WMD what's on my desk | v.1 | Andy

Hopefully the first in a semi-regular series. A peek into the madness genius that goes into retail commercial design. Our first submission comes from designer, Andy Drake, we asked him, "what's on your desk?"

1. hand drawn sketches
My desk is ALWAYS covered with sketches, traces and other sorts of hand-graphics. It's just part of the design process for me, and will always be so. It's very typical for me to grab a piece of paper and just draw something, not knowing what will come out of it. Very often, the finished product will reflect my early drawings that I did during the very first step of my designs. In this case, fixtures for a flower stand, the corresponding plans and another fixture are taking up space on my desk.

2. watercolor sketchbook
My watercolor art follows me everywhere. I keep a sketchbook on me most of the time I'm out of the office for doing quick hand sketches and watercolor art. Its just a hobbie, but often I blend it with projects or use past drawings for inspiration during design.

3. tools of the trade
Just as a musician will get very particular about his instrument, I am very particular about my pens… they are an extension of my hand, afterall, and I am only as good as my tools will allow me to be. Watercolors: Windsor and Newton in travel case. Pens: Black micro uniball for notes and quick sketches, uniball waterproof pens when watercolor will be applied.
4. snacks
I can't lie, I nibble… Hey! I break a mental sweat!

5. tape measurer
When fixtures or spaces are being designed, you can never forget you're designing for the human body. I constantly measure things to see if heights, widths and distances are claustrophobic, hard to reach or move around in. Having this tactile experience of special sizing is key to good design.

6. books
I keep an assortment around the office. Most of the references I go back to fall into two categories. Books like Malcolm Gladwell’s What the Dog Saw focus on how we humans think and interact. Psychological studies are very important in decifering how a customer is going to act in a space. Paco Underhill has done a lot of research in this narrow field. Other books focus on design, and are written by people both smarter and more eloquent than I… which may be why I idolize them. My design bible: A Pattern Language, by Christopher Alexander, et all.
7. material samples
Along with sketching, having materials to apply to projects gets the creative wheel cranking! Here nice tiles are cluttering up my desk. I really like natural and honest materials the best. If the project is more modern, I will adjust these materials to be more refined… I don't decide what the project wants to look like; the project will reveal itself to me during the design process..

8. reusable mug (and coffee)
I don’t think there’s anything to explain. Science defines living things as made up of cell(s). I define living based on, “Have I had my coffee yet?”

9. headphones and iPod
Sometimes I just need to tune out what's going on around me. The design area can get pretty hectic at times and being tuned out of that anxiety/stress is key. Plus it helps the creative pursuit. Don't believe me? Change the vibe of your kitchen next time you have taco night: Salsa music in the background, lime wafting in the air and no shoes on. Doesn't that make you dive into the experience? The same is true for design.

10. magazines
Constantly keeping up with trends, learning about new products and seeing what others are doing is important.  Most of my design precedents and early inspirational imagery comes from magazines and photo journals. Plus, I’m a fiend for great photos.

11. color books
Pantone is my friend.  Without color, the world would be oh so dismal! Color is something to be played with, and I love matching and creating palettes!