Shop Talk: Chartreuse

Photography: Suzanne Coffer

Chartreuse is a darling design studio with a close-knit team and an inspiring vision. The gorgeous hue chosen to represent this Cleveland-based company says it all! Charity, Michelle, and Sara incorporate a decidedly colorful enthusiasm into each of their endeavors. Even their stylishly sleek workspace — captured by brilliant photographer Suzanne Cofer — oozes creative energy and unprecedented passion! Despite a whirlwind of diverse clients, new projects, and exciting challenges, this talented trio remains determined to relish the glittery tidbits every opportunity has to offer.

What is the story behind your company’s name? Why Chartreuse?
Naming your own business takes a serious commitment. The name had to be unique, interesting, and a bit intriguing. Chartreuse is not only one of our favorite colors, but it’s also a color that most people have a strong reaction to. We like to think that our designs evoke emotion in both our clients and their audiences. “Chartreuse” is also a very potent liquor, as well as a picturesque place in France. (As dedicated Francophiles, we appreciate the association!)

“The clean, airy, open floor plan allows for creativity to flow through the studio.”

“Our creative inspiration board; a place for goals, wishes, great fashion imagery and recent project work.”

What makes Chartreuse unique from other design companies?
We are a small firm, bursting with creativity. We think smart. We’re expert multi-taskers, providing our clients with multiple services all rolled into one team. If you are working with Chartreuse, you have access to three very unique designers who strive to give you one-of-a-kind thinking and results. Our clients appreciate our working process and the environment in which it takes place. Some partnerships have continued since Chartreuse first opened over seven years ago! We’re smart, strategic, nimble, and fun — isn’t that what people look for when hiring a small firm?

There’s nothing like sitting down and flipping though a book to put your mind in that creative space. The little sprite guards this stack of books.

Blocking out the whirl of the studio, Michelle styles with her Chartreuse headphones filled with swanky tunes.

Founder, owner, & designer, Charity D’Amato is proud of the team and the opportunity to work with some great partners.

Choosing the perfect typeface, Sara finds herself concentrating on the project at hand.

How would you describe the energy / environment of the Chartreuse workplace?
I like to think of the studio as a clean, fresh space where creativity can grow and shine. In designing our space, we kept the basic floor plan open and mobile, allowing for mixed needs. We come to work each day excited and thankful that we have the opportunity to do what we love: design for interesting people and businesses. It’s a high energy workplace, but we try our best to always keep things light.

Just in time for the holidays, the team shows us how to make little, glittery holiday notecards. Download your own shapes, trim, glitter, and Voila! Sparkly holiday fun.

Glittery holiday cards, perfect for your note to Santa (or those impromptu cocktail party invites!). Print out these fun templates on brightly colored paper.

What does a typical day at Chartreuse entail?
In the morning, we all arrive with stories from the previous weekend or night. After a bit of chit-chat, the headphones go on, and that is our signal to each other that it’s time to get down to business. We often have clients stopping in, paper vendors dropping off samples, or meetings with photographers about various projects — all of which contribute to the never-ending energy of the studio. We often eat lunch together, but we also spend a fair amount of days “desk dining,” simultaneously reviewing printer’s proofs, perusing Pinterest, or listening to NPR and Pandora. When 3:30 rolls around, we often break for a cup of coffee, a fountain soda run, or simply a pause away from our computers.

What’s one of the best parts about working on such a wide variety of creative projects?
First and foremost, because we have a wide range of projects, things definitely never get boring. At the end of each day, we’re able to come away more knowledgeable on everything — from the lighting industry, to the insurance markets, to a yoga business — all the way to regional development initiatives!

We’re particularly fond of your bright, clean workspace. How would you describe the design scheme?
It’s just as what our logo for our firm says: Classic. Modern. Elegant. Classic in that we proudly display the tin ceiling, original to the building construction of the 1920s. Modern because we choose a high-gloss chocolate brown flooring treatment paired with sleek white walls and large windows. Elegant because no detail is left untouched, from the vase of welcoming flowers to the pretty kitchenette coffee bar to the crystal chandelier lighting the bathroom. The space is a true reflection of the firm and the work we produce.

A team that eats together, creates together! The designers toast to a yummy homemade lunch, a great way to step away from their projects and brainstorm as a group.

How does the team add “sparkle” to daily projects?
In our industry, we actually get to add real visible “sparkle” to our projects through the use of glittery papers, metallic inks, and shiny foils. In terms of “team sparkle,” some examples include: belting out a random tune along with the 80’s channel on Sirius radio, a monthly group wellness experience (from rock climbing to yoga to running with inner-city school kids), weekly team lunches (we take turns bringing in lunch!), and a summer entertaining series where clients and friends mingled and networked at the Petit Parc (the studio’s outdoor space). This group really knows how to sparkle — we have a true joie de vivre!

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Author: Jennifer F.

Jennifer Finn is a writer and editor sustained primarily by espresso and jazz standards.