177 - Carl Barenbrug

Carl Barenbrug is a product designer, recently joining TalkJS, and creative director at Minimalissimo

Carl Barenbrug is a product designer, recently joining TalkJS, and creative director at Minimalissimo.

Based in Edinburgh, he spends his time crafting visual things for screens, researching minimalism, exploring technology, designing products, publishing thoughts, and destroying his skin in repeated attempts at climbing blocs.

He runs an online shop where he collaborates on a number of minimal product designs at minimalissimo.shop and you can discover his personal visual archive on Instagram and Are.na.

Twitter → twitter.com/carlbarenbrug

On the desk:

Everyday tools:

  • Safari for browsing
  • iA Writer for writing and notes
  • Dropbox + Paper for file storage and documentation
  • Mac Mail for email
  • Photoshop for photo editing
  • Figma for designing
  • Telegram + Slack for comms
  • Transmit for FTP client
  • Visual Studio Code for coding
  • Are.na for bookmarking

What is your favorite item in your workspace?

I think it’s the Keychron K3 keyboard. Initially I bought it simply for the form factor, but I genuinely enjoy the tactility of using it now. Takes a little getting used to and the battery power could be better, but it’s a beautifully designed product.

How do you spark creativity?

My creativity is usually sparked by browsing Are.na and Twitter and speaking with a very small group of individuals who inspire me. But ideas are formed more clearly in my head when I am away from the screen and out in nature or in the climbing gym. It’s very easy to fall into narrow-minded thinking when you’re sitting behind a screen all day. Walking away and reflecting on ideas allows me to kill an idea or experiment with it.

How do you keep the work-life balance?

Introduce enough distraction in your life that you can’t always be focused on the work. Some can hold greater meaning than others of course. I balance work with spending time with my loved ones, my cats, climbing, tennis, video games, TV shows, and audio books. I’m also trying to learn French at the moment. All of these things take blocks of time in my week and it’s not always me who dictates what happens when, but I manage to find a good balance that makes me feel pretty calm, collected, and motivated.
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