March 21, 2011
Ryan Brinkerhoff has a full time job as a designer for Origo Branding Company but in his spare time he designs posters, cards and the occasional t-shirt for Bandito Design Co – a store he set up on Big Cartel with buddies from art school. He shows us where this after-hours design work happens.
Tell us about the kind of work you do. How long have you worked from home? And where is home? I graduated from the Columbus College of Art & Design in 2008 and since then I have been working full-time as a designer at Origo Branding Company. I began designing screen printed posters and cards in my free time around summer 2009 with buddies from school. We wanted to start something that really pushed ourselves to continue growing as designers/illustrators out of school, and it has really turned into a passion of mine. Home is a 1 bedroom, 450 sq ft apartment in the Victorian Village/Short North area of Columbus, Ohio which I share with my girlfriend, Katie Tyne. This part of town is very creatively supportive and a lot of fun to live in.
Describe your style and how it relates to the space you work in and also the work you produce. I enjoy creating a lot of retro-inspired work with the use of bold colors and geometric shapes. Above all, my goal is to make things that have a lot of character or tell a fun story. My home workspace is a mixture of modern and vintage decor which directly relates to the style of my work. It is very important for me to work in a fun and comfortable environment where things don’t always have to be super organized.
Balance, Design, Products
March 18, 2011
Danielle Hardy turns blank walls in works of art with her vinyl decals. You can see her work on Etsy at UrbanWalls. We talk to her here about working from her garage and what a big difference a dedicated work table makes!
Above: World Map
How long have you worked from home? And where is home? Home is a little outside of Vancouver, Canada. I have been blessed to work from home since my first son was born 4 years ago.
Describe your style? I love eclectic modern with a twist of traditional. Not sure if that is even a real combination? How would you define your aesthetic? I love clean and classic with pops of color to add interest.
Above: Keep Calm and Carry On
How do you keep your work space organized? I have a husband that helps (*cough *cough forces) me to keep things tidy. Bins are my friend and my vinyl rack to organize all of my colors of vinyl.
When you set up your home office what did you have to keep in mind? I work in the garage of my townhome where there isn’t a ton of space so I have to do kind of a “one stop shop”. When I started out we used the island in my kitchen to weed the decals and then we would move to the kitchen floor to tape and then finally put all the decals to be shipped in the living room. It always took the both of us working together. By the end of the night our knees would throb, our backs would hunch over and I would beg and cry for a good foot rub. Finally, my husband made me a table where I can weed, tape and tube all in the same place and I can do it all by myself and it is fabulous!
Is there any piece of home studio furniture you covet right now? I finally just purchased my 48″ inch vinyl cutter which I was wanting for FOREVER. Now I can cut trees and huge designs that I couldn’t do before. my next purchase will be a new Mac for my office to create new decal designs.
What desk accessory can’t you do without? My laptop
What would you change about your work space? I would love more space or some cabinets to keep things in better order.
What inspires you? The things that inspire my designs are home magazines and blogs. What inspires me to sell these decals and work are my kids and giving them the best life that I can. I never take for granted that I am able to work from home and do what I love all while taking care of those I love. I am so thankful that Etsy has given me that opportunity.
Above: Flower decal.
March 14, 2011
Sandra Draskovic writes about architecture and design from her apartment in Belgrade. Here she shares the snowy view and her work habits.
Tell us about the kind of work you do. How long have you worked from home? And where is home? I’ve been working as freelance journalist in the field of architecture and interior design for more than five years. Parallel to regular full-time employment as an architect and project manager, I’ve been managing my passion for writing from home after working-hours and after a while my home desk became my office station. I stopped my full-time architectural practice last year due to the financial crisis and I’ve decided to work now from home. I’m settled at the moment in Belgrade. But I know, in this era of the internet, that wherever I move or travel I can relocate or build a “temporary office”. My home is in a district known as “Blokovi.”
Describe your style and how it relates to the space you work in and also the work you produce. I like to be well informed, that means constant daily review of hundred of blogs, websites, magazines. So when it comes to a particular projects, I never search for inspiration, it’s already there. My architectural design strategy is based on multilevel data research, starting from detailed site and environment analysis, cultural and political conditions, economic possibilities, to develop programs and generate contemporary architectural shapes. The client is involved in the process and plays a big role in shaping the brief and the project. Most of them are so excited to be part of the first stages of design and that’s how they appreciate more each step made afterward. When you work from home there is no part-time or full-time. You’re available!!!
Above: Sandra’s design for hotel resort on Danube Island
How do you keep your work space organized? When we speak of “space” we can think about virtual space. I think it is important to be well organized there as it is in any real space around us. So for example on my computer I have big folders named after the groups such as “projects”, “inspiration”, “pics”, “research”, “education”. The physical space around me needs to be just as organized with only laptop and notebook on the table. Bookshelf and small coffee table near the sofa are occupied with books, magazines, brochures and other paper-material for research, learning and inspiration. I like to hang posters or souvenirs from trips. At the end of the day our space is who we are.
Balance, Design, Products
March 7, 2011
It’s always good to hear from Lifework readers. You are definitely a smart, opinionated and design savvy group that continue to keep me on my toes. I got an email last week from Martin Reid, a creative director from Scotland. Martin thought I might be interested in his office. And, boy was he right. Take a look at what you can do in a 100-year-old granite tenement with a couple of Mirra chairs and a lot of design nous.
Tell us about the kind of work you do. How long have you worked from home? And where is home? I’ve been working as a graphic designer for over ten years and have recently just set-up my own business. I run my own advertising and design agency working across a variety of disciplines including branding, advertising, graphic design and web. I work with a variety of clients covering a wide range of businesses including technology, retail, fashion, oil and gas. I like to work with different clients as each project can offer new creative opportunities to try something which exceeds what my clients maybe expect or what is seen as the norm for their business. I’ve been working from my home studio part-time for about 5 years. At the start of this year I decided the time was right to quit my full-time work for a leading design agency and concentrate on my own business full-time after being presented with the opportunity to work with some new clients.
Home is in Aberdeen, Scotland, the ‘Granite City’ as its better know. My home studio on the second floor of an old victorian granite tenement. The building itself is over 110 years old and still has many of its original features and is situated in the west-end of Aberdeen. With great views over the city every time I look out the window there is always something new to look at which can bring a welcome distraction from looking at a screen all day.
Aberdeen is starting to get a creative buzz again with new art exhibitions, galleries, boutique shops and other creative ventures popping up all the time and its nice to think that people appreciate good art, design, architecture, everyone seems to be a lot more switched on to the creative scene.
Describe your style and how it relates to the space you work in and also the work you produce. I wouldn’t really say I have a specific style when it comes to what I do. I would say that my way of thinking is to produce creative, intelligent and effective designs that fulfill and sometimes exceed the original brief. Ideally I produce design work that I am proud of, that makes my clients happy and maybe educates clients about the benefits of good design.
More from Martin after the jump…
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
February 25, 2011
UK-based Rob Ford founded the Favourite Website Awards in 2000. The FWA recognizes cutting edge web design and offers up a site that showcases those designs while hosting job listings, interviews with designers and news on the world of web design. Since its inception it has had over 140 million site visits. The FWA network showcases not only cutting edge websites but also the best in mobile via the FWA Mobile Showcase and the best in photography via FWA Photo. Somehow Rob also found time to write two books: Guidelines for Online Success and The Internet Case Study Book. Here Rob talks about working from home, Roman artefacts and a whistling neighbor.
How long have you worked from home? And where is home? I have worked from home for almost fifteen years now. I can remember when I walked out of my last job as an employee, one of many I gave up on, and a friend’s father said to me, “you will never work for anyone ever again.” He was self-employed and he was also correct. I have been my own boss ever since, working mostly from a home office. I recently moved to Litlington, near Cambridge in the UK. It’s the site of an old Roman settlement and was the feature of an archaeological dig for a famous TV programme here in the UK. This has made gardening more interesting as I now dig holes for new plants and shrubs way too big and deep on the off chance of discovering a Roman artefact.
Finding a location in the countryside, with stunning views and excellent dog walks was crucial when we moved. Being able to relax and suck in clean air is essential for anyone working from home, it’s also highly inspirational as walking stimulates parts of the creative side of my brain that sitting in front of the computer tries to kill.
Describe your style? How would you define your aesthetic? Style? Aesthetic? I’m not sure I have a style or aesthetic. I like things to be logical and always apply that to any design or project I work on. I always do my own thing and work inside a bubble, trying to keep all outside influences out of my decision making processes. I hate to see people following a style because they believe it is the way to go. I want to see people that do re-invent the wheel, not people who bring back fashions from years past. Fob watches are making a comeback, shame the major oversight is that the clock faces used to be upside down so you could read them easily. The ones I have seen have the clock face the wrong way up, i.e. the right way up for the person standing in front of you. See, it’s all about being logical for me.
How do you keep your work space organized? My work space is way bigger than the desk my monitors sit on. My back garden, the surrounding countryside. It’s all relevant to what keeps me ticking and able to stay so focused on what I do and what I have achieved. Dog walking is a crucial part of my day so keeping them organized and well trained is just as crucial for me. I even catch a few minutes to work when dog walking.
Having said that, my desk is not organised as such. I let a stack of incoming mail build up until it gets on my nerves and then I will sort through it all. As I have had a home office for so many years, I know what’s important to me and that’s to have a PC that works, dual monitor setup is essential from my daily grind of activities, one or two moleskins, a calculator, clock, world clock and a photo of my fiancé. I still use a real diary so that takes pride of place. As long as all those essentials are on my desk and do not get moved by anyone, I am happy.
When you set up your home office what did you have to keep in mind? Were there any particular obstacles to overcome? Buying a house with a suitable room for a home office is paramount. Being on the ground floor is also a must for me as I spent years working from a spare bedroom and it’s not exactly uplifting.
With WIFI these days you can set up in any room, or, as I do, have a base for my PC and then I can sit anywhere with the laptop or iPhone. Just waiting to get a Flash enabled tablet, probably the Motorola XOOM and then I can do a lot more work with great ease from anywhere I am. Sitting at the bottom of our garden, taking in the view, whilst working makes me realise how lucky I am to do a job I still love, a job that started as a hobby, has grown into a world renowned brand, yet still feels like a hobby.
I wouldn’t say there were many, if any, obstacles to overcome when setting up my home office. All I would say is be careful of claiming tax relief on any room of your house as it could have commercial property ramifications further down the line. It could potentially change the footprint of your property. So, take the advice of an accountant if you are going to work from home, especially if you plan to offset any expenses against your house.
Is there any piece of home office furniture you covet right now? Not sure if this would qualify as furniture but the MoviePeg I have for my iPhone is a great piece of kit. I believe they make them for iPad also. It’s a very simple stand for your iPhone. Great for your desk as it keeps your phone at the perfect angle for viewing info, video etc on your phone whilst working.
What desk accessory can’t you do without? Has to be my clock, with date, temperature and tax week on it. I find it impossible to ever remember the date. This could be the result of spending fifteen years looking at this clock to see what the date is. I have effectively trained my brain not to need to remember the date as I just glance to find out what it is. Not so great when I am away from the desk though. Mind you, I am hopeless at remembering people’s names. Again, I think I have trained my brain to forget a name as soon as someone tells me theirs. I’ll have to get them to email it to me, much easier.
What would you change about your work space? My next door neighbor. Can I say that? What happens if he reads this?! Let’s just say that if I am outside and I hear him whistling, I run for cover.
What inspires you? People who fulfill their dreams. People who set themselves targets and won’t let go until they’ve reached them. People who go it alone and make it by themselves. That could be a 100m sprinter, someone who has scaled Mount Everest, someone who has plucked up enough courage to go to a busy shopping centre after years of being agoraphobic, someone who has kicked a heroin habit, someone who has taken a new product to market and against all adversity and negativity, has made it.
Answer = People!
February 23, 2011
How long have you worked from home? And where is home? Describe the kind of work you do. Well I actually work full-time at the DailyCandy headquarters based in Soho. Nights and weekends are my freelance hours where I work from home. I’ve been freelancing on the side for three years, ever since I moved to Greenpoint, Brooklyn from Los Angeles. I try to be a Jane of all design trades. So my work is a range of web design, branding and print design. At DailyCandy I’m the Lead Designer, which consists of web-design and making sure Puppy, our office dog, isn’t eating human food.
Describe your style? How would you define your aesthetic? My work style depends on my clients. I always try to lean towards minimal design with a bold typographic approach. If I had it my way I would only design in black and white, but you have to make the clients happy! I’m also big on giving myself design challenges, like working with fonts I’ve never really explored and making them fit. In terms of my paintings, they are much more organic, fluid and unstructured. Design work can be here. Art work can be seen here.
How do you keep your work space organized? I try to not own a lot and just be careful of what I purchase. I also use the “If I get this, I need to throw away this” approach, which stops me from accumulating too much. Also when I need more space for drawing, I can usually work on the floor.
When you set up your home office what did you have to keep in mind? Were there any particular obstacles to overcome? When I moved into this studio, I realized I couldn’t fit any store-bought desk into my space without having it stick out or taking up space. So I decided I could just make my own laptop table with Ikea’s VIKA OLEBY legs and a shelf. It works great for me since I work solely on my laptop.
Is there any piece of home office furniture you covet right now? String Furniture. It’s like the lego version of book shelves, desks and cabinets. Anything you can think of!
What desk accessory can’t you do without? On my desk, I couldn’t do without my Micron pens. But in general the one thing in my place that I’m obsessed with is my Revo Heritage radio. It streams internet radio from all over the world in amazing quality.
What would you change about your work space? I need to create some kind of space, perhaps under my desk, for my scanner and light-box. Also if I could I would probably get rid of more things, if I could detach myself from them.
What inspires you? Old punk record covers, especially ones in black and white. I’m visually attracted to Scandinavian and Japanese furniture/product design and the methodology that design should not only be well-crafted but functional. And my last discovered inspiration is the photography of Karlheinz Weinberger.
February 11, 2011
David Shirley has been working with computers in one capacity or another for a very long time. Here we get a tour of his home office and learn about the two sides of his business. We will be hearing more from David over the coming months. He will be posting on all things tech and will be happy to answer any of your questions. For all us working from home I think we just got our own IT department!
How long have you worked in your field and tell us exactly what your field is?! I have worked with computing technology since 1982, so nearly 30 years! I have two main fields of work now. I show corporate professionals how to be better organized by being smarter about how they use their technology tools such as Outlook, BlackBerry, iPhone, etc…which will allow them to save time and focus on their high priority tasks. The second stream focuses bringing the power of technology to the home - I help families transform their home in how they watch, listen and view their movies, TV, music and photos.
You’ve been on the road for a year travelling with your family around Australia. What is it like to be back home settling into a new home office? I’m loving being back in our home. My office has a beautiful outlook to our leafy front yard – this maintains the peace. I’m also really happy to have some space back after a year in an RV…..and my Aeron chair, of course!
How did you choose the furniture for your office? What did you keep in mind when you were setting it up? The environment has to work. For me – comfort, good lighting (my eyes are getting old) and space.
As far as comfort goes I’ve got my Herman Miller Aeron chair, say no more. Space is taken care of with a simple large (5’ x 3½’) desk with 4 legs which gives plenty of legroom.
And for light I’ve got an Artemide Architectural PAN light (designed by Ernesto Gismondi in 1997) hitting a white ceiling.
What question are you most often asked about running an office from home? How do you keep motivated and focused?
What’s your favorite piece of technology? There’s not just one. There’s Sonos for my music, MacBook Air for its beauty, Lenovo Tablet for its flexibility and my amazing BMC Trailfox mountain bike.
February 1, 2011
Julia Pott is a freelance illustrator and animator with a penchant for creatures – all sorts of wonderful creatures. Her whimsical work graces not just posters, CD covers and magazines, it also appears on a line of totes and t-shirts. We caught up with Julia in her Hackney flat and studio.
How long have you worked from home? I have been working from home since I graduated from Kingston in 2007. Home changes a lot though. At the moment I work from my house in Hackney but I have had a few homely work places in London and New York.
Describe your style? How would you define your aesthetic? I like to work mainly with mildly ridiculous anthropomorphic animals and their awkward relationships. I use them as a way of working out my own experiences with loved ones and enemies.
How do you keep your work space organized? Every few weeks or so I go a bit crazy with how many pencil sharpenings and pieces of random paper are accumulating all over the place and I have a huge reorganization. I have a few items on my desk that work both functionally and aesthetically, like pretty mugs for pens and tiny painted suitcases for receipts and staples. That way everything is hidden away but still accesible.
When you set up your home office what did you have to keep in mind? Were there any particular obstacles to overcome? I need to have a light box handy as I work as both an animator and illustrator so I managed to get a great desk from Ikea which has a built in light box which is a great space saver. As I also run an online shop out of my home studio I have a lot of storage for t-shirts, tote bags and prints, and try and make them as unobtrusive as possible.
Is there any piece of home office furniture you covet right now? As I’m becoming a bit of a slouchy old lady I really want one of those desk chairs that you sort of kneel on to help keep your back straight. They’re oddly expensive though!
What desk accessory can’t you do without? My giant mug of pens. I also just bought a huge wall planner from Crispin Finn which I love. It makes me feel very smugly organized.
What would you change about your work space? I think I would love to add an extra desk to keep my sewing machine and cutting board on. I would also love to have a desktop computer to work from instead of my laptop. As I am moving to New York next October I’ve been trying not to ‘nest’ too much in London and have forbidden myself from buying too much artwork or desk accessories. I know I want my New York studio to have wood floor and a lot of natural light through big windows. I want to have lots of art on the walls and antiques and trinkets around the studio for inspiration.
What inspires you? It changes from month to month. At the moment I love Pendleton patterns, Native American prints, landscape photography, Priit Parn’s animations and Looney Tunes. I find myself drawing a lot of elephants, wild boars and yeti’s at the moment too.
Balance, Design, Products
January 24, 2011
When he’s not working as the digital guy at public relations firm GolinHarris Len Kendall is busy blogging, contributing to GOOD and getting other people to blog at the3six5 project – a daily dose of writing he runs with with co-founder Daniel Honigman.
How long have you worked from home? And where is home? I live and work in the lovely city of Chicago. I grew up here and am not quite sure I’ll ever leave. Some might say that’s unadventurous, but truly this city has so much to offer. I’ve worked from home to some degree ever since college. I’ve dabbled in the world of freelancing before where my home office served as my full time location for work, but now it’s a place I spend my evenings working on my personal side projects.
Describe your style? How would you define your aesthetic? My style is chaos. What you see is probably the cleanest my desk has been in months (thanks a lot for making me have to clean…). I like lots of screens, and lots of items on my desk to both distract and inspire me. In a perfect world, I’d have a few more monitors, and a much more comfortable chair. I’ve been holding out for a SAYL actually, and I think I’ll be pulling the trigger soon.
How do you keep your work space organized? I try to maintain organization by recycling, or in rare cases disposing of, items I don’t need. Some people tend to hold onto things in fear that they’ll realize later they needed them. I on the other hand like to live dangerously and play Russian roulette with my document saving decisions.
When you set up your home office what did you have to keep in mind? Were there any particular obstacles to overcome? The space I had to work with was rather small. My office is part of my living room space and I didn’t want it to overwhelm the space overall. I ended up buying a simple IKEA desk which was large enough to house my computers and also give me enough space for writing and drawing off to the side. I do have a small drawer that’s part of my work space, but I rarely use. I find that having more storage, also means unnecessary accumulation.
Is there any piece of home office furniture you covet right now? My first job didn’t pay well, but it did mean I got to sit in a Herman Miller Aeron chair. Ever since then, I’ve missed it.
What desk accessory can’t you do without? Part desk accessory, part peripheral, I couldn’t live without my Wacom Bamboo tablet. Sometimes I just can’t express myself words and I feel the need to doodle. The electronic pen/tablet has been an excellent, low-cost creative tool (one of Len’s sketches for GOOD‘s create a doodle project).
What would you change about your work space? I do enjoy being able to watch television (Purdue Basketball and Bears Football) while I’m cranking out some work. In a perfect world, my apartment would be laid out in a way that would allow me to be in the direct line of site of my television OR I suppose an elaborate system of mirrors could accomplish the same thing. In the meantime, I do on occasion move my “workspace” over to my couch.
What inspires you? I’ve always been driven to create things that I can go out into the world and see. Whether it’s writing, advertising, art, or other projects, the process of making something and seeing other’s reaction to it (good or bad) has inspired me to continue that behavior.
January 17, 2011
Artist, photographer, designer and blogger Elisabeth Dunker lives in Sweden with her husband Dennis, their two kids, Tovalisa 12, Otto 9 and their Devon Rex cat, Hiro. Her blog, Fine Little Day covers art and design. The Times called it quirky and put it at the top of their 50 best international design blogs. Here Elisabeth lets us into her home office.
How long have you worked from home? And where is home? I’ve worked from home the last 12 years. Home is in Gothenburg. (Sweden’s second biggest city).
Describe your style? How would you define your aesthetic? Mixed. Inconsistent, patched and repaired.
How do you keep your work space organized? The most important things like bills and other important papers I keep in a document collector. Otherwise I don’t keep it very organized.
When you set up your home office what did you have to keep in mind? Were there any particular obstacles to overcome? It was important to have a good chair because I sit a lot in my work. I also wanted to be able to cover up the big window since I work with photos on screen. The biggest obstacles, well I should have installed a timer or something so I took more breaks. I tend to work to much, that most be the biggest obstacles for me.
Is there any piece of home office furniture you covet right now?I have a good chair, “Sun” partly designed by Bruno Mathsson. A better desk maybe, bigger and more flexible.
What desk accessory can’t you do without? The document collector. The computer!
What would you change about your work space? I’m always dreaming of better storage (below are journals designed by Elisabeth and Camilla Engman. Together they run Studio Violet)
What inspires you? Flea markets and second hand stores. (Below porcelain designed by Dunker and Camilla Engman for their Studio Violet project.)