a seemingly impossible-to-solve problem, and we take the time to break it down and solve it — because we recognize what it’s like to be in their shoes.

Created by Anastasia Chetvertukhina | Download: Instagram (JPG) | Printable (PDF)

Get shit done

Don’t let the desire for perfection paralyze progress: Get shit done. Truth be told, our team as a whole has a bit of a perfectionist streak. We want everything we do for our clients to be well thought-out, clever, pristine and error-free. Our success with “topping the pyramid” is precisely because of this trait, and we’re proud of it. But we were born in startup time, and know that, most of the time, things have to happen quickly. So we think, then act, and get shit done.

Created by Damian Jolley | Download: Instagram (JPG) | Printable (PDF)

Bump the lamp

There’s a crucial scene in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? that gets animation geeks (and designers and illustrators of all types) really talking. In the scene, Eddie Valiant is trying to saw off a pair of handcuffs, and in so doing bumps a lamp that hangs precariously from a ceiling. As the scene progresses, the lamp swings to and fro, causing the lighting to shift both on the live human acting in the scene — and his animated counterpart, Roger.

It’s hard to quantify the amount of attention to detail required to expertly create this effect, though it’s fair to say that the film’s 4 Academy Awards go a long way toward measuring its success. The reason “bump the lamp” is a guiding principle at BSTRO is because we know that sometimes it’s the smallest detail, executed with finesse, that can take the success of a project to the next level. Over the past 14 years, we’ve learned to identify when it’s time to bump the lamp (in “Get shit done” moments, it’s clearly not the time) and to take those opportunities to knock our results out of the park on behalf of our clients.

Created by Ron Woloshun | Download: Instagram (JPG) | Printable (PDF)

The full list of BSTRO Principles

The above BSTRO principles were the ones that our designers chose as design challenge subjects, but they don’t represent the full list, which you can read below. We hope they help you as much as they help us — and if you have ideas for others we should add, send them along!

  1. There is no I in BSTRO. No one can do this alone; the sum of us is better than any one of us.
  2. What you do is important but so is how you do it; Think about how your words and actions impact others.
  3. Cynicism is contagious. So is joy. Choose joy.
  4. Kindness always wins.
  5. Don’t let the desire for perfection paralyze progress. (GET SHIT DONE!)
  6. Bring two solutions for every problem.
  7. Have a point-of-view.
  8. Answer YES to most reasonable requests.
  9. Keep meetings brief and focused; Arrive knowledgeable and prepared to participate.
  10. Keep your commitments.
  11. The only constant in this business is change. Embrace change and help us forge the future.