Curious about how I do my work? This list is a living document of the hardware, software, and services I use every day. I’ll keep it updated as my workflow and equipment changes.
Like a lot of the industry, Figma has become my most used, and loved, tool for day-to-day design work—so much so that I’ve spent the better part of the past two years helping our team adopt it as our primary digital design program.
Adobe Creative CloudApp Suite
I've been entrenched in Adobe’s ecosystem for over a decade—my first version of Photoshop was CS5—but I’m increasingly keen to explore alternatives like Affinity’s suite of apps, Pixelmator Pro, and the browser-based motion tool Fable.
I have increasingly moved some of my vector work to Figma, which I think is especially good for things like icon design, but for work that is more nuanced or exploratory, I still prefer a dedicated vector drawing program.
I tend to use photoshop mostly for production-grade raster image editing. I’ll often fake a photo effect or use unprocessed images while exploring a concept in Figma or Illustrator and then pull them into Photoshop when I’m ready to move to the next level of fidelity.
After EffectsMotion Design
Motion design is one area where Adobe still seems to have a firm grip on the market, despite the obvious cruft that AE has developed after so many years on the market. If you’re interested in learning motion desing in the context of After Effects, I highly suggest the Motion 4 plugin, which smooths out some of the apps sharper edges.
A simple, system-wide color picker that I use for accessibility testing and color sampling.
No surprise here. Even though I technically used Atom when learning development, the overwhelming majority of my time building websites has been spent inside of VS Code. I use Night Owl by Sarah Drasner for my theme and Jetbrains Mono for my font.
I feel competent working with Vue and React, but I feel happy and productive working with Svelte (and Sveltekit). More than almost anything else, it has changed the way I think about and approach web development.
I learned Svelte in the context of Sveltekit and, as such, I sometimes lost track of where one ended and the began. I can see now, thought, that whereas Svelte mostly enables me do things I know how to do more quickly and elegantly, Sveltekit has helped me become more confident working with servers, fetching data, and other traditionally-backend tasks.
The speed and flexibility of working with Tailwind makes it an invaluable part of my toolkit. I also appreciate how closely it’s syntax maps to CSS. Whenever I do need to write vanilla CSS, I don’t feel like my skills have atrophied.
I use Vercel to host most of my personal projects (including this site). Netlify is also a great option for serverless hosting, but the fact that Vercel actively funds the development of Svelte and Sveltekit has swayed me to their side.
I’ve avoided void using Chrome proper for several years now. I first switched to Firefox, then Brave, and have more recently landed on Arc. Despite it’s beta status, the team at the Browser Company have put a lot of love and attention into it, and I’ve found it mostly a joy to use.
Github DesktopGit Interface
I’m a designer first and foremost, so I’m wont to reach for a GUI rather than interfacing with the command line directly. I switched to Github Desktop after a long period of trying and failing to integrate git into my workflow and I never looked back.
Apple Macbook Pro (2015)Computer
I tend to hang on to hardware for as long as possible, which is why, until recently, my personal computer was a 2015 Macbook Pro. In January, I upgraded to one of the new 16" M2 Macbooks, which definitely lives up to the hype—and unlike my work computer (2019 Macbook), thankfully doesn’t have a touchbar.
iPhone 14 ProSmart Phone
Continuing with the trend of outated-but-still-functioning tech: until Q4 2022, I still rocked an iPhone 6s. Once they officially dropped support for it with the release of IOS 16, though, I finally upgraded to a 14 Pro.
I bought an iPad pro when I was working as an independent designer and doing a larger amount of illustration in my day-to-day work. Now, honestly, I use it mostly for reading or quickly sketching out an idea.
AirPods ProWireless Earbuds
I was initially skeptical that I needed another device for listening to music, but I got the Pros as a gift and, to be honest, I use them nearly everyday. The sound quality is solid for such a small in-ear device and they’re infinitely more convenient than my other headphones.
These are my get-shit-done headphones. The sound quality is great, especially for bluetooth headphones, and their ability to almost completely neutralize surrounding noise is essential to focusing in an open office.
Teenage Engineering OP-1Synthesizer
I’ve made music on and off throughout my life. Most recently, the OP-1 has been my gateway drug back into recording and producing. It’s a weird little device—especially in how it eschews certain priniciples that we think of as user-friendly design—but it is such a joy to play.
I didn’t intend to also invest in Teenage Engineering’s speaker, but when the Minirig that I ordered got lost in the mail at the same time that they put the OB-4 on sale, I ended up pulling the trigger on it. I have to say, I don’t regret it.
I have never worked with a digital audio workstation before, so this is me taking a step outside of my comfort zone. I chose in part Ableton because I like that it’s workflow can be loop-based, similar to that of the OP-1.
Beyerdynamic DT 700 Pro XHeadphones
I wanted a better pair of headphones specifically for writing music. I quickly got way out of my depth wading through the different options and chose these based mostly on some comparison videos on Youtube. They’ve been awesome, though, and I haven’t had any issues with them not being loud enough when plugging straight into a computer or instrument.