From Play to Innovation: The Agency’s Art Club

Earlier this year, a few Isadora Agency team members started drawing. Really drawing: they logged out of Figma, Google, and Jira, and put markers to paper. This rare hands-on moment began as a fun activity to take a break from the daily grind and enjoy peaceful, screen-free time, but since then, it has blossomed into something new: Art Club.

That’s what our team now calls this remote gathering of art enthusiasts, where everyone—regardless of skill level or experience—is not just welcomed but celebrated. When we get together once a week, it’s a valuable time to draw, chat, and share, and along the way build a strong sense of inclusivity and camaraderie.

Creative play like Art Club is about so much more than taking a break from work. It’s a powerful catalyst for fostering creativity and innovation, both of which are crucial to our business success. Making time for playful activities at work helps stimulate divergent thinking and opens the door to new possibilities, which gives our team the headspace to approach problems from fresh perspectives and generate novel ideas. This kind of low-stakes, open-ended play is not just essential, but instrumental, because it cultivates a culture of creativity and innovation that drives our digital agency forward.

“We’re so used to working through digital media that it’s refreshing to be able to take a break from our computers and create something on paper. We learn from each other and test new techniques on subjects we wouldn’t normally encounter in our client work.”
— Sheriah Altobar, Account Manager

Our team members range from designers and UX strategists to web developers and digital producers, and they all bring unique skills and perspectives to the table. This diversity of roles strengthens our ideas and our outside-the-box thinking. Hayley Swartz, one of our digital producers with an art and design background, facilitates these creative sessions. Her mission isn’t just to lead Art Club—it’s also to ensure that everyone’s art is appreciated and we’re all having fun together.

two drawings of foxes
Team members proudly share their completed drawings, each unique in style and material. Crabs by Eleni Legaki, Senior Visual Designer and Cyn Marquez, Senior Designer.

A typical Art Club session begins with Hayley providing a visual prompt for the group. Participants get a specific short time frame to complete their drawings and can use any medium, and interpret the prompt in any way they like. The freedom and flexibility in this exercise highlight everyone’s individuality and differences, which is clear through the unique drawings that result. But it also underscores our common ideals. How? It emphasizes that creativity isn’t about being perfect—it’s about getting ideas out there and iterating quickly. It means even those of us with more rudimentary drawing skills produce interesting results, thanks to the constraint. And it’s valuable for client projects because formal design sprints tend to start this way, too—giving us the chance to start fast and generate an abundance of ideas.

“A key benefit of time limits is that they reduce overthinking, particularly for those not accustomed to drawing. This lowers the pressure and makes the process more spontaneous. It’s an excellent warm-up for more strategic thinking.”
— Hayley Swartz, Digital Producer

Another perk Art Club gives us is the opportunity for collaboration and teamwork among colleagues. Once everyone has finished their creations, we present our work and discuss our chosen medium and individual approach to drawing. Some of us start with basic shapes and color, some use contour line drawings, and others dive in head first with shading and intricate line work. The variety makes the discussion all the more interesting.

“Creative play is crucial. It keeps the creative muscle healthy and allows space for freedom and experimentation that will be reflected in the agency work.”
— Cyn Marquez, Senior Designer

This part of Art Club does so much to encourage social interaction and bonding in a relaxed environment, which lets us build trust and empathy, communicate more effectively, and better understand different viewpoints. The improved camaraderie that results translates into more effective problem-solving and decision-making in our day-to-day work, something that ultimately benefits our business outcomes.

Two drawings of crabs
Focused and inspired, team members channel their creativity into their drawings. Foxes by Hayley Swartz, Digital Producer and Cyn Marquez, Senior Designer.

Through these playful drawing sessions, we also develop transferable skills such as creative problem-solving, adaptability, and communication. Practicing these skills in a fun, low-pressure setting helps us apply them more effectively to work tasks, leading to improved performance and creative output, both of which are vital for keeping our competitive edge in the business world.

“These creative moments not only rejuvenate my mind and reduce stress but also bring happiness, which strengthens team cohesion and makes collaboration smoother and more enjoyable.”
— Eleni Legaki, Senior Visual Designer

The weekly Art Club sessions are also valuable for stress relief. They give us the chance to take a mental break from our routines—to recharge, feel more positive emotions, and experience more overall well-being. This matters because engaged, happy employees are more productive and more committed to their work. Art Club is a major part of this positive dynamic for our team and directly contributes to our business performance. By prioritizing everyone’s well-being, we invest in our collective success and create a more relaxed and enjoyable work environment.

At Isadora Agency, our diverse creative backgrounds and creative interests outside of work are major influences on our habits, values, and agency ethos. This variety gives depth to our perspectives, fuels our passion for innovation and excellence, and drives our business strategy forward. Ultimately, incorporating play into our workplace does a great deal to make the most of this. It promotes a healthy, positive work culture. It creates a relaxed, friendly, and enjoyable atmosphere that attracts top talent, increases employee retention, and builds our reputation as a desirable employer.

Creative expression is the cornerstone of meaningful cognitive, social, and organizational benefits. Blending creativity with business in this way gives us the chance to unlock new opportunities, innovate faster, and achieve excellence in everything we do.

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