Uses This

Interview

What do people use to get stuff done?

Michelle Vandy

Michelle Vandy

Brand designer (Omada Health)

Who are you, and what do you do?

By day I'm a brand designer at Omada Health, by night I work on various UI & UX related projects. In the past I've illustrated a children's book, pioneered nose-designing (what!!?), modeled buildings at an architecture firm, dreamt of crazy startup ideas...

What hardware do you use?

The last few years my arms have largely shaped my work setup. I used to struggle with severe pains and cramps in my lower arms and couldn't design unless I had my special equipment. Basically I assembled a device from a Manfrotto Table Top Tripod Kit 209, 492 Long, tripod adapter plate and an Apple Magic Trackpad and placed it in front of my 15 inch MacBook Pro. I then used the tip of my nose to draw and maneuver the mouse, while my arms were resting in front of me. Yes, it was pretty frustrating at times and yes, it looked ridiculous and yes, it took a long time to increase my precision and speed, but somehow I ended up becoming extremely efficient!

But the most amazing thing happened a few months go and my arms are feeling great. Now that my arms are back to normal, I work in front of a Samsung UHD 28" monitor and a new 13 inch MacBook Pro from 2015. I use the laptop's trackpad as a mouse. The external monitor doesn't work as well as I hoped it would - there's a bit of a lag and it can get frustrating at times. Often I find myself working from different cafes and all I bring is my laptop and my Marley on-ear headphones. When I change my work environment I often experience a surge in creativity, and it overweighs the benefits of having a large monitor.

And what software?

I've been using Photoshop religiously since I was about 10 years old. I also use Illustrator on a daily basis and occasionally InDesign. I've only just discovered Sketch and how well it is tailored for UI & UX work (facepalm) so I'm currently in the process of transferring designs to Sketch. For quick 3D models I use Google SketchUp, and for rendering photo-realistic images I'd use a V-Ray plugin (although I haven't used it for years).

I use Slack to communicate and share work with my design colleagues, Google Hangouts and Skype for video calls and occasionally Basecamp for larger projects.

What would be your dream setup?

My dream setup would be a Thunderbolt display connected to a powerful 15 inch MacBook Pro, paired with an external keyboard and a Apple Magic Trackpad. I wouldn't say no to the latest Intuos tablet from Wacom either. But even with the equipment above I'd probably still find myself huddled in various coffee shops, squinting at my laptop screen. I definitely look forward to the day when laptops charge wirelessly, wifi is available everywhere and mocha frappuccinos are healthy.

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