Odds are you’re reading this during the work day. Whether that means you’re in an office setting, your own home or another specialized environment, you’re probably surrounded by things that help you get your work done. If a doctor tried to work in a lawyer’s office, it would be difficult because the right tools and equipment wouldn’t be available.
The same goes for graphic design. I can get my job done from just about anywhere thanks to my laptop and the internet. I often work from home, which can be a nice change of pace, but for the most part I spend my time in the office where I have my environment set up specifically the way I need it for designing.
Here are some of the key components of my design space, which as you’ll see, range from necessary to just for fun.
There are of course some designers who use a PC for their design work, but the majority of my designer friends would join me in saying Apple computers are the best for the type of work we do. There are few things more exciting for a designer than a new iMac, and bigger is usually better in this case. Sure, I could bring my laptop in and work on that, but if I have a choice between 15 inch Macbook Pro and 27 inch iMac with retina display, I’m choosing the desktop every time.
The printers in our office seem to sometimes have a mind of their own, but it’s great to have one nearby, especially when designs are meant for printed products. I like to print things out to get a better idea of size and color since screens can often be deceiving. My clients are often more comfortable giving feedback and marking up a printed sheet as opposed to trying to work with the comment features in Acrobat.
Speaking of printing, this is a necessary tool for anyone who designs for print. There are a few different options, but once you find the right one your color book will take out all the guess work when you’re sending things to print. This is especially important in branding because the colors you chose will likely stick with the company for years to come, so you want to make sure they’re correct and consistent.
Like many designers, I need to draw some things out before I start working on the computer. Having something nearby to jot ideas down and make rough sketches for designs is crucial. Sure, Post-Its are nice, but they are tiny and I can tell you from experience they will get lost at the exact moment you really need to reference them.
So this is probably pretty common in most work environments, unless you’ve committed to going fully digital, but I still really like having a physical wall calendar. It’s easy for me to glance up at my large wall calendar and quickly count days until a deadline, or go over a timeline with a client. I use Google Calendar to actually plan my schedule, but I don’t keep it open all the time, so a wall calendar is quicker and easier for me when I’m dealing with dates only.
I don’t care what you say, this is a necessity! Whether I’m working from home or in the office, there is probably a cat nearby, and by “nearby” I mean “sitting on my keyboard or in my lap.” Of course every office can’t have a cat, but we’re pretty laid-back and playful, and over time the cats have become a huge part of Roundpeg culture. There’s no excuse for being bored in our office, and if you’re feeling drained and need a break your options are popsicle break or cat break.
This is completely frivolous of course, but I’m most comfortable in a space that feels like me. You’ve probably seen glimpses of the bulletin boards on the wall behind me, and if not, just know they’re filled with funny (possibly inaccurate) quotes, pictures and drawings. My desk has no less than ten toys on it at any given point, and for that I have to thank old coworkers, Lorraine’s travels and the time an unnamed coworker’s mother smuggled Kinder Surprise eggs across the Canadian border. There’s a poster behind my desk of Andy Warhol’s hamburger print, which always makes people smile.
Regardless of what you do, you probably do it best in a space that has what you need and sometimes even what you want. The right surroundings can help streamline processes and create an environment where work is done efficiently and effectively. We ask potential candidates in interviews what their ideal workspace is, and while there’s no right or wrong answer, it’s always nice when someone has a good understanding of the kind of space that works best for them.