Behind Every Great Designer, There is a Great Desk!

One of the great things about working for a 100% distributed company like Automattic is the freedom to choose where you do your work. Whether working from a home office, living room, coffee shop, or coworking space (maybe less-so in this post-COVID world), everyone has their own setup to keep them productive and inspired.

I always love to see others’ desks, the reverse angle from what colleagues typically see in Zoom. From large monitors to laptop screens, dining rooms to converted garden sheds, here’s what some of the workspaces of Automattic designers look like.

Rick Banister, Head of Design,
Lynn Collette, Design Director,

My productivity is driven by a tidy desk, noise-canceling headphones, snacks and coffee, a Switch for quick brain escapes, and a couple helpful reminders on the wall. 🙂

Dave Martin, Manage Group Lead,
David Levin, Product Design, WooCommerce
Mike Shelton, Designer Experience Team, Automattic

I like to change up my environment often so I set my office up to be flexible. I have picture ledges to change out the things that inspire me. I also have multiple “background” spots in my office so I can rotate my desk when I need a change of pace.

Zé Marques, Design Director, WooCommerce

Music has a lot of influence in my productivity, so I always have music playing when I’m not in calls. Next to my desk I have a lounge area where I escape to play video games.

Matt Miklic, Design Director, Apps Division

My essential workspace items: Water, iPad and Apple Pencil for sketching ideas, AirPods Pro for good Zoom audio, and my Logitech 4k Pro webcam for good Zoom video. Sonos for keeping the energy going. Artwork courtesy of the dumpster in the freshmen dorm at SCAD circa 2000.

Jeffrey Zeldman, Principal Designer, Automattic

Zeldman home studio desk at edge of living room. In shelving unit built into wall. With Tulip chair and iMac. Pardon the mess, we’re in lockdown.

I face a wall. The location doesn’t stimulate creativity. But the chair is comfortable—much more so than the Herman Miller AERO ergonomic chairs I had in my studio.z office space! And that Tribit speaker with extra bass and 360º sound pumps music most of my work day that definitely inspires me and gives me energy. Also, a few steps away from this little setup, I have my espresso maker, and the Fridge where I keep water, Smart Water, and Diet Coke. So although I’m squished into a small space, it’s easy to zone in and concentrate on work for hours at a time … and it’s also easy to get up, make an espresso, walk around the apartment, check on my kid, pet the cats … all of which grounds me, keeping me serene and peaceful, in which state it is easy for me to be creative.

Elizabeth Pizzuti, Product design, WooCommerce

Needed for working: Water, two notebooks for writing and sketching, and noise cancelling headphones. I like having my colored pencils and watercolor nearby for relaxing the mind a bit, and always popcorn (not pictured because I ate it.)

Filipe Varela, Product Design, Jetpack
Caroline Moore, Frontend Engineer,

Must-haves: A thermos of coffee (iced, please), photographs of good times, lots of color, and a window for daydreaming when my eyes need a break.

Andrei Slobtsov, Brand and Marketing, WooCommerce

Must-haves: ergonomic chair, notebook for notes and sketching, water and coffee!

Jeff Golenski, Product Designer, Jetpack

For me, a de-cluttered workspace keeps my brain de-cluttered. The aquascape I’ve built allows me to zone out and appreciate the beauty of nature throughout the day without having to leave my home. Multiple designated displays work really well for me as well.

Thomas Bishop, Product Designer, Mobile Apps
Dan Hauk, Product Designer, WooCommerce

A relatively tidy desk, though sometimes hard to maintain, helps keep me focused. My over-ear studio headphones are a must to block out the extra noise now that the kids aren’t in school. The tactile experience of using old school pens and paper for sketching and writing notes lets me explore ideas quickly.

Kjell Reigstad, Theme Design

I have a (great) desk, and I work there every afternoon. But in the morning, I try to start my day outside the home. This hasn’t always been possible throughout the pandemic, but on nice days I’ve been heading out early to this waterfall nearby. The sun, the air, and the white noise of the water leave me feeling calm and ready to dive into the day.

Ola Olusoga, Design Director,

I have a habit of buying like 10 books (or more) on topic(s) I want to understand better. I read like 2-3 of the books, and promise myself I will finish all 😆. I have the insulated water bottle with me everywhere I go, mostly.

Joen Asmussen, Product Designer, Team Tinker

We renovated our shack in the garden, which is now our shack and my office.

For even more, be sure to check out Automattic’s Office Today photo blog to see where Automatticians from around the world are working. And if you’d like to add your workspace to the growing list of designers, we’re hiring!

By Dan Hauk

Product designer at Automattic / WooCommerce, husband, father. Guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter in various music projects.