Every now and then, we hear from someone who really gets us.

They’ve never met a single person here. Yet they get to the heart of Upstatement by looking at our work alone. Somehow they see our values shining through our portfolio. Nothing could make us happier — we try live our values through our work.

These values are our bed rocks, the foundation of everything we do. And you don’t need x-ray vision to see them. If you want to understand Upstatement, here’s a shortcut to seeing how we show up in the world: The seven core beliefs that guide us every day …

Illustration by Carmi Grau

1. Good Ideas Come from Everywhere

Invite Everyone In

Diverse perspectives make the most innovative work. It’s science. And it’s more fun, too. That’s why we include everyone in the conversation: clients, vendors, juniors, seniors, designers, engineers, the whole team. After every win, you’ll hear “We did it!” instead of “I did it.”

Open Up

We might not have written the phrase “Good ideas come from everywhere,” but we embrace it. Far more important to recognize brilliance than to author it yourself. We always keep our eyes, ears, and minds open. When the right idea floats by, we’re ready to snag it with a butterfly net.

Illustration by Made Up

2. Hold the Highest Standard

Work with the Best

To do groundbreaking work, we can never settle. We expect the best of every individual and care about every last detail. We don’t beat around the bush. Regardless of role, we deliver thoughts directly, whether in a design critique or a personal situation. Everyone strives to be candid, kind, and open to feedback.

Make the World Better

Upstatement is an ethical company. We choose wisely when it comes to how, why, and where we apply our talents. We seek causes we believe in — like making America safe, greening the world, and advancing truth & equality. If you don’t share our ethics, don’t worry: We won’t work together. Everyone here does the right thing, not the easy thing, regardless of consequence.

Illustration by Justyna Stasik

3. Find the Opportunity

Keep it Fresh

Some of our finest work springs from projects that, at first glance, don’t look very glamorous. So if you’re feeling stuck inside a box, try looking at things another way. Turn it upside down or inside out or into origami.

Reframe the Narrative

We all get to write our own story. Is the situation tragic or just a hurdle on the hero’s journey? You decide. It’s easy to see the difficulty in every opportunity. A good Upstatementer asks, “How might we find the opportunity in this difficulty?”

Illustration by Franziska Barczyk

4. Interrogate the Premise

Use the “Why” as Your Guide

The problem you’re trying to solve is probably intertwined with many others. It’s our job to pull the thread and ask why — even if the whole sweater unravels. Dig deep until you get to the root cause. That’s the way to unearth new opportunities.

Just Make It Already

Asking “why” helps us refine our thinking and uncover systemic issues. But asking why too much makes us annoying. They killed Socrates for that. At some point we know enough — it’s time to make something.

Illustration by Franziska Barczyk

5. Consider Every Part of the Experience

It All Matters

We share Captain Nemo’s motto: “mobilis in mobili,” which is Latin for “changing in the changes.” Our context constantly shifts shape: Technology never stops transforming, users are more sophisticated every second, clients always need something new. In shifting seas, we must stay sharp and chart the best course no matter the circumstance.

Practice Hospitality

Ever go out to eat at a nice restaurant and realize that your water glass is always full, even though you never noticed someone filling it? Upstatement is like that. We aspire to always be warm and friendly. We host a good party. We remember your birthday. To create great work from end-to-end, you have to anticipate needs and magically (sometimes invisibly) fulfill them.

Illustration by Made Up

6. Make Each Other Better

Show Your Work

Pssst. Here’s a secret. A little trick that makes good work great and unsticks you when you’re stuck: Just talk to someone. Shining light on our work only improves it (and everyone else’s). You’re lucky to be surrounded by the best and the brightest. Not to mention the kindest and most collaborative. They’ll help you get better. All you have to do is ask.

Share Responsibility

The success of the team ensures the success of the individual — not the other way around. So erase the imaginary fault lines between different jobs. Everyone sinks, swims, and sails together regardless of role. There are no heroes here. We share what we know and acknowledge what we don’t, always happy to be a teacher in our craft and a student in another.

Illustration by Vicki Turner

7. Own It

Lead

If you’re not sure who’s in charge, it’s probably you. If you catch yourself saying “Someone should …” that someone should be you. Everyone at Upstatement is here to make it a better place. So steer the ship, captain. Soon you’ll see that others will follow and the entire organization has your back.

Reflect

Things don’t always turn out the way you planned: That’s okay. You’re not perfect: That’s all right, too. Self-awareness and reflection are the only requirements here. Before blaming outside factors, we take a look in the mirror and ask what we could have done better. There’s strength in saying, “sorry” because every failure is just an opportunity to try again.


So there you have it: Upstatement in a nutshell. A very large nutshell. Maybe even two nutshells. If this resonates and you want to learn more about working with us, well, we made a a website for that. You can learn more about the studio and see if there’s a role that sounds right for you.

Special thanks to Alexis Wilkinson for her help, humor, rewrites, and re-edits.