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Topp is different from other studios

THINKING & DOING

We're really serious about tangible expression. Not just in a “we build prototypes to test concepts” way. More in a “if you’re eight hours into a new project and haven’t made anything yet, what are you even doing?” way. There’s a kind of genius in the transition from concept to execution, so we make a point of jumping between them several times a day.

This means everyone here makes something: sketches, animations, interactive prototypes, hardware, video, articles…whatever makes the idea real. And we don’t have Creative Directors—every design team decides strategy together.

It also means we rarely spend all day in meetings.

Here’s a poster and video we made about Thinking & Doing.

YOU ARE NOT YOUR TITLE

You had a whole life before you got here. Maybe you studied design, sociology, art or engineering. You might’ve been an illustrator or videographer or science teacher. Maybe you shoot portraits in your spare time, or make indie video games.

We want that. We want all of it.

Part of what makes Topp such a great studio is our flexibility. No two of us have the same skill set, so we don’t try to squeeze every Researcher or UX Designer into the same square-edged box. We’d rather embrace the chaos, and have you bring every scrap of hard-won skill to the table.

This lets us pack a lot of expertise into a small team, so we can take on projects from big corporations and from tiny startups. It also means we’re comfortable in a lot of different technologies and industries, from apps and wearables to robots and kitchen stoves. And we have more fun this way.

Here’s an article we wrote about roles at Topp.

WE BELIEVE IN YOU

If you work at Topp, it’s because you’re a fully formed adult who’s good at doing things. You won’t have to constantly ask permission to do what you need to do. But on the other hand, no one’s going to hold your hand and walk you through your job.

Everyone here walks a line between pushing the envelope and staying sane. People work their asses off to do amazing things, and stretch beyond their comfort zones in the process. Sometimes they get it wrong, and that’s OK—but they also have to make it right.

We like ambition here, but we also know that ambitious people need a lot of support. So people tend to get the resources they need, they rarely go solo, and they never get farmed out to a client on long-term remote assignment. We’ve seen where that leads, and it’s not great.

Here’s a weird art project that started in the studio last year, and it’s still going.

extra SCANDINAVIAN

Our designers come from all over the world, but our studio believes in some typically Nordic things.

We value open communication and flat hierarchy, for instance: everyone has a say here, and everyone listens. We’re pretty direct, but very low ego. You won’t find people throwing their weight around, but if someone disagrees, you’ll hear it right away.

We don’t really talk about work/life balance here, because work and life aren't in competition. You do what you need to keep your life in balance, and doing great work is part of that. In practical terms, this means schedules are flexible, benefits are great, and we’re generally out the door before 6pm. Toddlers hang out in the office during school holidays, and we all get together for fika, with cake and good coffee, on a regular basis.

Here’s what a morning meeting looks like (there are candles).

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