Aubrey Johnson's Desk

Aubrey Johnson is a software designer, developer and product guy.

In 2013 he was named one of the top 75 designers in technology for 2015 by Business Insider.

He did some work for companies like Twilio, Color and Science.

Today we take a look at his home office.

Can you tell me something about your desk setup?

I work from home quite a bit so my desk is where I spend a great deal of time. It’s a personal place where I perform my craft and (try to) make great things for people. I like diffused light and a generally darker space so I can focus on my screen. I also am a big believer in buying better/buying less so I’ve taken the time to research, find and create a space that is comfortable and high quality. The quality of the things around us are also an inspiration to make similar things, so when I see something that’s nice or well-done it really motivates me to try to not make junk.

Is there anything you would like to improve on this setup?

I recently improved the setup after shooting these photos. I removed the legs from the DIY desk I made and put some really excellent motorized legs on for standing. I do need to find a better USB 3.0 hub situation as the one I have is just alright but sometimes falls offline/is slow. Last thing… now that I have a thin-edged retina iMac I’m on the hunt for a better way to store my headphones vs just laying them down on the desk. If anyone has suggestions - hit me up on twitter @aub :)

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

I usually have breakfast with my wife and 2 young kids as well as lunch to break up time in the office. Sometimes I’ll jump out to a coffee shop or ride up to LA from OC with friends to work from Santa Monica to change up the scenery. Overall, though, I’m here most of the time and part of the reason I focused on making it a place I enjoy.

Can you tell us something about the items on your desk?

I have a few things from Grovemade which have been reviewed to death, so I won’t elaborate on those other than to say I like them and they’re excellent. I do have a few little lesser-known things I’d love to share.

  1. This Is Ground leather coasters - I got these from Mike (the founder) when we worked together at Science and I just love them. I use them all the time, they keep cold drinks from sweating onto the wood surface and they are thick and high quality. I don’t know if you can buy them, but I highly recommend some coasters for your desk if you keep drinks around your workspace.
  2. Allsop mouse pad - I actually picked up the leather mousepad from Grovemade, but the leather dye got on everything and slid around too much. This Allsop one is super cheap on amazon and is hard surface which I really like because I feel like the accuracy is better. It also has some heft so it doesn’t slide around which is awesome.
  3. Cutting stuff - I picked these excellent scissors up at this nice homegoods store in Costa Mesa called Emmo Home.. They’re made by a Japanese company called Hayashi Cutlery. A little spendy, but they’re sharp and feel great. I also got this little ceramic letter opener thing from a long time ago and it’s been great for years. It’s made by Slice.

What are you doing to stay focused?

I stay focused with self-discipline. I think it’s fairly easy to check out and browse the internet if you are working from home so I just mentally stay on top of myself. I feel guilty / like I’m stealing if I’m not working when I say I will so that keeps me going too.

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

I do use noise canceling headphones if there are audible distractions in my house or I want to get into the zone with music so that helps run off any distractions that might pop up.

What was your latest self improvement experiment?

My latest self-improvement experiment is the standing desk legs. I had some weird thing I used about a year ago and took it off of my desk because it looked terrible and it barely worked. This time I’m all in on the standing desk space and trying to knock off sitting too much.

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

I hope this desk hangs around wherever I am. It’s something I made and have improved over time and it’s starting to get some character. I will always keep it in my home office or wherever I’m working the most from. As for myself, I’ll keep making things that (hopefully) people want and we’ll see where that takes me. I’d like to have a product I’m working on launched and loved by many. :) Overall, I’m very thankful for a career in design and the ability to do my hobby and passion every single day.

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by Daniel Puglisi