For this blog post, I thought I’d take you through my home studio workspace (shown in the header above) and explain some of the choices I made when setting it up.
Every graphic designers workspace will be unique to them and is influenced by many things including available space, budget and how they like to work. I have one desk for my digital work on the iMac and another that I can use for paperwork, sketching etc. So lets go through what makes up my workspace:
It’s a pretty compact desk due to space restrictions and most of it is used up by the iMac itself. It’s actually a good thing that it’s small though, as it prevents me from cluttering it up and forces me to keep a clear work area. Try to ensure that your desk gives you a comfortable work height in combination with your chair. Long hours sat at it can cause back problems if it’s not right. I’ve placed the desk so I have a big window to my right giving me plenty of light without getting reflections off the screen.
This is my workhorse that produces most of my final digital artwork. For the tech geeks out there it’s a 21.5-inch, 2.9 GHz Intel Core i5. I doubled the memory to 16GB to help speed up the memory hungry stuff like Photoshopping some of the large, hi-res images I work with. I decided to go with this rather than a Macbook Pro as I don’t think it’s good practice to spend a lot of hours hunched over a laptop and prefer a nice, big screen area.
Apple Wired Keyboard & Cordless Mouse
I chose the wired keyboard with number pad over the standard Apple cordless keyboard as I don’t see the point of going cordless as I’m always sat in front of the screen. I also prefer the number pad as it’s much quicker and more comfortable for me to input numbers with and I like the extra keyboard space. I went with an Apple cordless mouse as I prefer how it feels over a corded one and like the multi-touch surface. I also always use a gel mouse mat with wrist support to help prevent RSI.
Panasonic RP-HTX7 Headphones
These aren’t just for blasting out my music without annoying the neighbours while I work. There’s an important role they play in my home working. My home is also my workspace and there are times when I need to close out distractions around me to concentrate. It’s unfair to expect others who share my home to sit in total silence while I’m working. The headphones are excellent for sealing out ambient noise and enables me to focus while around me other things are going on. My wife has however, pointed out how it never seems to filter out the sound of her offering to make a cuppa!
I always keep a pen and some kind of note paper near me. Even with all the digital technology around us, sometimes scribbling a note or sketch is a great way to record an idea.
As most of my work is in print it’s important to remember that, no matter how well calibrated my monitor is, the colours on screen will rarely look the same as when printed. A quick check of this will show what I thought was a nice subtle green is actually a really punchy lime on paper.
Fun and inspirational “stuff”
If you’ve got a keen eye you may have noticed in the picture of my desk a VW camper 3D puzzle, a knitted slug and a bamboo chopping board. Why? Well, it’s my little piece of the world where I spend a lot of my time and I want to be surrounded by stuff that inspires and amuses me. I love the tactile texture of wood (you’ll see its influence in this website’s design) and dream of owning a VW camper. The slug gets a lot of squishing when I’m stressed (poor thing!). A sterile, minimalist desk does not make a good creative environment in which to work.
So that’s a quick tour of my personal workspace, I hope you enjoyed reading it.
Malcolm Roberts is a Worcestershire based graphic designer, blogger and lover of all things creative.
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