Balance, Design, Products, Technology
February 10, 2012
Where we’ve been this week…
1. Treehugger for their “Most Beautiful Street in the World” post.
2. Apartment Therapy for this home office tour.
3. Design*Sponge’s wonderful wrap up of home office spaces.
4. Design Milk for their Designer DeskTop Wallpaper series.
5. MujiUSA has some very sleek minimal designs for the home office including these acrylic organizers.
6. Luludi for their cool way of incorporating plants into the home office – hang them on the wall.
7. Cleverhands shop on Etsy has a interesting alternative to the pencil case – check it out here. Good for home office workers on the go.
8. Vienna-based designers Less & More create beautiful wooden desk organizers. You can see them here on the US-Supermarket site.
9. Design Notes funny post on a new game – “Six Degrees of Cranbrook”.
10. Desire to Inspire‘s post on a cool Toronto office.
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
July 26, 2010
Theo Rosendorf, author of “The Typographic Desk Reference,” is a design consultant whose client’s range from AT&T and Coca-Cola to Nintendo and Mercedes. Here he shares his home office.
How long have you worked from home? And where is home? Home is Atlanta Georgia, where I’ve worked as a graphic designer for just about twenty years. The bulk of my work has been as a consultant working out of my home office, though temporary stints commandeering client conference rooms is common. My company, Matador, takes an editorial approach to graphic design with a focus on typography for all media. By that I mean graphic design that starts with the content and works out to a finished product my clients can take to market. We do graphic design, but there’s a bit of writing to it as well. Some folks we’ve worked with: AT&T, Coke, IBM, ING, Mercedes AMG, Nintendo, and Time Warner.
Typography plays a major role in the practice beyond simply picking a font or knowing a particular brand’s guidelines. Every typeface has unique requirements in that it has to be set just so. It’s up to the graphic designer to understand what a particular typeface wants. We work within those bounds to let type communicate as it was intended. Everything else follows.
Being so enamored with type, I took time off from 2006 to 2009 to write The Typographic Desk Reference (TDR), a dictionary of typographic terms and form. The TDR’s in its third printing and we’re looking to start localized versions before long. At the moment, we’re on the hunt for a European publisher.
Describe your style? How would you define your aesthetic? Initially I’d have to say I don’t have a specific style. My work requires adapting an aesthetic to the company or product I work for. But it could be said I have a modernist aesthetic. I don’t do postmodern, but if a client wants it I have a stack of postmodernist resumes I can haphazardly pick through. That’s a joke… well sort of. Postmodernist clients usually call back in five years, wanting to trade for a modern approach. Overall I’d have to say my approach is typographic, which could be considered an aesthetic at times.
How do you keep your office organized? I’m thinking here of the physical space but also your computer. Are there any particular programs you find really useful? I have some Bouroullec Valise boxes I use to file work documents. For archiving print work, I use some very refreshing plain white (with no advertisements) file boxes from the Container Store. Larger work gets tube rolled.
I have a server which gets backed up redundantly. Network user accounts get backed up to the server automatically, so adding a new MacBook is just a matter of logging in to the server with it. My music is on the server too—all 100 days of it.
For project management I use the 37 Signals Basecamp and Highrise apps. Nothing is proprietary, so the logistics of working with talent in Osaka is the same for someone in Copenhagen, or my printer here in Atlanta.
When you were designing your home office what did you keep in mind? I start with a book called Human Dimension & Interior Space by Julius Panero and Martin Zelnik. After brushing up on a little physical anthropology, I get to work realizing the space. Designing a physical space is no different than graphic design or typography where size, proportion, and space are equally considered. I’d say well placed furniture makes for high performance, but more importantly a better quality of life.
Is there any piece of home office furniture you most enjoy? My Eames Soft Pad Group Executive chair. I’ve had it for ten years and it just gets better with age. It doesn’t wear out, it wears in. Second would come my Eames Oval Table. It’s the only desk I’ve had that, placed diagonally, functions error free. I’ve just started to break-in my Ikea Billy bookcases. We’ll see how that goes.
What is a desk accessory you can’t do without? Where does the accessory end and the tool start? What often find their way back to the desk are my Pantone fan books. These are what I’d consider desk accessories to keep color organized, lest I imagine there’d be loose color all over my desk.
As difficult as it is, I try to keep things off the desk. My sideboard drawers are filled with little fiddly stuff like pens, paperclips and whatnot. This is a “desk accessory” I can’t do without. Open one of these drawers and you’ll clearly hear the theme music to Sanford & Son.
Oh, and my Leica D-Lux 3 camera. Best camera I’ve owned.
What would you change about your own workspace? The office is just big enough to fit two people comfortably, so I’d make it bigger, add more open space, and a half kitchen. A chaise for naps would be nice. I’d also like it to be detached from the house to slightly de-blur the work/home aspect. While we’re at it, just make the whole thing aluminum and glass and resurrect Donald Judd to design it.
What do you most love about your space? The view of the backyard through the sliding glass. The windows let in lots of natural light which is ideal for reviewing proofs and picking colors. It’s also good for the eyes to focus on something far away after staring at the computer screen.
What inspires you? For work related inspiration I look outside of graphic design to architecture, industrial design, music, and literature. And nothing beats traveling to see how other people do things.
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
March 8, 2010
A self-confessed neat freak and organizing fanatic Benita Larsson lives in “a little gray 1930′s house” with her husband, young son and two cats. They’ve lived their for 11 years and “while haven’t made any major structural changes we have made our mark on every nook and cranny.” And when she’s not blogging about her house at Chez Larsson or selling her punch art from her online store, Benita works in the marketing department of a Swedish chain of stores where she is the visual merchandiser in charge of marketing campaign themes and window displays.
How long have you worked from home…and where is ‘home’? Home is in a Stockholm suburb in Sweden. I started working from home one day a week a year ago. Fridays are good days in many ways!
What does an average work day involve? I blog and the work I do is mostly unpaid and blog related; I help readers out with projects, I take photos and edit them for blog posts, I answer interview questions, prepare photo requests and occasionally invoice ads.
Is there any form of technology that really inspires you and helps you in your work? About a week ago I got a Wacom Bamboo tablet and I’m dying to learn how to use it properly. If it works the way I hope, it will help me out enormously when sketching. Now all I need are a few more hours in the day to sit down and learn…
How do you organize your space? I try to keep everything as organized and clutter free as possible. My desk space is really small so anything lying about will disturb my arm movement. Everything has a designated spot and if I want to add anything something else must go. As for virtual space I just try to keep bookmarks organized and to a minimum and photos and documents in named folders. I keep my files backed up online but also got an external hard drive recently and transferred a lot of photo folders that I don’t use daily to it. That freed up a lot of space and made the lap top less cluttered.
What item from your desktop can you not do without? I can’t live without my laptop. It’s sick but I’m constantly at it. I think I need to take a lap top free weekend but I fear I’d die in the process. Ok, that determines it. I HAVE to take a laptop-free weekend. On a low tech note I love the four slots we have built in our home office unit. There’s one for my husband Martin, one for our son Wille, one for me and one for bills to be paid. It’s what keeps the desk top clutter free. Any piece of paper lying about goes into the owners slot and that person knows where to look for it when it’s missing from plain view.
What inspires you? Other creative people; bloggers, crafters, photographers, Martin and Wille.
March 1, 2010
You’ve seen photographer Ellen Warfield‘s work in the Village Voice, WWD, New York Times, Daily News, Nylon and here on Lifework. We posted Ellen’s photographs of Nicholas Felton in his office which was part of a series she did on people in their workspaces (look out for a slideshow of that beautiful series soon).
Where is you home office? Home is Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I grew up in Manhattan and have lived in Brooklyn since graduating from RISD in 1999. I have been in my current space for a little over 2 years and I am fortunate to have a separate office room in my apartment.
What does your typical day involve? I don’t really have an average work day, and that is just the way I like it, to keep things fresh. Lately I have been scanning in a lot of older negatives and I often try to get some of that done in the mornings. I have been working frequently with Sundance Channel/Full Frontal Fashion and we were all over New York, photographing different designers studios, which was a lot of fun. Then I go home and upload all the raw files, make selects and work on them.
Have there been any advances in technology that help you in your work? As a photographer, there are very obvious technological updates that change the way in which I work. For my artwork, I used exclusively film and darkroom methods until the past year or so, and I have been using digital cameras and computer programs a bit more. I like to look as digital photography as another great tool to use in my work, and use it to my advantage, not let the medium guide the images.
What accessory to you rely on the most? I have to admit that I am a bit addicted to the iPhone, and use all the ical, mail apps, etc. As a freelancer, it is indispensable to have access to my schedule and contacts when not near my computer. I have a separate client area on my computer and try to keep everything backed up for at least a year. And recently I bought a new powerful Epson film scanner and it makes working so much easier, so I would say I cannot do without it.
What is your favorite piece of furniture? Besides my boyfriend, my favorite piece of furniture is probably my desk, it is glass and very simple.
What inspires you? Inspiration can come in many forms, but I definitely feel that I want to be inspired by whatever it is that I find. For instance, I have not always been that interested in high fashion or followed it too closely, but the recent work with Full Frontal Fashion was super interesting and seeing how the collections come together and the processes involved made me see the industry in a completely different light. At its best, it is just another form of creative expression. Also it is one that can directly affect the culture at large very quickly.
My own work is inspired by a search for something intangible but present, a stillness in the world around me. That can be in the sky, the sea, people, buildings, animals, work, play, travel, everything.