Our Culture

What's it like to work with Shook Kelley? We've collected a few principles that matter to us, and a few characteristics you can expect from our culture.

Shook Kelley is a diverse and collaborative environment.

We intentionally bring together people from many different backgrounds, with a diverse set of skills and experiences and hailing from different cities and countries around the world. We believe this diversity is key to breakthroughs and is essential to creating something new and original. We enjoy listening to the many different viewpoints and perspectives. And we like to find commonalities, patterns and trends within this conversation, even if our native words and terms are coming from slightly different origins. We are not afraid to debate and dissent, even if it challenges the boss. Chasing the truth is what matters most to us.

Shook Kelley has a healthy streak of anarchy.

It's not that we lack organization, but rather that we are self-organizing. That means we are seeking people who are self-starters, people who are industrious and have the initiative to begin something. We like entrepreneurial thinking. We are much less about top-down management, and much more receptive to creative, innovative, thoughtful and intelligent people at all levels of experience.

Shook Kelley is endlessly curious.

We ask a lot of questions. Clients have often taken note of this peculiar characteristic. Even after we have worked with a client for years, we never tire of asking more questions. We believe the answers to business and life are directly related to asking the right kinds of question. Therefore, we place an enormous premium on constantly learning new ideas and finding new things to discover, uncover, unfold and unpack. It's a key part of how we make change happen and how we understand the world that is constantly changing around us.

Shook Kelley listens.

We have big ears and we like to listen to everyone: inside our organization, inside our client organization and among our client's customers, patrons, visitors and even their critics, competitors and detractors. We are empathetic people who care about and want to understand the people we work for. That might mean a graphic designer in Los Angeles who is trying to understand families shopping for groceries in rural West Texas, or urban planners in Charlotte trying to understand the quality of life in Detroit. We don't laugh at people who have different design taste or sensibilities than us. We ask them why.

Shook Kelley talks and writes a lot.

A picture tells a thousand words, and that is precisely the problem we often see in design. There are too many ideas and not one clear stream of thought. We believe words matter greatly. And we therefore go to incredible means to find precisely the right words to describe the problems we see exceedingly well, and to clearly define where we are going. We like to map things out in steps, milestones, phases and waves. We like to define standards, promises, mantras and battle cries. And we like to develop tools, diagrams and charts for everything that can be placed, measured, described and compared relative to other things.

Shook Kelley likes to watch.

We like to watch how people encounter, use, perceive, digest, remember and catalog their everyday world. We love being professional voyeurs and watching other cultures, whether they be surfers, bikers, bankers or chefs. We are up for partaking in just about any activity that involves culture and convening. The more obscure and obtuse, the better. We like to scan, sort, filter and catalog all of the culture we can find. And we like to explore how those cultures might relate to commerce, society, design and the human experience.

Shook Kelley likes progress.

We like working on difficult assignments. The more challenging the project, the more we get to access our tools and test out our processes. It's no fun working for clients that already have everything figured out. We like big, thorny problems that require us to dig deep, think hard and really assess our potential. This is the only way we can get better, stronger and more capable as a team.

Shook Kelley likes hard work.

We don't want to mislead anyone: We like to work hard and we like making a difference in the lives of our clients. We don't need a manager, coach or boss to tell us to get out of bed, because we are up early trying to solve problems for our clients.


Sign Up