Who are you :
A self-employed, Canadian graphic and web designer with a fine arts background that doesn't try to fit in with the rest of the crowd.
Your current job :
Creative Director/Designer at rebecca maxwell graphic + web design.
In which city are you located?
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada
A word to define what kind of worker you are :
What tools are essential to your life (app, software, etc..)
My beloved, and often criticized, iPhone 6 plus and my adorable Macbook Air that can be quickly thrown in my purse for meetings on the run and is well-equipped with the Adobe Creative Suite's software such as InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop. I also use the Coda 2 app by Panic (for web-related tweaks and uploads both locally and remote), Toggl timetracking (to keep track of clients and project hours), pen, pencil, paper graph + lined, my creativity and inspiration.
What does your office space look like?
I work out of my home and have a desk in an area of my huge bedroom. I've got a vintage space-aged chair that I refinished myself last summer that I'm pretty proud of. I also have a marine aquarium close by with my seahorse named Seahorse to help me zen out when needed. I could watch the tank for hours. As nice as that is, I have to say that sometimes I am on the couch working in my pjs; other times, I like to mix it up and head to a local cafe for a change of scenery...not in my pjs. I'm actually most productive in public cafes so when I really need to bust something out, I'll head there. I'm pretty lucky that I can mix it up!
What kind of music do you listen when you are working ?
I love using Hype Machine to find awesome mixes and new songs. Some days it's mellow usually partnering with the weather; other days, I'm into the techno to bust out work. There are also times that I'm so involved with work that I don't even realize what song is on. I'm also guilty of finding a jam and listening to the same song over and over...and over...
Do you have a way to organize your day to maximize your work ?
I've always been such a night owl- I feel like that's when I'm at my creative peek instead of half asleep, lost in a dream in front of the screen for a couple hours. I usually like to start work in the late afternoon, especially in the summers. Prince Edward Island is just so beautiful. I like to spend the day at the beach, biking trails, or riding my motorcycle. I try to get the most hours of sunshine I can and I've always felt most creative in the wee hours of the night after I've had times to mull over ideas in my head. I love being self-employed where I can move my hours around to suit what's happening and when the creative juices are flowing. In the winter, I instruct snowboarding so it's great that I can make other jobs work.
If a client has an important deadline and I need to be in correspondence, I'll also switch to a 9-5 sort of gig. I'm very flexible that way. I love taking clients from the west coast as Vancouver is a whole four hours behind PEI so I can enjoy a nice start to the day before getting in touch. That being said, it also equals later nights.
I do think that if a designer is happy and comfortable that will show in their quality of work so it's important to cater your freelancing to work with your lifestyle.
What tips would you give to improve productivity ?
Time tracking is great at improving productivity and even making yourself aware of gaps in productivity -- it really makes you realize where all your time is going.
Play some wii; take a walk; do some yoga; drink a tea. I love riding my dual sport motorcycle (Suzuki DR 200) both on and off road to clear my mind. I also love to snowboard and will hit the park for a little bit in the winter. Fresh air and nature really do wonders for the creative mind!
You're better than your colleagues to:
What is the best advice anyone has given you ?
Live your brand! Always represent your business or your work outside in the open world -you just never know when there could be a potential client. It's also key to be authentic 100% of the time.
What is your best tip for saving time ?
Saving Swatches and Patterns,
Create vectors for fun and keep them on file.
Have images saved for potential future products.
Paragraph Styles in InDesign are amazing and speedy.
Numbered lists for clients in emails in response don't actually come across as rude--- they help bring clarity and speed up the process.
What is your routine start and end of the day ?
First things first is catching up my inbox and responding to emails. I also like to organize a file folder system for new projects that I'm starting that day. I usually putter around on Facebook and design blogs for a while with a coffee or tea until the "time is right" to get to work. I'm usually checking emails through the day in case there is anything urgent; but at the end of the day, I'll also respond before closing my laptop and calling it a night. I'll also have a glass of wine if I'm feeling cheeky and really looking to decompress.
Aside from your computer and your phone, what gadget can you not you go without?
Most definitely my coffee maker and kettle.