I am fascinated in other freelancers work spaces and what they actually use every day while working for themselves. I sent around a batch of emails to many different types of freelancer including web designers, photographers, and illustrators.  I think a pleasant working environment is so important as a freelancer. You need to want to work at your desk on your own for a full days work at least five days a week.

Work space of freelance photographer:  James Gregory – capturedbyjames.co.uk

I use a Dell XPS15 laptop with a high CPU and Memory spec plugged into a 24″ Samsung LED screen. The combination makes a perfect partnership for photo editing in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3.0 and Photoshop CS5. The Samsung screen shows true contrast, ensuring the best photographic results for screen and print.

My workspace is nicely set up in my home studio. My Nikon D700 body, Nikon Flashes, and Sigma lenses are within easy reach of my chair, and are always primed with batteries and flashcards for an impromptu shoot. With a collapsible home studio consisting of Lastolite kit, I can be rigged at a location and ready to shoot in super-quick time.

Work space of freelance illustrator:  Rod Hunt – rodhunt.com

My studio is right by the Thames Barrier on River Thames in Greenwich. It’s in an old Victorian Warehouse at Second Floor Studios & Arts http://www.secondfloor.co.uk , & I have a 220 SqFt room to myself with a view of the river. It’s a pretty creative environment with currently over 130 artists working here (& still growing).  I have a lot of design, art & illustration books in the studio, as well as the usual creative’s toys like robots. For me it good to have a studio set up rather than working at home. It’s healthy to have that separation between work & home life, do be able to shut the studio door at night & switch off.

My current set up is, an iMac 2.9 Ghz Intel Dual Core 4GB Ram, 21′ Wacom Cintiq, Adobe CS4, CanonScan Lide 100, Epson Photo R265, Canon D20 SLR for shooting reference, pencil, biro, sketch book, 220gsm heavyweight cartridge pad, blood, sweat & tears.

Work space of  freelance designer:  Michael Bester – kimili.com

My workhorse is a 15″ MacBook Pro loaded with an 120GB SSD boot drive, a 320GB drive for photos and videos and 8GB of RAM, all of which add up to never having to wait around for the computer to finish doing something. Connected to it is a 23″ Cinema Display, a wired Apple keyboard and a decade-old Wacom 9″x12″ Intuos2 graphics tablet which I use for all my mousing needs.

A 500GB External Drive is for daily backups, and a Drobo (behind the books) is for archiving and additional backup. Bose Companion 2 speakers ensure the day has a soundtrack. An iPhone 4 is sitting in a Glif mounted on a Gorillapod. Missing from the shot is my iPad, which is typically employed as a testing platform for projects or a source of diversion in equal measure. Jabba The Hutt keeps a watchful eye over the proceedings.

Work space of  freelance designer:  Emma Taylor – twigglegraphics.com

Being the fussy designer that I am, my office has recently undergone yet another rejig! With a pretty pink colour painted on the wall and a few other accessories I can now safely say I love my office!! My workspace consists of…

My purdy 20″ iMac, Logitech MX Revolution Mouse ~ Very comfy! Notebooks, pens and pencils ~ I’ve tried endless applications to help manage my (many) to do lists but the good old pen and paper wins every time! Herman Miller Mirra chair ~ Pretty expensive but it was most definitely needed to help my RSI. Books and Magazines ~ Currently reading: 8faces, Tapworthy and a few interior design & fashion magazines.

Work space of freelance designer:  Stephen Fairbanks – ghosthorses.co.uk

For my home freelance setup, I’ve managed to (thus far) steer clear of Mac products that everyone else in the industry seems to use.

I work with a custom-built PC, a 24” Samsung monitor, Logitech mouse, keyboard and speakers, a Wacom Bamboo graphics tablet, lots of web design & development books and a pen and paper. And a lovely Eeyore mug to spur me on.

Work space of freelance designer & illustrator: Harry Ford – harryford.co.uk

This is my home freelance setup, I have a top floor office with just me and my dog Pip. I am using an older version iMac (still waiting for the latest upgrade), I have recently swapped my old pro for a Macbook air which is easier to lug around London for meetings each week. When I went freelance over a year ago I spent all my pennies on a Wacom Cintiq 21UX which enables me to illustrate straight onto the screen. Pretty friggin handy. I have an iPad that sits on my desk but doesn’t do anything apart from look pretty and allow me to test designs for the iPad. I hate all printers so I don”t want to talk about the monster in the corner.

My desk may look very today in this photo but my floor is pretty much a playpen for my dog Pip which I have to manoeuvre through and around if actually have to leave the room.

Work space of freelance designer: Marie Poulin – mariepoulin.com

It’s a typical rainy day in Vancouver, so the lighting is a bit dim (cozy) today. To the right is a spectacular view of the Rocky Mountains, which inherently makes me feel more relaxed.

My primary machine is my macbook pro with external monitor. The desktop background is one that I took on a trip to Hawaii, where the sun bursting through the trees (can you tell I like the outdoors?).

On the top shelf of my desk you’ll find a stack of books that I’m in the process of reading (I find it hard to only read one book at a time!). On the right you’ll find my nerdy figurines: Jack from Lost, and Lee from Battlestar Galactica (my all time favourite tv series ever), both gifts from my equally nerdy boyfriend. Beside that I have a few magazine holders to hold several magazines, books, and my most recent project paperwork and files, as well as anything reference material I’ll need in the near future.

On the lowest level of my desk, where I keep my laptop, i keep beside me a weekly planner as well as a notebook and sketchbook. On the left I have a small reading light, and a little tray with business cards, highlighters, post-it notes, and other miscellaneous things like p balm and keys.

I have my iphone sitting in a small business card holder on the right beside my monitor. On the very right of my desk against the wall I have a small red drawer unit that I keep other paperwork and files, cd’s, dvd’s, pens, paper etc. On top of that, I have a small patch of fake grass (don’t ask), as well as an external hard drive that is always backing up.Everything plugs into a wall-mounted power bar just above it.

My favourite recent addition to my workspace is the vintage chalkboard with over sized paper that fits conveniently to the right of my desk, and provides the perfect space to do my initial wire framing sketches. This was given to us by friends that were moving, and it sat in our living room for the longest time until I realised it was the perfect wire framing tool!

And of course, there’s usually a kitty laying comfortably behind that monitor on the window ledge, basking in the heat from the heater below (guess he’s feeling camera shy…)

Work space of freelance designer: Thomas Bishop – Thomas Bishop

My name is Thomas Bishop, and I’m a UI/Web Designer as well as a front-end and WP developer based out of Appleton, Wisconsin, US.

I co-run a WordPress commercial theme shop called ThemeRefresh, alongside the talented Pete Bernardo of Logic By Design and also run a design and development shop called Bishop Creative.

27″ iMac w/ 22″ external display as my main workstation, a 13″ MacBook Air (2010 model) for my mobile workstation. Dropbox to keep my entire work flow synced between workstations. An Apple wireless keyboard/mouse, Wacom Bamboo Fun Pen & Touch, iPhone 4 and iPad 3G for “device testing” 😉

Ikea desk that all my junk sits on. A growing selection of books & my cat Roo who is actually the brains behind the operation 🙂


Work space of freelance designer: Jason Robb – jasonrobb.com

By far my favorite thing about my setup is the red potted plant. I’ve got to have something alive and green nearby since I spend most of my time staring into a lifeless screen. I’m exaggerating a little, but having something that needs more than electricity helps keep me feeling human. The art surrounding my desk is important to me too. It reminds me of my roots and contrasts with the digital things I create. Lastly I’ll note the decent chair, a fairly clean desk, and okay lighting. Having the best stuff isn’t so important. Having stuff around you that won’t consume your focus is more important.

Work space of freelance designer: Ryan Dowie – ryandownie.com

My set up, Macbook Pro 13″, Samsung T260 monitor. Couple of external drives for backup and media centre for home network.

Few recent books and magazines on top of files. Hardboiled, Web Designers Idea Book, .net magazines, 8faces and a few others.

Work space of freelance designer: Michiel De Graaf – michieldegraaf.com

Desk description from left to right. My MacBook pro 15-inch antiglare, coffee, Logitech Z Cinema surround sound system. Samsung Syncmaster XL2370 monitor. An Apple wireless keyboard, Apple Magic mouse. PS3 controller (PS3 is underneath the desk). Panasonic RP-HTX7 headset, iPad 3g 32gb, iPhone 4 16gb and a Moleskine & Artline 0.8 fineliner.

I Also have an antique desk and a Retro Godzilla poster.

Work space of freelance designer: Kristian Hjelle – hypercreative

I’m on a (crappy) 22″ ASUS monitor at the moment — but it will be switched out with a 27″ Apple Cinema Display soon though. Behind the monitor I’ve hidden 2 external hard-drives and an USB-hub. I take the Mac with me a lot (school/work), so having the Rain Design mStand keep all my cables in place is a true blessing. It also helps keep my Mac chilled. I recently bought the Logitech Performance MX mouse (was using the Magic Mouse before), it’s really comfortable and it tracks very smoothly.

I’m trying to get used to using the Wacom Intuos4 in my design workflow, but I’m more comfortable with a mouse. For illustration work/sketching it’s really awesome though. The Mac is a 1 1/2 year old 13.3″ MacBook Pro upgraded with a 120GB SSD and 8GB of RAM.

Work space of freelance designer: Vin Thomas – vintom.com

My trusty 15″ Macbook Pro is powering the whole operation (upgraded to 750GB Hard-Drive and 8GB RAM). I’m rocking a 27″ Apple Cinema Display as my main monitor. I use a Wacom Intuos 3 tablet for everything (not just design).

I type on the somewhat buggy Apple Bluetooth keyboard; and I sit in an insanely comfortable Herman Miller Equa XR chair (seriously, invest in a good chair).

Work space of freelance designer & illustrator: Stan Grinapol – scribbleandtweak.com

My main tool on my desk is MacBook Pro, to the right of it I have my Cinema monitor, and in front of It I have Wacom tablet, these are all my digital tools of choice. Behind the Cinema I have Harman Kardon sticks,they already outlasted three generations of my Macs, and still going strong. To the right of my Cinema I have spools of CD’s and DVD’s, not sure why. I keep Plenty of sketchpads on hand, lined ruled for jotting down notes, and graph ruled for sketching out Ideas. I keep my pens in a jar, and my flash drives there as well. Few toys for distraction: Stickfa a fully pose-able army figure, an old russian dye cast car at-least 20 years old, still intact in the box and Playsam high lacquer polish wooden car, love those wood toys, with high gloss. I always keeps books by my hand, currently it’s Grid Systems, raster systems, by Joseph Muller Brockman.

To the right of my desk I have a side table for my printer/scanner, a tower, and an external back up drive.

For my drawing table I use a cutting mat to protect it, and the rest of the utensils range from Robbert Simmons watercolor brushes, Micron pens in various width, and various other pencils and markers. To the right of my table is a small Bisley drawer cabinet for holding my office/art/template supplies. And always plenty of Velum.

Work space of freelance designer: Remon de Vries – lemo-design.com

The luxury of being a freelancer is that you can build a office that fits your style/needs. Just take a look at my desk and who knows it will help you in making your your own place a little more fun to work at!

My workspace is simple and small because i like to have all the stuff i need within reach. I used my iMac as my main workstation and have my MacBook Pro to visit clients or do some work while being on the road. I use a TimeCapsule to backup all the data on both of my mac’s and use a Drobo to make backups of my TimeCapsule. Every month to make a total backup on my IronKey and bring it to a safety deposit box at my bank. As you can see in the picture its pretty simple and clean.

Work space of freelance web & icon designer: Stephane Reverdy – areskub.com

My workspace is one of the most overcrowded ever used by a human being.

My workstation is composed of a 27″ iMac core i7 (8gb Ram) with which I interact through an Apple keyboard (best keyboard ever made.) and a Razer ProClick mouse (which is a nice mouse but not the best from Razer). My backups and stuff are stored on 2 different LaCie external HDDs. Since I’m listening to a lot of music when I work I have an old Altec Lansing 2.1 sound system which is clearly a bad one but was cheap. I also use a Sony plug headset for when I need to really focus and/or hear music crystal clear.

I always have my iPhone 3g 8gb with me, it’s like one of the things I use the most all day long.

Now for the Miscellaneous part. There’s constantly a cup on my desktop, wether it’s full of coffee, tea or nothing. Right by my left is my watch (can’t work wearing it) hanging on my business cards box. I have a notebook to note or draw stuff, which I hardly ever do. The only books I keep at hand are HTML5 and CSS3 for designers (brilliant read) and the rules of golf. Watching me working are Arale (vinyl toy) and the Twitter Bird (Vinyl toy) as well as my skull & bone rubbers.

All of this is disposed on my cutting board. I also have a Macbookpro 15 core 2 duo for nomad purposes and that’s it.

Work space of freelance designer: Chris Wharton – 2ndfloordesigns.co.uk

On my desk I have all the usual Apple stuff any self-respecting designer should have: MacBook Pro, Wireless magic mouse and apple keyboard, iPhone and iPad.  The standard stuff: BenQ 24″ monitor, Stainless steel lamp, speakers, Belkin laptop stand and work mobile (Sony Ericsson W595 as I can use it as 3G mobile broadband which is very handy when out of the office).

Then the business related stuff: My business cards, other peoples business cards, Quarterly accounts folder, Adobe CS5 box, some random items like: Sackboy (Little Big Planet on PS3) resin doll, a Transformers themed Mr. Potato head.  Finally a picture of my 3 month old son, Coffee in a pantone mug and a pint of water.

Work space of freelance designer: Fanni Williams – fanniwilliams.com

My desk encompasses everything that inspires me. (and is constantly being rearranged and updated). From everyday objects, vintage finds to all kinds of stationary and paper postcards/illustrations I have pinned to my boards. Everything has it’s place and everything has it’s purpose.
I use my 15inch Powerbook G4 with bamboo wacom tablet for quick projects, browsing the web and blogging, but for the bulk of my design/photographic work I use the 27″ iMac which is set up as a recording studio on a separate table that I share with my singer/songwriter husband Ben Williams.

Work space of freelance designer: Andy Kleeman – theboywhocriedfox.co.uk

I work with a 13inch Macbook Pro running dual screen alongside 20inch cinema display. These share my desk with a scanner, printer and often a decoration of scrap paper containing to-do’s.

I also have a G5 powermac under my desk used for backups, music and bashing my knees.

Work space of designer: Dave Cartledge – davecartledge.com

As an incredibly unorganised person, I chose a desk with lots of storage space and force myself to keep it in order. I find that I can’t concentrate on getting work done when it’s littered with paperwork and stuff that I need to do, so setting up a well organised filing system for all my projects and accounting was one of the best things I ever did. I use a cork board to keep notes/important stuff out of the way, and an A3 pad to write todo lists, and to sketch wireframes and ideas.

Hardware wise, I recently purchased dual 23″ Dell monitors, which have undoubtedly improved my productivity having moved from a single widescreen 20″ monitor – I cannot recommend dual monitors highly enough!


Freelance Hobbyists

Work space of freelance designer: Graeme Metcalf – grabbins.com

I primarily use a 24″ iMac to do all my design and Illustration work on as I find the large display and colour accuracy is ideal for both print and web projects. Along with Photoshop and Illustrator I use a Wacom Intuos 4 tablet for colouring and adding texture. My illustrations are always draw by hand first with a Rotring technical pencil and an A3 layout pad.

I use a Canon Lide 100 scanner to get my Illustrations onto the computer which is ideal as it allows for a high resolution scan so I don’t lose any detail. As as freelancer I also find it very handy to have a MacBook which I can use in meetings and to display my portfolio work when I’m out and about.

Work space of freelance designer: Alan Horne – alan-horne.com

24″ LCD & 21″ LCD Desktop.
I had been using a 2 screen set-up in work and found when I got round to a new computer that I couldn’t go back to working on the one screen. It makes life so much easier when you can see 2 things at once, it really helps me be more productive.

I had hoped to go for a Mac, but found it a little too expensive at at the time being.

Small Wacom Graphics Tablet, I have been trying more and more to get into illustration and this has been great. Took a while to get used too, but really enjoy working with it. Pencil Sharpener pen holder, adding a little funk to the desktop with a cool way to hold my pencils and pens etc. Lamp, I like working in the dark, but not pitch black, so I have a little lamp set up behind my screens facing the ceiling to add a little light to my workspace.

Sketch pad, great for quickly doing wireframes while on the phone with clients, this way I have reference for when I create wireframes for the client on Photoshop, it really quickens up my process. Note Pad, just like the sketch pad, great for taking notes before I send over confirmation of information to clients.

Headphones, got myself some some headphones with a mic, great for Skype calls with clients as this free’s up you hands to do what they need to do. My collection of light sabers and Star Wars stuff as well as Muppets teddies haha. A little light relief for the desktop, every good designer needs inspiration etc, I tend to get it from things I loved as a kid, Star Wars being the main thing, as well as the Muppets. Every time I go to Florida on holiday I get myself some more little things to add to my collection, so I’m hoping to add some more on my holiday this July.

Work space of UX designer: Michael Wilson – d-lists.co.uk

I’m a bit of a neat freak so everything has it’s exact place in my workspace. I have some art by ISO50 and Jon Burgerman in front of me to get my creative juices flowing. On the wall to my right I have some WordPress help sheets for those times when I can’t remember the short codes.

I recently worked on a project for a blog that wrote about LEGO, so I bought myself a whole bunch of it to get myself in the right frame of mind for the design phase, so there’s why I have the LEGO models in between my screens (and because LEGO is awesome!)

I’ve got a box of Johnnie Walker Black Label on my desk as well because not only do I love the drink, I think the box and bottle is so beautifully designed that I keep it there to inspire me.

There’s also a pack of Toy Story top trumps on my desk just in case someone challenges me to a duel!

The final non-hardware item on my desk is my trusty layout pad. This is where I iterate all of my wireframes, every design I produce begins life as a rough sketch in this pad. I have an iPad, which I use to keep up to date with all of my news and books, it’s also great as a research tool as I test out numerous UI’s on it.

Then there’s my beloved MacBook pro, which is only a few months old and runs like a dream. I have it hooked up to a lovely little Samsung 22″ screen, which is perfect for my needs. I’d also like to pay a special mention to my Logitech speakers. I only paid £35 for them but the sound they produce is amazing! I always listen to music when I work and they really smash out my music really well!

Work space of designer: Hillary Hopper – hillaryhopper.com

I like keeping my desk clean and minimal. I work on a 24′ iMac. I love collecting the miniature Madame Alexander dolls, Little Red Riding Hood and Prince Charming. I have one one of memory sticks plugged into my keyboard where I keep a lot of extra design files. I always have my coffee mug with me wherever I go. Though I am more of a tea drinker.