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24 Designers Show Off Their Actual Workspaces Without Cleaning Them First!

Kelley Johnson March 31, 2021 · 7 min read
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Inspirational office round-ups are great (in fact, we posted one a few months back). Round-ups like these can help us gather ideas when we’re planning a workspace update. Still, sometimes the spaces shown in these kinds of articles are missing… reality. Often the offices included feel staged and a little too perfect. As a result, while they may be inspiring, they can sometimes feel intimidating.

If you’ve ever seen an office round-up and thought, “How does anyone get any work done there?!” or “Haha! Yeah, right, my office isn’t that tidy on the best of days!” Then this #RealCreativeSpaces roundup is for you. I talked to members of the Creative Market community and asked them to share their creative work spaces with us. Folks were asked to share photos of what their spaces really look like on a day-to-day basis when they’re working in them, not how they look at their very best, five seconds after a major cleaning and organization overhaul. Many members of the community were happy to give us a sneak peek into their world, their real wold.

Ksenia Yusupova

It’s no wonder Ksenia is always releasing sweet, playful illustrations in her shop; her work space is practically overflowing in inspiration and twinkle lights. What a magical space to work from!

KseniaYusupova

Nicky Laatz

Nicky has definitely made her space her own, showing off her love of yorkies, the color pink, and pens of all kinds (you can never have too many right pens right?).

NickyLaatz

Digital Infusion

The clean, minimal style you see in Digital Infusion’s products are definitely mirrored in this office. The addition of a few knickknacks and adorable baby photos help to keep the space feeling real and homey.

DigitalInfusion

Joanne Marie

Joanne loves creating fonts, and in her organized office with multiple work surfaces, you know she can really get work done!

PhotographyLogos

MarkieAnn Packer

MarkieAnn’s office is bright, cheery, and neatly houses all of the gadgets and tools she needs for her design work. All that, and there’s still room for her feline friends.

MarkieAnn-Workspace

Noah Stokes

Creative Market team member Noah Stokes works remotely from San Luis Obispo, CA. He shared a quick snapshot of the lounge area in his shared office space. It’s always nice to have an area to relax in when you need a little break.

Noah

Brian Hermelijn

We’re so glad Brian took a moment to snap a photo of his space. Brian has said that his goal is to “create design resources that solves people’s problems,” and it’s clear that the tools he needs to meet that goal are front and center in his work space.

BrianHermelijn

Rob Brink

If you were to look at the products Rob creates, and image what his workspace might be like, your imagination would likely come pretty close to the reality of the photo Rob shared. Like Rob’s designs, his space seems to perfectly balance industrial and vintage vibes, while still feeling clean, fresh, and fun.

RobBrink

Skyla Design

Skyla Design shared this detail shot of the sun coming up in her attic workspace. In case mentioning the word, “attic” brought cobwebs and cardboard boxes to your mind, you’ve got to check out a full shot of the office on Skyla’s Instagram.

SkylaDesign

Mircea Bucsa

Grab a comfy chair, a good view, and a few friendly desk buddies and Mircea is ready to start getting work done.

MirceaBucsa

Studio M18

It’s clear that this space has been intentionally designed (hello beautiful mid-century inspired furnishings), but it’s also obvious that Studio M18 is not afraid to be in the space and get things done. The printer is out in the open where it can be easily accessed, the books on the shelves are arranged in such a way that they look like they’re actually read, and there is a guitar sitting in the corner just waiting for a jam session.

StudioM18

Nicole Mauloni

Without a doubt, Nicole loves to be inspired while she works. Inspired, and well caffeinated (extra points for a tea pot, tea cup, AND a tea saucer! Now that’s a woman who is serious about tea!).

NicoleMauloni

Vadim Scherbakov

Vadim’s space is beautiful! Exposed brick, natural light, earthy textures, and industrial pieces abound! Still, he’s got plenty of space for storage and a few boxes for anything that he doesn’t necessarily need every day or want on display.

VadimSherbakov

Liz Plummer

Liz is a mixed media artist and surface pattern designer in South Wales. She shared what her work space looks like after a printing session, and it’s pretty relatable. Sometimes inspiration (or deadlines) strike, and every flat surface becomes fair game! LizPlummer

Feather & Sage Design Co

Olli, the designer behind Feather & Sage Design Co, uses this space to paint, ink, sketch, and take photos. It’s full to the brim with her mood board, inspiring prints, and of course a little minion. FeatherSageDesignCo

Kelley Johnson

Since I put the call out for our community to share their work areas, I decided it was only fair for me to join in. My husband Josh and I both work remotely for Creative Market from our Apartment in Phoenix, AZ. We’ve got a dedicated office with our own desks (I even have a fun treadmill desk), but in real life we end up working from all over the apartment. Most days we’ll start work from our bedroom, move over to the dining room table (seen below), then transition to the office, and at some point end up working from the couch. It’s like a game of musical chairs around here (and we’ve got laptop power chords strewn all over the place as a result).

KelleyJohnson

Mcraft

Mcraft’s bright, airy space keeps his work the focal point.

Mcraft

Bernd Vonau

Bernd Vonau is a photographer who was inspired to start creating fonts after seeing all of the amazing font shops here on Creative Market. His workspace is a sweet spot under and a bright window, where he keeps all of his font making supplies within arms reach.

BerndVonau

Riccardo Anelli

You can find graphics, add-ons, photos, and more in Riccardo’s Creative Market shop, and most of the work that goes into those products happens right here at this work station. RiccardoAnelli

Julien Idvisionstudio

Julien, of ID Vision Studio, says he spends about half of his time in this work station, and the other half at a separate standup desk. JulienIdvisionstudio

Alaina Jensen

Alaina Jensen is the designer behind Studio Denmark. She recently moved, and her new garden studio looks like something out of a fairytale! AlainaJensen

Hannah Hathaway

Hannah’s workspace is all bright whites and natural tones. Oh, and she fully admits to having a pretty serious love of baskets. Bring on the extra storage space! HannahHathaway

Fis Ihsani

Fis is an editorial and print designer. His desk is full of plenty of tools to help him get his work done, as well as a little toy car to keep things fun. FisIhsani

Dan Crask

Dan, the creative director and co-founder if Brand Shepherd, has a desk that features a growing collection of R2D2 and BB8 toys, an 80s toy from the series MASK, and a Blue Yeti. And of course, he always has a blank paper binder and pencil nearby.

DanCrask

Share Your Space

Now it’s your turn! Are you brave enough to share your real workspace as it is right now? If so, head over to the social media channel of your choice, post a photo of your creative work space, and tag it with #RealCreativeSpaces. Let’s show the world what real offices, work nooks, and desks look like for creative professionals!


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Kelley Johnson

I’m an ex-schoolmarm who is excited about all things creative. Photography makes me smile and when I find a new-to-me dress that fits just right, it makes my day.

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44 Comments
  • Unbelievable boring to be honest. One hipster bureau follows the other...nothing that really makes me feel that there is an outstanding creative workin... neat places to be honest, but yeahh ...just like the office of my girlfriend...expected something outstanding. 6 years ago
  • That was a big negative @Robin Metz! I don't think it was supposed to be outstanding, but just to show the huge variety of designers here on Creative Market. We all have such different workplaces, inspirations and tools to create our products, but we're still a part of the same great community. Also, it shows you don't need a huge flashy office to create an awesome digital product - just something as simple as a pen, computer, and a great idea. That's the beauty of it. I thought it was a really insightful window into the life of a designer - great post! :) 6 years ago
  • @Sam Parrett Well of course it´s not that you need a super flashy office or something special to make great art, but the title (...without cleaning) gives me the feeling of a astonishing creative session that ended in some kind of creative mess and not of scrolling through pictures that look unbelievable stock-photoesque. (https://d3ui957tjb5bqd.cloudfront.net/uploads/2016/05/HannahHathaway.jpg for example) I like most of the bureaus but it´s (maybe just to me) a super unpersonal collection of desks. Don´t they have any funny gadgets or stuff? Most of them just have their keyboard and mouse... If i take a look around, there are 10 desks here in my office that are 100 times more interesting, with photos etc. that´s what I expected to see here. 6 years ago
  • Fun! I kind-of-cheated and posted my #realcreativespaces before fully diving in for the day... yes I tidy up at the end of my work day (even if it's 3am!) I am one of those weird types where my left and right brain are always at war - scatterbrain artist with OCD. 6 years ago
  • You TOTALLY hit the nail on the head @Sam Parrett! This post is all about real life. What's messy to some people may look super neat and tidy to others. One person's "fancy new office" is another person, "plain Jane workspace." What's really great is having the chance to see what's real for each individual, without feeling the need to impress anyone or set up a facade. @Robin Metz, you should share your space! It sounds like you're a lover of gadgets and eccentricities. I bet your workspace is really fun! @Amy Garcia, your space is great! I love that you were willing to share it with your daughter this weekend too. Oh, and I WISH I was diligent enough to tidy up my office at the end of each day 🙈 6 years ago
  • This is so awesome and fascinating to see :) LOVE how everyone has a different space that reflects their personality. 6 years ago
  • These photos were taken after no major tidy up!? Sheesh, I need to go and sort out my desk ;) Some nice furniture in this post! 6 years ago
  • Anonymous
    I am not gonna go in to the discussion on "what should have been in this article", rather thank you for featuring me and the goal. Double the pressure to get things out there now, ha. Which is a good thing. And great to get a sneak peak again of everyone's work space in 1 post. 6 years ago
  • Love it! Its so amazing to be able to work from home, and being able to see a sneak peak into all these amazing creative's spaces is so encouraging and empowering. Like there are real people just like me doing this awesome stuff! And @Robin Metz What's wrong with a tidy artist space? I can reassure you that my space is usually a pile of watercolors on my desk and toys all over the floor (thanks to my 4 and 1 year old assistants), but I try to keep everything organized because it keeps me more productive & creative. It just happened to look less chaotic when I took the picture. ;) 6 years ago
  • Haha! @Gemma Garner isn't it funny how everyone else's "normal" or even "messy" looks totally fine to us, but as soon as we see just a few things out of place in our own homes/offices we feel like it's a pigsty?! I know I'm totally like that! This was a nice chance to be able to see real life though and check myself. When I shared the photo above of my space, I honestly was embarrassed because I thought it was REALLY messy. Looking back now though, and looking at it next to everyone else's it seems pretty normal. Maybe a little mess is okay... Now if I could just find a similar excuse for my laundry pile 🙈 6 years ago
  • @Kelley Johnson Every single space looks cool! Thanks for featuring my desk. 6 years ago
  • @Brian Hermelijn I love your little space! It makes me smile every time I see it :-) 6 years ago
  • There's definitely nothing wrong with tidy @Hannah Hathaway 😃 I think your space is lovely! And it's totally normal to have seasons (or days/hours) of chaos and seasons of organization. I think lots of creative people go through that progression artistically, so it totally makes sense that our spaces would reflect that. 6 years ago
  • So true @Kelley Johnson - sometimes (like today for me ;) ) everything is upside down. Creativity comes in waves of sleepless nights, messy unwashed hair. I love seeing the real spaces though- as an artist, beauty is something I value in my home, not just in my work. @Nickylaatz Love seeing your space- I mean, you are one of my heroes, so it's encouraging to see you are human too! LOL! 6 years ago
  • Loved this post! It's quite refreshing to see behind the scene images of 'real life' work spaces. Enjoyed seeing everyone's personality shine through, including a few toys, and pets in the mix. Thanks @Kelley Johnson for including my work space!!! ;) 6 years ago
  • Thanks for featuring my studio too - now THAT's messy ! 6 years ago
  • My cat will be so proud he got onto the Creative Market blog! Great post! @Kelley Johnson 6 years ago
  • W-O-W-! I am mentioned in a blog post! Thanks again @Kelley Johnson! I don't want to displease somebody of you, guys... but for me @Vadim Sherbakov wins! :p 6 years ago
  • Sweet! Thanks! 6 years ago
  • Haha, so glad you made this. Very cool. 6 years ago
  • Anonymous
    @Joanne Hewitt Thank you very much :)! @Riccardo Anelli Haha. That's okay, my small work space falls short compare to the other guys, but we all start somewhere right :D 6 years ago
  • This is so cool, I love seeing everyone's spaces! Just realized mine is the only "exterior" shot, sorry I didn't show the inside! We have just finished banishing the spiders (ivy = spiders, eek!) and setting up the computer desk, still working on the art desk. Anyway this is a super fun and inspiring post, thanks a bunch @Kelley Johnson! 6 years ago
  • @Brian Hermelijn :) 6 years ago
  • Nice to feel a sense of community in our little studios dotted around the globe :) 6 years ago
  • Intensely love this. My workspace has been in flux for almost a year now - I'm glad I'm not the only person who works near clutter (even if it's not my forte). 6 years ago
  • Without cleaning up?? I'm finding that very hard to believe LOL! A creative studio simply HAS to be messy - I cannot imagine working on something creatively and have a clean desk LOL 5 years ago
  • Smashing. As much i try to keep my desk nice and organized is just never work haha so i give up. Favour moment is when i find my daughter sitting on top of the printer i have under my desk. 5 years ago
  • I am in the minority, I guess. I have a messy desk and no Mac in sight. Two mis-matched monitors and lots of post-it notes with clients' website passwords written on them. Can I use that as an excuse for not sharing? I really wanna know how many people cheated and cleaned up first (and a few did cheat by showing the outside of the building or an adjacent sitting room :-). I enjoyed looking at these. 5 years ago
  • Loved this! I'm not an artist myself but I find it fascinating to see how others work and under what conditions. My emotional reaction to some of the photos made me realize that neatness doesn't always count (I try, but fail, at being neat myself), that animals matter and that aqua is my favorite color (I smile whenever or wherever I see it) and that Danish cottage? My God, I could live there! Well done! 5 years ago
  • Perfect!) 5 years ago
  • Love it all :D 5 years ago
  • We need more of this. It`s awesome to get to know the person better, to see where and how they work. Awesome post :) 5 years ago
  • I could only dream of my workspace being as organized as these. I love these! 5 years ago
  • You should see my desk right now. On its cleanest day it looks nothing like the messiest desk in these pics. I have speakers and monitors and routers and pens (btw, if that pen collection was enough to mention, should I send you a pic of mine? lol) and knickknacks and books and journals and even a Cylon figurine, some glow in the dark dinosaurs and a Leatherface plushie. 5 years ago
  • I've expected to see more mess....I'm a little disappointed :-) 5 years ago
  • Sometimes I think I'd like to make more tangible work with paint and pens, then I see the mess that invariably ensues from non digital work and... *heart palpatations* I'm a neat freak (not minimal, I'm surrounded by my geeky collection cases), but my desk is pretty much just devices and a notebook. I love other people's messy work stations though, especailly @Liz Plummer's! 5 years ago
  • Thanks @Nat Alt ! Give it a go, it is totally possible to have fun with pens and paint and keep it reasonably tidy! I once went to a dyeing workshop where the teacher did dyeing of small pieces of fabric in plastic bags and was amazed at how controlled she kept it... My tolerance of mess is just pretty high, that's all! 5 years ago
  • Anonymous
    These were fun to view. I don't feel so sad about my own space at home! It's not a sad space, but working from home all the time can make you feel isolated and alone. Peeking into the world of others that WFH made me feel like I still belonged to a little club :) Plus, it was nice to see you subtly highlight (probably not on purpose, but still...) that not ALL designers use Macs. Some of us use Windows machines and still produce fantastic design work. It's a myth that Macs are the only thing we "should" use. Personally, I can't afford to drop nearly 3K on a laptop when my desktop, laptop and (yes, Apple) tablets work perfectly for me. 5 years ago
  • Love this!! It's so interesting to see CM sellers' workspace. How different we can be at work, but how many things we must have in common :) 4 years ago
  • . . ★ . . :: sweet . . love seeing how others decorate their creative spaces . . mine is also surrounded by shelves filled with my treasured collectibles + prints of my own photography and favourite crystals + poetry and books from around the world on my travels . . things I enjoy looking at while I'm working . . love the adorable cottage . . such a sweet space :))) :: . . ★ . . 4 years ago
  • Very cool to see it! 4 years ago
  • Sorry, I don't believe for one minute that none of these spaces, with the exception of Liz's, wasn't cleaned and decluttered prior to photographing. I don't know ANY artistic people who are this anal retentive. 4 years ago
  • This is such a fun post! It makes this feel more like a real community... seeing real spaces where everyone works. I'm packing up my studio right now to move to Philly and am excited to eventually have a new studio space to work... so it was timely for me! 4 years ago
  • Nice! These ideas can help make the office more practical and employee-friendly. I ordered office furniture from https://officefurnitureonline.com . I really liked their furniture. 10 months ago