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Karim Lopez, graphic designer, architect and illustrator

Karim Lopez, graphic designer, architect and illustrator

Published by Leonardo Calcagno

Who are you :

I’m Karim Lopez, a Graphic Designer, Architect and Illustrator from Santiago, Dominican Republic. Rock music, boxer dogs and pizza lover. But above all, a human being who likes to tell stories in whatever medium he’s at.

Your current job:

These days mostly independent. Currently illustrating a children’s book and collaborating with an architecture office with some sociourban studies on my city.

In which city are you located?

Santiago, a city located in the North of the Dominican Republic. A charming place, though too quiet sometimes. For my taste, at least.

A word to define what kind of worker you are :

Jack-of-all-trades, to compile it.

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

Evernote and Timely, for time tracking, Slack and WhatsApp for quick communication, and mostly the Adobe Suite for design. Autocad and Sketchup Pro for architecture. Good ol’ pencil and paper for brainstorming. And Spotify to hold all of them together. I try to keep things simple and manageable.

What does your office space look like?

As I said, I try to keep things simple, and above all organized. My workspace is small and divided in two areas, which I like to call the Analog and Digital ones, clearly separated. In the Analog one there is a drawing board, pencils, papers, books, and behind it, a desk with the computer, scanner and all things technology-related, except for maybe more books. Some days both areas mix up a bit (it happens more often than it should).

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

It depends very much on the kind of mood I’m in, the nature of the work at the moment or the time of the day. Rock music is never far away, and also ambient, classical (big Beethoven fan) or some really experimental pieces, to free the mind. I’m joking on the last part. I enjoy all types of music. Never have too much problem with whatever rhythm pops in the player.

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

I always begin with the most difficult work first, just to free myself of that hard part (if something is not more urgent than that). After finishing it, everything feels like a piece a cake from there on. Also, I do a detailed To-Do list the night before, so I begin the day knowing exactly what to do, in what time, and the priority level of each thing.

What tips would you give to improve productivity ?

To always stay on top on things. Writing down everything and planning ahead. It also works for me that every two hours or so, I get away from the work and do something completely different, so the mind doesn’t overload. When that happens, productivity takes a deep dive down. Your mind is not fully at it like it should be.

You’re better than your colleagues to :

I don’t know. I suppose that is something they have to answer, not me. But I should say, if had to pick one: the relationships of ideas. I always think of things in their relationship with something else that maybe is not necessarily related with the task at hand, in a Six-Degrees-of-Kevin-Bacon kind of way. That type of integral thinking, I find it to be extremely useful.

What is the best advice anyone has given you ?

“Do your absolutely best and no one would deny you anything”. It’s extremely powerful, and goes a long way in the self esteem to know that ultimately, most of the things are in your hand if you work them on.

What is your best tip for saving time?

To put limits. If you force yourself to a time or work frame, you learn to prioritize, get things done more efficiently, and ultimately, waste less time. It’s a combination of working harder and smarter.

What is your routine start and end of the day ?

Morning coffee is the only sure routine at the start of the day. In all truth, I don’t follow a certain pattern neither at the start or at the end (except for coffee). But I’ve discovered to have developed a habit of reading before falling sleep. On these recent weeks, at least.

Aside from your computer and your phone, what gadget can you not you go without? Some time ago I would say headphones, but the notepad crushed that competition to the ground. Definitely a small notebook to doodle around. As it happened before, I can forget my phone, but if I forget the notebook, panic ensures.

pop69.blogspot (blog, in Spanish)