Our Studio Wiki – An insight into Helder, our team, philosophy and how we work.

About Helder

We are a studio for brand strategy and brand design consisting of designers, strategists, writers and developers. Since 2017, We enable brands to connect with the right people and to make a difference in our society. Our holistic approach to value-based branding has the goal to make brand personalities tangible at first glance. Sometimes we bring completely new brands to life, sometimes we refine an existing profile and give their new identity a face. Located in Berlin but operating internationally, we work on projects in a wide range of industries such as tech, lifestyle and community brands.

Equality is crucial to us. We meet, talk and work on eye level – both within the team and with our clients. It is our belief that only with open communication a healthy work environment can be implemented. That is why we live a strong feedback culture where we invite our team to comment, approve or suggest improvement.

This handbook is intended to give an insight into Helder, our team, philosophy and how we work – for new and current employees as well as someone who might be interested in joining us. As we grow, these pages are expected to do the same. For feedback, suggestions or amendments feel free to contribute.

Meet us

In 2017 we started as two – one strategist and one designer. In the past five years we expanded to a team of nine that is continuously growing. Interns, working students, part-time and full-time employees find a home in our studio.

Meet your (future) colleagues:

  • Dr. Birgit Joest

    Co-Founder, Strategy Director

  • Maurits den Held

    Co-Founder, Creative Director

  • Lars Krüger

    Creative Director Digital

  • Robert Haase

    Brand Strategy Director

  • Marina Mengis

    Brand Strategy

  • Henry Förster

    Brand Strategy

  • Leonie Ringeler


  • Ellen Baierlein


  • Simon Hermann


  • Jasmin Riethmüller

    Project Management

Your First Day

The first day at our studio is here – we are excited to have you on board. While we hope you are excited too, we understand that it can be challenging to know what to do in a new work environment. That is why we put together a collection of steps and hints to make you feel at home as soon as possible.

Get familiar with your desk

Your workstation is a place where you will be spending quite a bit of time – so make sure you feel comfortable. Adapt the chair and screens if needed. Check if the keyboard and mouse are connected to your computer.

Set up your computer

When you turn on your computer, most of the applications and tools that you will need will be already installed. Your outlook is set up, so you will be able to receive and send your first email. If you check your inbox you’ll find invitations to many services such as shared calendars, slack, Asana or Figma. Here you find the complete list of tools, make sure you don’t miss anything.

Join our Meeting

Most likely you will start on a Monday. It is also the day when we sit together as a team and discuss the upcoming week. You will hear on which projects we are currently working on and receive a short introduction from our team members.

Take a Tour

While we unfortunately can’t provide you with a “welcome to my crib video”, Marina is happy to show you around. You will learn how to use the coffee machine, get to know the kitchen and where to find drinks.

Go out for lunch with us

We try our best to come together for a team lunch. While we can’t always promise it happening on your first day due to a busy start of the week, we will introduce you to our favorite Falafel place in the upcoming days.

Ready for some work

Most likely somebody has given you an introduction to a project or a task that you will be working on. If not, sorry about that, please voice yourself and we will make sure you have something to use your skills for.

Don’t forget to track your time

We use the tracking App Harvest. You have access to all internal and external projects that you will be involved in. If you are not sure how to track correctly, ask Marina, she is happy to help.

Enjoy your evening

We usually finish between 6 and 6:30. We hope you had a great first day. If you are looking for some inspiration for what to do or where to eat, check our #berlinandmore slack channel for recommendations.

The Studio

We love meeting in the office to discuss work and life next to our coffee machine. We have a big spacious studio, which we share between all of us. While we all have a chat here and there between meetings or focus time, we ask to be respectful with the noise level and contribute to the improvement of our work environment.

Working Hours

We work 8 hours a day, these 8 hours can be planned between 8 AM and 7 PM. Meetings are scheduled from 9 AM to 6 PM, please plan accordingly or let your team know in advance when you will be absent and block the absent time in your calendar.

Home Office

Home Office is limited to 100 days per year. In order to plan accordingly please state your home office requests via our tool absence.io. If you want to plan HO for an entire week, please state your request 1 month in advance.


We will initiate the payment of your salary on the 25th of every month. Please notice that depending on your bank it can take up to a few days for the money to be in your account.

Working from abroad

Your HO-days can also be used to work from abroad. In order to be able to run business as usual your time of availability should be between 11 am and 5 pm German time. The maximum time span to be working from abroad is 10 work days in a row. The request should also be made with a minimum of 2 months in advance.


We provide a bike rental via Swapfiets and the Deutschlandticket Job for every team member in order to make getting to work, around and out of the city easier.


All requests for vacation are handled through absence.io. You can see how many vacation days you have left and request new vacation days. For longer vacations we ask you to let us know within the beginning of the year or as soon as possible. You will receive feedback via mail. If your vacation got approved, it will put the information automatically in the google calendar.

Between Christmas and New Years, our Studio takes a break. Please have in mind that some of your regular vacation days will be used for that period.

Before leaving for your vacation, please brief your team about what you are working on and set up your absence note in Gmail.

Sick Days

We hope you will get better soon. If you are sick and not able to work that day, please send an email to Maurits and Ruud. Please give your team a brief update about the status of your work and delegate your work load if necessary and set up your absence note in Gmail. If you are sick for 3 or more consecutive days, we need an official sick note from your doctor.

Focus Time

Everyone has an open ear for questions or concerns. But sometimes you just have to focus and get that work done. If you don’t want to be disturbed, please put in your calendar the hours when you’ll have focus time and mark the top of your monitor with a post-it.


For meetings with several people, we are using the big round table. For external Zoom meetings or discussions that need more privacy, we have a couch and table in the Yellow Room, where you can speak without disturbing the others. As we grew bigger within the last couple of months and it gets more busy in the office, we ask you to use the yellow room whenever possible for longer meetings in order to reduce distraction for others.

Arriving first or leaving last

You will be given instructions on how to handle the doors and their security system. After work we ask you to store your laptop (we’ll let you know where). Make sure you leave your desk in a tidy state. If you are the last to leave the office please close all windows, turn off the heaters during the colder months, the ventilators during warmer months, switch off the coffee machine and lights and switch on the dishwasher if needed. Please check the Studio Checklist to not forget anything.


Our kitchen is actually in our meeting room. Please clean after yourself! Especially freshly ground coffee tends to end up all over the place. Most of it is common sense: putting dirty dishes in the dishwasher, empty bottles in boxes and generally just having an open eye. We also remind you to check the fridge for leftovers from time to time – otherwise it can end up in a bad surprise.

Team Lunch

Once a month, the whole team goes out together for lunch. Even though most of us see each other every week in the studio, it is nice to chit chat over a tasty meal. We are always up for some good lunch spot recommendations. Let us know!

Drinking People Together By Design

Our studio holds space for a bar that we like to gather around from time to time after work. We are always on the hunt for the next delicious cocktail recipe. If you feel the calling, we invite you to test your skills in mixology and surprise the team with some flavors on ice!


If you are joining a meeting outside of Berlin, please ask project management to book your ticket. Food and beverages are compensated according to “Verpflegungsmehraufwand”: 28€ for a full day, 14€ for half a day.

Please collect all invoices for other expenses such as traveling tickets, hotel invoices or dinners with clients.

Over hours

We enable self-determined work organization to create a flexible working environment. However, this must not mean that we are constantly available or that our workload increases. Nevertheless, it does happen from time to time that there is more than planned. 10% of your weekly working time is our mutual tolerance limit; anything above this is compensated for with free time as quickly as possible.

How We Work

Recurring Meetings


Every Monday we come together as a team to discuss the milestones that we want to accomplish in the upcoming week. If there is anything important that is relevant for everyone this is also the time to speak up!


We have a second meeting with everyone on Thursday mornings. Together we have a look on how things are progressing in terms of the milestones that we set at the beginning of the week. We review which tasks have to be finished before the week is ending and what has to be done in order to do so.



We do regular 1on1 feedback talks with each employee. The feedback is aimed for both sides. The meeting allows you to speak about concerns, wishes and roles. It allows a constant exchange of expectations and is intended to reduce future conflicts, misunderstandings, and disappointments.

Annual Evaluation

Together we evaluate your performance and goals and set new goals. We also check if your salary still matches your performance.

Show and Tell

Having many talented people at one place, we take the chance once a month, to come together and learn from each other. One person chooses a topic of her/ his choice that she/he thinks could be of interest or benefit for our team. This can vary from the Zero-Inbox-Method, a book you’ve read, a conference you’ve visited, how to brew the best coffee or a design from a previous project. Nobody is forced to present, but if you feel like sharing your wisdom, reach out to Marina.

Professional Development

Conferences and Design Festivals

We invite you to join us when we visit conferences and festivals around the topics of strategy and design such as the Dutch Design Week, First Round or CXI. Please let us know which conference you’d like to attend.

Yearly Budget For Your Development

For every full time employee there is an annual budget of 500,00 € per person for books, tools, and conferences such as Domestika, Counter Print, Neon Moiré. Tell us what you need and we will find a solution.

Tools We Use

Google Workspace

This is our email account and calendar. We also use Google Docs and Google Sheets.


For most of our design creations we use Figma. Especially for mood boards, templates and asset sharing.


For most internal communication we use Slack – it allows a bit more fun than emails. To reduce unnecessary distractions we encourage you to disable unimportant notifications.


For video calls we use Zoom or Google Meet.


Please track your time every day with Harvest. This allows us to properly calculate offers and invoices.


To keep track of your tasks and the development of projects, we use the project management app Asana.

Creative Cloud

For design creations we also use all the applications of the Creative Cloud by Adobe.


A collaborative digital whiteboard, helpful for running workshops remotely.

Values, Purpose & Mission



Our core value is clarity. A core value is not something you’ll write on the website and it finishes there. Your daily decisions should be aligned to the value. For Helder it means to bring clarity to our clients, so their brands are seen and understood. It also means if an email that I am writing or an offer that I am sending is clearly understandable. Is the design that I am developing showing clearly what the brand stands for. Is what I say clearly articulated and doesn’t give room for misinterpretation. The list can go on, but I think you’ll get the idea.

Be helpful

In everything we do, we ask ourselves: does the branding just look nice, or does it contribute to achieving our clients‘ strategic goals? This also means that we provide numerous resources to support brand builders.

Give meaning

Our aim is to always develop brands that make sense: for our customers and their customers – and for ourselves.

Take pride

We create brands to be proud of: our clients and their teams, Team Helder and each and every one of us and you.

Our Purpose

Bring people together by design.

Behind (almost) every brand are people who have created it for a specific motivation beyond pure profit and who shape and lead it according to their values. With our design we want to make these beliefs, values, and attitudes visible in order to connect people who share them. That is why our purpose is to bring people together by design: Experts with clients. Founders with investors. Employers with talents.

Our Mission

While businesses grow and develop, brands often do not.
At Helder, we translate a brand’s strategy into brand design and messaging. This way, we enable brand leaders to create a brand that really makes a difference.

We would like for our team members to internalize and own this statement. No one will test you on that 😉 But it is great, if someone asks you at a party what you are doing professionally, to have a quick and clear answer.

What We Don’t Do

Unpaid Work

We are ready to go the famous extra mile – if both partners are committed. However, we do not work for free. That’s why we don’t deliver concepts or designs as part of unpaid pitches.

Unethical Projects

We do not work with clients whose values we do not share. This includes companies or institutions that do not respect or intentionally harm or disrespect people, animals and the environment, e.g. radical, unconstitutional political organizations, conventional animal breeding or the arms industry.

Unfair treatment

We see ourselves as partners for our clients. We pay and expect mutual respect and appreciation.This of course also applies to every employee, regardless of position, origin, nationality, age, gender, religious affiliation, sexual orientation or physical or mental limitations.

Code of Conduct

This code of conduct applies to all situations and interactions during daily office life, as well as our events. We expect every employee and every event participant to be aware of the contents and to act accordingly.


We are committed to providing a friendly, safe, inclusive, respectful and welcoming environment for all employees, people working with us and visitors of the studio, regardless of position, gender, sexual orientation, ability, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and religion (or lack thereof). We invite all employees to help us create safe and positive experiences for everyone.


The following behaviors are expected and requested of everyone in the office and all participants in our events:

Speak up about what is on your mind. We value your contributions, feedback and constructive criticism.
Exercise consideration and respect in your speech and actions.
Attempt collaboration before conflict.
Refrain from demeaning, discriminatory, or harassing behavior and speech.
Be mindful of your surroundings and of your fellow people. Alert fellow employees or managers if you notice a dangerous situation, someone in distress, or violations of this code of conduct.
If you see that somebody in need of help, actively offer your assistance

Unacceptable behavior

The following behaviors are considered harassment and are unacceptable within our company:

Violence, threats of violence, or violent language directed against another person.
Sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, or otherwise discriminatory jokes and language.
Posting or threatening to post other people’s personally identifying information
Personal insults, particularly those related to gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, or disability
Inappropriate photography or recording
Inappropriate physical contact. You should have someone’s consent before touching them.
Unwelcome sexual attention. This includes, sexualized comments or jokes; inappropriate touching, groping, and unwelcomed sexual advances.
Deliberate intimidation, stalking, or following (online or in person)
Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior

Consequences of unacceptable behavior

Unacceptable behavior from any employees, clients, freelancers, or event participants, including those with decision-making authority, will not be tolerated. If somebody engages in unacceptable behavior, we may take any action we deem appropriate, up to and including a temporary ban or permanent expulsion from our office and events without warning.

If you are subject to or witness unacceptable behavior in our office during work times, or have any other concerns, please take the matter to Marina or another person you trust to talk to.

    Ruud Koopmans

    Project Manager