Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Five Design Tools I Cannot Live Without!

They seem mundane, I know…but these five things are really life savers.

1. A great paper trimmer. No, really. This little gem came into my life during an unfortunate scrapbooking period in collage and literally saved my life in design school. Cuts anything into perfect squares and rectangles in seconds and stays sharp almost forever. I use it for client presentations boards and almost daily at the store for on the fly signage. I love the CARL RBT 12 Paper Trimmer the most, but many work well.

2. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. The day before SITE’s one year anniversary, I had a mini mental breakdown- I had intended to repaint and patch any damage done in our first 365, but simply ran out of time. A customer suggested that this so-called magical eraser would take away scuffs from our pristine white paint, and low-and-behold….it really did!! Now I use it all the time- client installs (they never end without something getting scuffed) and nearly daily at SITE. Works like a dream on vintage furniture- especially laminates and plastics. Word.

3. Photoshop. Not a day goes by that I don’t use it. Nowadays, I can’t be bothered with big client boards, so I just Photoshop great composition images and clients love them- an easy 8x10. SITE’s website (and this blog!) see a lot of photoshop action, too. Someday I’ll learn Illustrator too, but for now Photoshop is enough.

4. Cheap-o White Staples Binders. I’m not an organized person. It’s true. Em, Trixie they both know it. I still remember the day Em forced us to clean our shared office- it hurt. But give me a clean white binder, some plastic sleaves and the promise of organization, and I’m off to the races. Trixie got me all set up with what we now call ‘The White Binder System’ so really, its her have to thank. I now use the same system to organize all client items- paint samples, pictures, billing and invoices, etc.

5. Blue Tape. It’s a designer staple, and now I know why. I use it all the time for clients- your mirror will go here, the cabinet should be shortened this much, the lights should be placed here. In addition we all know it makes great paint sample stick up and neat corners on messy paint jobs.

What are the design helpers and tricks you cannot live without!?


Kelly of The Vintage Butterfly Boutique said...

"Works like a dream on vintage furniture- especially laminates and plastics."

Oooo, thanks for that tip!

emily said...

Seriously, I am v excited about this new tool. I have a similar list of five: white binders- check (although I only use p touch labels), paper cutter - check, but add P-touch (for presentation boards, binders, clipboards), clipboards (one for each client where all paperwork goes that is not yet a PO, incl. quote requests and images) and thousands and thousands of plastic sleeves from Staples (each PO is placed in project binder in sleeve, with image of object / fabric samples on front, sketches on reverse, red "tag sale" round sticker in upper right corner if items has been installed). Binder comes on all installs, then later serves as "spec book" for reference should something need to be replaced. And, OMG, we both should have mentioned DIGICAM!

Le Owner said...

I think that the digicam is so much a staple of design, it would be like me adding the BM paint deck to my list of design tools. Usefull, of course! But everyone uses 'em so why even bother to mention it!