Office tale of Katharine Silver Howard, graphic and brand designer

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Who are you?
I’m Katharine, I’m an advertising student, a freelance graphic and brand designer, and I create typefaces on the side.

In which city are you located?
Smack dab in the heart of Toronto.

A word to define what kind of worker you are:
Laid back and flippant

What tools are essential to your life (app, software, etc..):
Lots of tea, a pencil and paper, and a laptop with Illustrator and InDesign.

What does your office space look like?
My office space consists of a big table by a window with lots of natural light. There are some plants here and there and a laptop too. A classic black leather chair from the 60s is part of the space; however, the chair is uncomfortable so I normally just sit on the couch.

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What kind of music do you listen to when you are working?
I don’t like to listen to music while I work because I like to be open to conversations with the people around me. I used to listen to a lot of music but it’s quite a personal thing, and can become isolating if you really get into it. I like to work with more of an open vibe now.

Do you have a way to organize your day to maximize your work?
Once I get an idea for the concept, I take a break so I can come back to it with fresh eyes. Every time I take a step forward or have an idea breakthrough, I take a break because it’s easier to come back to a project that has momentum attached to it.

What tips would you give to improve productivity?
Take as many breaks as you can. Go for a walk. Get out of your work environment and get some fresh air. Do some stretches when you get bored, but most importantly remember to have a good work-life balance.

You're better than your colleagues at:
There’s no “better than”. We all have different ideas and I get a lot of inspiration and feedback from them. Feedback from my peers is absolutely critical for me to push myself and become better.

What is the best advice anyone has given you?
Surround yourself by people who are smarter than you and better at your job than you are. It’s the best way to learn. Also, someone told me recently to write at least one idea down every day. Even if you think it’s a bad idea at the time it may one day become something great.

What is your best tip for saving time?
Stop working when you’re not coming up with any good ideas, you’ll only burn yourself out.

What is your routine for the start and end of the day?
First thing in the morning, I make myself a cup of tea. I also read a lot of design and lifestyle blogs to see what’s happened overnight. It keeps me inspired and up to date.
After the day is over, that’s when I normally do my best work. The nighttime is my time  and I can get into it without distractions.

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Aside from your computer and your phone, what gadget can you not you go without?
I don’t really have extra gadgets, but one thing I do recommend for everyone is to save  your work in the cloud (I use Dropbox) cause there’s nothing worse than somehow losing  all your work.

katharinesilverhoward.com