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Under-the-radar resources: My brain—sorry, it's available only under special request. But seriously, I'd say anything that is not online is underutilized. Speaking to other designers, writers, photographers and editors. Asking the right questions.

Empathetic design: Calgary-based design firm WAX created an annual report for the Calgary Society for Persons with Disabilities. Printed only in black and white, the report is held together by a single staple placed in the center of the page, making it incredibly difficult to read—hence demonstrating the challenges of having a disability.

Library heavyweights: I'm currently reading Usefulness in Small Things, by Sam Hecht and Kim Colin (retailfacility.co.uk); the new edition of A Smile in the Mind, by Beryl McAlhone, David Stuart, Greg Quinton and Nick Asbury; and the latest issues of Eye magazine and Works That Work. For must-reads, I'm going back to classics such as John Berger's Ways of Seeing, Norman Potter's What Is a Designer: Things, Places, Messages and books by Bruno Munari.

Organizational strategy: Don't ask. If I sent you an image of my desktop right now, you would understand why.
Timekeeper: I am a devoted fan of Harvest. The app tracks each minute spent on a project and bills to the correct one. This enables us to monitor not only our workflow, but also what's needed for each project.

Analog tools: Scissors—I love cutting things up. I will also rip designs into pieces to paste over other designs. It's a quick way of problem solving that unearths endless discoveries. Lately, I've also been obsessed with Midori Brass Ballpoint Pens. I love how finely they write and how pretty they are. I usually clip them to my outfit so I can quickly grab my pen to make notes or revisions. You can also put a chain on it to wear around your neck. I love them so much that I have about ten of them!
Canine companion: Coming home to my French bulldog, Alfonso, gives me a few hours to relax after work and focus on this little creature that loves attention and scratches behind the ears. Being a designer 24/7 doesn't mean you have to work all the time.

Convicting realization: Catching myself designing for other designers. When we publish work, designers are the people who trumpet it. My preoccupation with how my work would land with designers kept me from finding the best solution for my client. Feedback from other designers can be helpful, but now I keep it within a tight circle of trusted friends. We bounce ideas off each other with clients in mind.

Real talk: I caught a presentation that New York City–based branding studio Gretel gave in 2015 about how today's brands need more than just a logo, typography and definitive color. To me, that is definitely a big push for our industry. Technology has taken us to the age of brand movements, like Gretel's perfect, thoughtful Netflix rebrand.

Oldie, but goodie: I've kept a Micron 02 in the same place in my right pocket for about fifteen years now. Also a fan of the Tombow brush pens for stream-of-consciousness script.

Brain fuel: Since we're relatively new—only two years old—and still very much learning how to be a business, "splurge worthy" for the team means group lunches and dinners. They get us out of the office and regularly serve as brainstorming sessions.

Engaging read: I recently finished William Gibson's The Peripheral, which offers a futurist look at drones, politics, cults and so much more. It also includes time travel and moving tattoos. And it takes place in two different futures, which is pretty dang cool.

Fresh work: I'm a big fan of the work of Zack Dougherty, aka Hateplow. His 3-D animations play with ideas of death and technology while absurdly looking at the history of art through a contemporary—and temporary—lens.

Online archive: In my research for a 1950s monster movie–related project, I found this old movie poster archive called the Wrong Side of the Art (wrongsideoftheart.com). With high-resolution views, it's amazing to see the type and illustrations in detail.

Mental indulgence: When I work, I have to have something going on a second screen. This year, it was a lot of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia or old Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes. I listen to a lot of true crime or sports podcasts, and I love documentaries about odd or unusual things. Every time I try to have something constructive on, I lose focus. For some reason, I work best with mental junk food.

Illustrated banter: I love Tim Lahan's work, which is a bit more illustration than design. His work juxtaposes a playful style with biting wit. It looks tame on the surface, but is very subversive. It feels like I'm getting an inside joke.


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