My Clean and Tidy StudioA few days ago I came across an article entitled “Is a Clean Office the Key to Happy Working?” My reaction was an immediate “Yes it is!” I can’t work in a mess, and in fact often spend a good 30 minutes tidying up before I start work in the morning. But I’ve always felt kind of weird because I’m such a clean freak. A clutter free existence makes me feel calm and happy, but in my mind truly creative people live in a wonderfully unfettered, fabulous explosion of stuff. I, on the other hand, want everything attractively displayed, dust free, and devoid of mess. Does this make me less of an artist?

Welcome to My Creative Space

Like many other freelance designers my home studio is located in my bedroom. Thankfully it’s a big, airy, space so I don’t feel too confined, but I would love to have a dedicated work space separate from my sleeping area. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll have my dream studio and I’ll decorate it like one of these beautiful office spaces on Pinterest. In the meantime I keep my desk, files, computer and all the flotsam and jetsam of my life as a designer as tidy as possible.

In the photo below my mini-printer sits above two hidden paper dispensers. One holds card stock, one regular printer paper.

Extra paper hiding under the printer

Even though I love a tidy creative space, and indeed need it to be my most productive, I don’t want my studio to be completely without soul. I like being surrounded by pretty things and inspirational images. On the walls above my desk are a few favorite framed prints, the Lady Camille Barbie doll that I designed while I was at Mattel, and Robert Best’s illustrated Barbie Calendar that I wrote about in detail hereA few of my favorite dolls live on my upper desk, along with pencils and pens, a scanner, pantone books, and a bottle of perfume too pretty to hide in the medicine cabinet. In the space below, big, matching, inboxes catch important papers when I’m too busy with work to file them away.

My clean and tidy studio space

Below, a cute calendar from toy illustrator Helen Yoon helps me remember the date, while a tiny bowl of cute candies, a gift from doll designer and pattern maker Mario Gesualdi, never fails to put a smile on my face.

A cute calendar on my desk

So I fall into the “neat and tidy” camp but there are as many different kinds of designers out there as there are designs. What about you? Do you like neat and tidy or do you prefer a free and fun creative space?