Uses This

Interview

What do people use to get stuff done?

Allie Ghaman

Allie Ghaman

Art director (Sunday Style, The Washington Post)

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Allie Ghaman and I'm the art director of the Sunday Style section of The Washington Post. The section is a weekly tabloid that encompasses various features, media, entertainment and pop culture coverage.

What hardware do you use?

I alternately use a Mac and PC at work. The Mac's a Mac Pro (one generation old, I believe.) The PC's a Dell Optiplex 755. They share a HP LP2475w monitor, which I keep vertical at 1200 x 1920. This tends to weird out passerby but it's a great setup for working on tabloid pages and having a bit of space at the bottom for my toolbars.

A fair bit of The Post's proprietary software is IE-based, so I use my PC about 60% of the time. (More on this in the software question.) After I got over my initial instinctive disdain for the PC, it turned out to work out just fine. I use my Mac for all my design-intensive work and my PC for intraoffice communication, templated layouts, etc.

Not sure if this counts as hardware, but I really love my desk. It's part of a 4 person pod with shallow cubicle walls and has a button you can press to raise or lower it. I've been enjoying using a standing desk (and have slowly been starting a trend among my podmates) but also enjoy the option of being lazy and sitting when I feel like it. When I'm at home, I use a 2007 MacBook and Wacom Bamboo Pen tablet.

And what software?

The Post uses an integrated CMS called Méthode by the Eidos company. (It's a common one among newspapers.) It's pretty efficient at managing story and page workflows between departments, so I build most of my inside, standard pages in that. It's Internet Explorer-based, so I'm primarily on my PC for that. (You can use a virtual machine of it on a Mac, but I find the interface and some functions a bit unwieldy. My boss and I quibble about this all the time.)

I'm on Adobe Creative Suite (CS3) for my design-intensive work — primarily Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator. I use InDesign for versioning my more intense pages but will often rebuild large parts in our CMS to make content editing easiest between departments.

What would be your dream setup?

Ideally, being able to run solely on my Mac would be nice, but it's not ideal with our software. But hypothetically speaking, I've had one of the 27" iMacs in the past and really liked it. I'd also like to upgrade to CS6. (I'll just say, at risk of sounding like a curmudgeon or dinosaur, I do quite like CS3 as a suite. I have the same familiar affection for it that I do for my brother's N64 or my mother's minivan; it may be outdated, but it's a damn good product.) I'm also looking into getting another small laptop or netbook for home, just for blogging and toting about for writing.

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