Uses This

A collection of nerdy interviews asking people from all walks of life what they use to get the job done.

A picture of Rune Madsen

Rune Madsen

Designer, artist, educator

Posted in artist, designer, mac, teacher

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Rune Madsen and I am a designer, artist, and educator. I run a design studio with Martin Bravo called Design Systems International where we explore systems in graphic design and digital media. Our projects include non-trivial interfaces, brand systems, and custom design tools, and we try to focus on improving workflows by making tools instead of guidelines. I'm also the author of Programming Design Systems which is a free, online book that tries to redefine the graphic design curriculum through the lens of code.

What hardware do you use?

Since we are a 100% remote design studio, we have put a lot of effort into figuring out the hardware needed to do our work while being flexible about where it is being done. My core hardware bundle is a 2018 Apple MacBook Air (which I'm upgrading to the new MacBook Pro soon), a pair of Apple Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad 2, my beloved NextStand laptop stand which makes it possible to have a healthy body posture no matter which desk you're working at, and finally a Logitech C920 webcam that makes it a bit nicer to have all-day video chats. I travel everywhere with these things. I also have a Dell UltraSharp 27 4K USB-C Monitor (U2720Q) at my home desk. Oh, and a pair of Airpods Pro which are amazing when they work and utterly frustrating when they don't.

And what software?

Most of our software has been selected because it enables remote collaboration. We use Figma for design exploration, and it is impossible to describe how much it has accelerated our design workflow. We often hang out and co-design in Figma before creating code prototypes with Atom. We use GitHub extensively to manage all of our projects, Toggl for time tracking, and Google G-Suite for all documents and email. We have been on a quest to find the best "online office space" software, and I'm sorry to say that we really have not found the sweet spot yet. We started out using Slack, but we found the lack of live audio channels really annoying. Then we moved to Discord which is both chat and live audio channels, but it has horrible sound quality and really bad integration with OSX sound settings. Then we spent months trying out every possible alternative, and now we're back to using Slack for chat and Tandem for live audio rooms.

What would be your dream setup?

I do wish there was a piece of software for remote teams that wasn't 1) buggy as hell 2) had live audio/video rooms that doesn't crash when you switch from AirPods to built-in mic 3) a persistent chat log tied to those rooms 4) mechanisms for tapping co-workers to come into a virtual room for quick discussions. I would also really like a portable mechanical keyboard, but I'm scared to even begin.

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