Who are you :
I’m Tom Beltrame, a 26-year-old full-time graphic designer, part-time freelancer, and spare-time musician.
Your current job :
I am a graphic designer with Legend Boats.
In which city are you located?
Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.
A word to define what kind of worker you are:
Mindful. Our facility is located in a very natural setting on Vermillion river in Whitefish, Ontario. The floor-to-ceiling windows provide an immense view of the river and nature we are surrounded by. Looking out at such a setting every day has more of a calming influence than a busy downtown street could.
What tools are essential to your life (app, software, etc..)
When it comes to software, Adobe Creative Suite is essential to me for design. In terms of tools outside of work, my bicycle is essential to me for staying active and enjoying the outdoors. At home, a pair of drumsticks, my apartment-building-friendly practice pad, guitar, and PlayStation 4 help me unwind.
What does your office space look like?
We moved into a new state-of-the-art facility late last year, with a modern open-concept work area for most of the office staff. I try to keep the top of my desk neat and organized, but unfortunately, I can’t say the same for the desktop on my computer.
What kind of music do you listen when you are working?
It really depends on the project I’m working on. Sometimes I like to listen to podcasts or talk radio (CBC, NPR) while doing more task-driven work. If I’m developing a concept or trying to think of solutions to a problem, I prefer music that is a little more ambient and less distracting.
Do you have a way to organize your day to maximize your work?
Aside from the online task-management site that helps us manage and keep to our deadlines, putting physical sticky notes on the edges of my computer screen assists me in keeping track of the day-to-day to-dos. Also, getting outside and walking a quick lap around the building twice a day provides a good mental refresh.
What tips would you give to improve productivity?
Before you get going in the design software, plan things out. Doing the necessary research before jumping headfirst into a project helps you get things right the first time.
You’re better than your colleagues to :
Each one of us is unique in terms of personalities, skill-sets, and roles within the company. We all bring something different to the table, and that helps keep things not as competitive as they could potentially be in an agency or firm. The only person I’m trying to better is myself, day by day, week by week, year by year.
What is the best advice anyone has given you?
A quote that has stayed with me recently regarding graphic design is as follows: “Without a strong idea, graphic design is just meaningless decoration.” —Erik Kessels (creative director of KesselsKramer). At Legend, we are trying to communicate to customers and potential customers, sell a product and maintain brand recognition. Good aesthetics, in this case, are not enough, the designs need to be functional to meet these goals. Not just decoration.
What is your best tip for saving time?
I usually keep a notepad or a few sheets of paper in front of me while working, in-between myself and the keyboard. It helps remind me to sketch out an idea if need be, or do some quick thumbnails before starting a new project.
What is your routine start and end of the day?
Before leaving for work, I quickly check my go-to news websites for the mornings’ news. After a 20-25 minute commute to work is when I check emails. At the end of the day, I head home to go for a quick bike ride before settling in.
Aside from your computer and your phone, what gadget can you not you go without?
My guitar tuner, the AUX cord in my car, and the now old-timey iPod classic attached to it. While it might be considered low-tech these days, I still prefer the original iPod’s simple efficiency as a device dedicated to playing music.