Setting up a home office for anyone with little available space is challenging enough, even when all you do is sit a computer on a desk. Graphic designers, however, often have particular challenges. They probably aren’t earning loads of cash when they start out, so they can’t afford massive flats with plenty of space. They often need more equipment that is more powerful and larger than the average personal computer. Vertical tower cases to store the huge amounts of memory needed to run many applications at once, massive widescreen monitors that are specially colour calibrated and the many non-digital tools, like graph paper and graphical scalpels, often take up much more space, quickly filling the little work area available.
So what is a graphic designer setting up a home office to do? Luckily, with a little creativity, graphic designers can set up productive work spaces, no matter how small their living space.
1. Pick Your Area, and Start Planning:
It may seem like there is no available space in a tiny flat, but with a little ingenuity, people have managed to put fully functional offices in the smallest of crevices. A quick look online shows people putting offices under staircases, in closets and even in hidden panels. Most likely, however, a graphic designer just starting to work from home will need to set up in a part of the house that doesn’t require extensive remodelling work to make it an office. Which is why most home offices are on a desk or table that is squeezed in a corner somewhere.
The most important thing to consider at this point is how to make the office look good with the rest of the room. Just cramming an old desk in a bleak corner can be a great way to make someone as visually inclined as a graphic designer procrastinate and avoid doing work. This is obviously not a desirable thing when working from home, since getting out of pyjamas and turning off daytime television is already a challenge.
Figure out where to put things like shelves, which will mark out the office from the rest of the room and will give the area some much-needed extra storage space.
2. Think About What You Really Actually Need to Get the Job Done:
It might be tempting to get a huge magnetic memo board or a space hopper in the name of inspiration, but when space is at a premium, those items that are not absolutely essential need to be left out of the plan.
What sort of things do graphic designers really need? First on the list is the computer and monitor, obviously. A notepad for taking notes during client calls and doodling when inspiration is needed is important, too. Office supplies like pens and sticky notes are crucial. If space really is that limited, cutting out everything that isn’t used every single day might be the best route to take. And should the time come that you need to print something, you can go to an internet café or an office supply store like Staples, where they will print off documents for a small fee.
3. Try to Make Your Devices as Multipurpose and Compact as Possible:
Should the need to print things arise very often, there is always the all-in-one printer/scanner. They are pretty cheap these days, and though they are bulky, they are smaller than one printer and one scanner sitting on a desk.
Similarly, a small set of speakers for an MP3 player can allow someone to listen to music whilst also charging their player, eliminating the need for a charger that takes up a socket when in use and requires storage when not in use.
Keeping things as digital as possible also saves some space. Using online organisers like Evernoteor Google Calendar allows people to stay completely up-to-date, wherever they are, without the need for paper-based calendars, loads of notepads and putting sticky note reminders everywhere.
4. What Space-Saving Furniture Can You Use?
Desks are the foundation of a home office, so try to find one that has clean lines to keep the space from feeling cluttered, or one that attaches to the wall and can be folded away when not in use.
Furniture for storage is a great way to make the most of a small space. Filing cabinets are great for storing papers, but ones with larger drawers can also hide away things that aren’t used as often. Things can be placed on top of the filing cabinet, providing it’s strong and sturdy enough to manage the weight, and filing cabinets themselves can often be tucked under a desk or rolled into a closet, leaving more floor space open.
There are more ways to make every inch of available space pull double duty, like lamps that have storage for office supplies built in – and believe it or not, some of them actually look nice. Making sure every item in an office is useful in more than one way is absolutely crucial.
5. Now, Make it Look Nice:
As mentioned above, an ugly work space will not encourage visually orientated people to work, so personal touches must always be incorporated. After all, there is always space for a piece that truly inspires creativity.
[Pictures purchased from Fotolia]