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Day of the Designer: Simon Birky Hartmann

Editor's note: This is the first in an interview series called Day of the Designer, where we'll have a designer cover the basics of one of their works days. They can include pictures and screenshots of their day, share workflow tips, describe how they promote themselves and utilize social sites, and cover what programs they use throughout their workday. If you're a designer that's interested in being featured here, leave me a comment or shoot me an email. Thanks!

A day at Studio Ace of Spade

Hello there. I'm Simon, one of the two partners and designers at Studio Ace of Spade ( asked me to summarize a day of work at Studio Ace of Spade for you, along with the apps, softwares, web services and websites I use. This day isn't necessarily all that typical, but hey, what are you gonna do.


Between 8:30 and 9:30 AM
Coming in at the office. We have an office at The Bricolage, which is a shared office space for individuals and small businesses in downtown Goshen, IN. ( To kickoff the day, we typically chat a bit about what's going on for each other and grab a coffee. Or two. Or more.

9:30 AM
Email checking, turning Pandora ( or the music on the computer or iPad on, checking on Dribbble, DeviantArt, Behance and other design related websites (resources scouting on Lost and Taken, Bittbox, Dafont…). The Studio does the community management for Go Media (their facebook, DeviantArt and blog, the GoMediaZine), so I also check these profiles and answer to comments, forwards messages if need to be, etc.

For Go Media:

I use Firefox ( as my main browser and Seesmic Desktop as my twitter client (


11:00 AM
Today's project (when I was taking notes for this) is a small portfolio document to show our potential clients. No surprises here if I tell you that my predilection tools to mock it up and prepare the page template are from the Adobe Creative Suite: Photoshop and Illustrator CS5. I know I should use InDesign because it's a multipage document, but here's a confidence: I hate it.

Since Jon, my studio partner is taking some time with his family back in lovely Ohio after graduating, we've been working “remotely” for the best part of the summer so far. So we're also making an intensive use of Dropbox ( – yes, that's my referral link) and Google Docs.

12:00 AM -ish
Lunch break!

Then, another round of email, Dribbble, Facebook, etc keeping up. Also, time to read the news. To do so, sometimes I use Google News but I mostly read the news from back home (France) through the website of 20Minutes, a free French newspaper ( I also follow a couple of news-related twitter handles (@20Minutes, @cnnbrk, @cnn, @washingtonpost etc)

1:00 PM -ish
Back to work! And the process is sensibly the same than in the morning.

We also check our store 13 Spade ( at (ir)regular intervals to make sure we're not missing on an order or something.

Between 5 and 6:00 PM, sometimes later
Time to go home! I do like to work late at night, because there's nothing else to distract you and it's quiet and all, but

  1. I'm married and love to spend time with my wife and our (dumb albeit cute) dog
  2. College is over, and I'd love to keep a certain health
  3. I believe that having more or less firm “office hours” helps to keep focused on your work
  4. There's no way I'm taking work home. I sweat enough during the day to have a break after a long day
  5. Home is to recharge your batteries at the end of the day. A cold beer can help

I mean, personal projects (like Project 52 – would be done mostly after hours and/or on weekends, but that doesn't count. I will however usually take a sketchbook home just in case, and the iPad with the sketchbook app to play with. But that's it.

I also took photos of my desk and of our workspace for you to admire. I also included a picture of our cute (albeit dumb) dog for you to aww at it.



I'm the editor-in-chief of I'm a designer and developer by day, and a writer and musician when the feeling strikes. I enjoy vintage advertisements and puzzles with an absurd amount of pieces. Follow me on Twitter.

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