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Office tale of Michiel van den Berg, illustrator and designer

Office tale of Michiel van den Berg, illustrator and designer

Published by Leonardo Calcagno

Michiel van den Berg


Who are you : 

I’m Michiel van den Berg, an illustrator and designer. I draw and build things on a computer and sometimes on paper.

Your current job : 

Illustrator/designer and occasional animator

In which city are you located? : 

I work from my home studio in beautiful Amsterdam but contemplating/researching a move to the US.

A word to define what kind of worker you are : 

I’ll avoid the cliches ‘passionate’ and ‘dedicated’ and go with ‘studious’. I’m very eager to learn and diligent so that kind of sums it up.

What tools are essential to your life (app, software, etc..) 

Macbook, Wacom tablet, Illustrator, Cinema 4D, coffee, green tea, field notes & Pigma Micron pens

What does your office space look like? 

My studio is basically a desk in my living room which I keep clean and organised.

What kind of music do you listen when you are working ?

A big reason for working from home for me is that I prefer to listen to music almost non-stop. This past week : Marriages, Jaga Jazzist, John Carpenter, Frank Zappa, Morton Feldman, Madvillain, Steve Reich, Emma Ruth Rundle, Jurassic 5, Black Sabbath, Nils Frahm. The Collective Podcast by Ash Thorpe is also something I really enjoy listening to while working.

Do you have a way to organize your day to maximize your work ? 

Days are hardly ever completely the same but in general I’m a pretty avid user of to-do lists. At times when distraction unfortunately becomes an issue I have to cheat my brain into productivity using timers, rewards and planned breaks.

What tips would you give to improve productivity ?

Trim the fat, don’t waste time on things you don’t really want or need. Keep things organised and maintain very clear communication with your client (and yourself) from the very start. And make sure you sleep well.

You’re better than your colleagues to : 

I suck at many many things so I prefer to focus on areas I like to improve. Regarding work I’m a pretty good communicator if I’d have to pick one thing.

What is the best advice anyone has given you ? 

Do personal projects.

What is your best tip for saving time ? 

Stay of the internet..

What is your routine start and end of the day ? 

I start all of my days with a big glass of water and either making or reviewing my to-do list for the day. In an ideal world I would end my day with an hour of reading but I occasionally fail to make that happen.

Aside from your computer and your phone, what gadget can you not you go without? 

My Fender Jazzmaster