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Zack isaacs

Zack Isaacs Desk

Today’s desk belongs to DeviantArt’s former Associate Creative Director: Zack Isaacs.

Zack is a designer, artist and musician. You can check out his work with the links below.

Who are you and what do you do for a living?

I’m Zack Isaacs — designer, artist, musician. I like to make experiences that delight people. From 2008 to 2015, I was the Associate Creative Director at DeviantArt.com. I’m currently looking for new opportunities.

Can you tell me something about your desk setup?

This particular set-up is something I’ve been working towards for a few years. Its base is an IKEA Ramvik coffee table. Attached to that are two Ergotron articulating monitor arms. On those arms, one Apple Thunderbolt Display (left) and an Apple 5K iMac (right — top spec). Sitting on top of the table behind the monitors is a BenQ W1080ST short throw projector and a Playstation 4. There’s also an AppleTV sitting next to the right speaker. The table has drawers that extend out of the right and left for storage. I’ve filled them with dense particleboard panels to weigh the table down and make sure it doesn’t fall on me — the monitors + arms weigh around 65lbs combined. The speakers are Yamaha HS8s and they are connected to an Onkyo TX-NR828. That is connected to a 1/8” audio jack for versatility. It’s usually plugged into the iMac. The tables the speakers are sitting on are IKEA Lack tables. The seating is a 2-seat IKEA Kramfors leather couch. On the couch, I’ve got two controllers. A Jazzmutant Dexter and a Monome128. My mouse, a Logitech Performance MX, usually takes up residence on the right armrest of the couch.

Is there anything you would like to improve on your current setup?

I’d like to add a subwoofer to round out the audio end, but otherwise, nothing else planned. That said, this will most likely continue to change shape over time.

Do you switch workspaces during your day? If yes, what’s the reason behind it?

I do! Sometimes I just need to get out and change my view or I want to get some sun. Maybe I just need to get my head running in a new direction on something — I’ll go down to Stumptown Coffee down the street, or just walk around. If I’m not actively working on music, then I’ll most likely be on a laptop, maybe on my bed, maybe another location entirely. It all depends on what I feel will be best to get my head moving in the direction I need it to.

Do you have a favourite item on your desk?

The BenQ projector is a magic little monster. It does 3D (syncs with LCD glasses), which means I can develop for the web in 3D. I’ve already made a 3D webpage test case, to explore the basics — it’s very weird to watch an “object” move in and out of your wall. Having the ability to develop like this is very nice.

What are you doing to stay focused?

I’m NOT staying tied to my desk. While I do need to be there for certain production scenarios, if I don’t have to be there, I don’t lock myself to it. I go to where the focus flows best. I’ve learned to not force focus to exist because then you spend all your time trying to focus and accomplishing nothing. I will, however, plow through sessions with Red Bulls if necessary, haha!

Is there something on your desk which helps you stay focused? What is it?

I’d have to say the immersion. This kind of set up makes you feel like you’re in a spaceship. I definitely have an advantage as this isn’t set up in an office — an environment I’m sure would be far more distracting than my living room.

What was your latest self improvement experiment?

Currently attempting to use Adobe’s new “Design Space” feature in Photoshop to design a blog post on said feature. It’s still in the Technical Preview stage at this point in time — the product works but seems fairly rough by Adobe standards. It is however functional enough to actually produce some great work so far though, so that’s nice.

Where do you see yourself and your desk in the next 5 years?

My first concern is the iMac slowing down over time. I’ve got another iMac I bought in 2008 and that, 7 years on, is functional, but could certainly be faster. Considering that things are always getting faster with regards to when the next “new thing” will get here, it may have to be replaced in even less time than that. When I’m purchasing a machine, I always try to get it spec’d in a way that will give it the longest use over it’s lifetime. Basically, just get the most powerful computer you can afford. As for the structure of the table, I hope it holds out. It’s sturdy, for sure, but it’s also IKEA. I’m genuinely surprised it’s lasted this long. The audio portion will most likely remain the same — these components last many years. The couch could certainly be replaced, but it’s super comfy, so I’m not in the biggest hurry to do that just yet.

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