As an external art vender, Airship Images have been a crucial cog in the workings of a huge portion of AAA titles available in recent years, including Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order, Spiderman: Miles Morales, and Cyberpunk 2077. In turn, they have become a vital part of the industry’s internal eco-system after being founded nearly twelve years ago.
Aardvark Swift sat down with the company’s founder and CEO, Joseph Harford, to reflect on the culture and foundations of Airship Images that have provided them with such success, and how these elements of their studio model have required adaptation over a pandemic.
Airship place significant importance on nurturing a company culture of mutual support, growth and development; and Joseph takes a personal investment to ensure this is the case. “As CEO, I’m responsible for driving the business growth, instilling the company culture and implementing the vision I have the future of the company,” says Joseph. “We’ve grown to 51 people this year and are continuing that growth with new studio locations & services. To make this possible, a business needs to have a culture or vision that they inhabit, and mine has always been enabling personal growth – and that covers a whole range of different things we do for our team, as we truly consider ourselves an employee-first business.
For Airship, personal development and working in-studio go hand in hand, as Joseph highlights the necessity, particularly for Junior Artists, of an in-house working environment. “I think one of the biggest things that you miss out on if you are fully remote is peripheral learning from peers, building networks and friendships. If you’re an established Senior or Principal Artist, we may see more work moving off-site, but for juniors and grads wanting to get into the games industry and learn, having someone over your shoulder to give advice, inspire you and improve your work is crucial.”