The Workstation of a Designer | Angel Ceballos — Designer / New York Photographer
May 11, 2013

The Workstation of a Designer

One of the most inspiring thing to me as a designer and I guess to others as well is getting a glimpse at the designer setups of where designers and creatives minds get their work done. I’ve been inspired by the site The Setup who interviews recognized creatives who share details about their setups at home and/or work from the hardware they use down to the details of how they use some of the software they install and use.

The usual structure of these posts found on The Setup has an introduction of the person followed by the hardware they use, software, and an open question about their thoughts about what they think their dream setup can be. I figured I’d keep a similar structure just to keep it consistent and focused.

Who are you, and what do you do?

I think I’ll keep this section short of who I am because you can read all about that on my about section. I don’t want to bored you with the details again if you already know who I am, but if you don’t know who I am, here is who I am in a nutshell:

My name is Angel Ceballos, and I’m a digital product designer living in New York City creating simple and meaningful things. I currently work at CASE as a Software Designer and you can find me tweeting about the things related to the industry here or sharing what I’m working on the design community, Dribbble.

What hardware do you use?

I’m typing this post on a 15″ MacBook Pro with Retina Display that has been maxed out in term of upgrades. I have 2 workstations at home. I’m part designer and part geek, which you’ll soon find out below as you continue reading :)

Main Home Workstation Setup #1

The first main workstation you can find me working on when I’m home has my Macbook Pro hooked up to a 27″ Thunderbolt Display, and 3 other 21.5″ LED Samsung Monitors being held up by a Heavy Duty Desk Mount. I use one monitor that is rotated at 90 degree to have my twitter steam and email open at all times while my other 2 21.5″ monitors has sketches, references, music player open or any other windows open while I focus my main work area on the 27″ Thunderbolt Display.

When I have Photoshop or Illustrator open, which is all the time, haha. I have all my panels organized on one of the 21.5″ monitors. I use a wireless Bluetooth Apple Wireless Keyboard, Apple Magic Track Pad, and an Apple Magic Mouse. I use the Mobee Magic Charger for inductive charging for the Apple Magic Mouse and use the Mobee Magic Bar for the Apple Wireless Keyboard. I use 2 of the Twelve South BackPack adjustable shelves that I’ve mounted on my Thunderbolt display. One of the adjustable shelves I’ve strategically placed so it can hold my keyboard and Track Pad when not in use to clear up some desk space. The second shelve I’ve mounted on the back of the Thunderbolt display holds my Wacom Intuos 4 tablet. When I’m on a Skype with friends or clients I use a Yeti Microphone, which gets the job done flawlessly with a Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920with 1080p for video. I listen to music on these bad boys from Astro, the A40 PC Gaming Headset, which I purchased 2 years ago and never had a problem with them. I hold all these cords in place by using the Metal Cordies to keep cables on the table that I need from rolling behind the desk. When it comes to scanning in sketches I use the ultra portable Doxie Go mobile scanner with an Eye-Fi memory card with built in Wi-Fi to transfer those scanned in images to my MacBook, any other machine in my house or even my mobile devices.

My iPhone 5 is in my pocket or usually on desk next to my iPad Mini. I use the Twelve South BookBook case + wallet for my iPhone. I had it originally for the iPhone 4S and I loved it so much, I purchased it again because it keeps everything in one place.

Home Workstation Setup #2

My second home workstation has a 27″ iMac connected to my second 27″ Thunderbolt Display as the second display. I use my Mac Mini as my home network media server and usually stream content on it to my television or use a 1080p Apple TV going to 55″ Samsung TV. I also have an OWC Mercury Elite Pro for my storage solution and an Apple 3TB Time Capsule as my main router and backup solution for all my Macs. I have another Apple Wireless Keyboard and Apple Magic mouse for my iMac and usually remote login to the Mac Mini from the iMac to run any task I need to stream a movie or any other media throughout my home. I got the Mac Mini Server as a gift from my girlfriend. I use the Contort as my USB hub on the iMac for connecting multiple flash drives.

And what software?

I use Photoshop and Illustrator everyday (which designer doesn’t? haha) to design my user interfaces and create interactive prototypes using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript in Textmate. I know its not common to find a designer who writes code as well, but times have changed. I’ve been also playing around with Ruby and Objective C in XCode and run some of my programs in iTerm 2 plus the lovely oh-my-zsh. I keep my code in Git repos and do some of the heavy lifting in Google Chrome (Developer Tools). I’ve been also giving Sketch 2 a shot, and so far I’m in love with the tool, which I can talk about on another post. I’m writing this post in the Wp-svbtle editor for WordPress for writing my posts in Markdown and removing some of the distractions and focusing on the writing. I get most of my music through Spotify, both on a laptop and through their iOS app. My other music comes from my massive iTunes music library I have managed to put together over the years. A designer needs music, its a must! :)

I use Divvy for my window management needs on these 4 monitors in combination with Total Spaces. I use Total Finder to create tabs in Finder and use Pathfinder from time to time as my default finder on OS X.

I use a bunch of designer tools and other applications, which I will make a post dedicated to these apps in the near future and a post on gadgets that I use because that needs an entire post dedicated to it :)

What would be your dream setup as a designer?

I would ideally like to have a machine as light as the MacBook Air, but with the power and display of the MacBook Pro with Retina Display. My Macbook Pro with Retina Display isn’t light as you think it is based on how thin it is, but more because of all the upgrades I added to it has increased the weight of the machine when I purchased it. I needed the upgrades because I have multiple VMs that uses a bunch of RAM and play graphic intensive games on my machine. The designer tools I have installed demand resources as well.

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