Productivity

I'm Russell Brown, Principal Designer At Adobe, And This Is How I Work

I'm Russell Brown, Principal Designer at Adobe, and This Is How I Work

If you work with any sort of digital media, whether it be video, photos, vector graphics, humble PDFs, or animation, it’s almost certain that there’s an Adobe product in your workflow. So what are the go-to apps for someone who works at Adobe?

Russell Brown is a 30-year veteran of the company, having joined in 1985, and has contributed to the direction and design of every version of Photoshop ever released. He’s also an Emmy-award winning instructor who teaches design with a certain theatrical flare. As you might imagine, after three decades with the company Russell isn’t in the weeds with the code, but works more as an evangelist for Adobe’s creative suite when he’s not guiding the evolution of the software. We spoke with Russell to learn a little about how he works.


Location: San Jose, CA
Current Gig: Principal Designer
One word that best describes how you work: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
Current mobile device: iPhone 6s Plus
Current computer: iPad Pro

First of all, tell us a little about your role at Adobe.

My current title at work might be a bit misleading. As a Principal Designer I do have graphic design projects that come up in my work, but currently I am more of a Photoshop and mobile computing evangelist. I really plan special events for graphic designers, art directors and photographers that introduce them to the wonders of all things Adobe.

I'm Russell Brown, Principal Designer at Adobe, and This Is How I Work

What apps, software, or tools can’t you live without?

Here is my set of imaging tools: iPhone 6s, iPad Pro, DJI Phantom 3 Quadcopter, GoPro Camera.

Here are my software tools: Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom Mobile, Adobe Photoshop Mix.

What’s your workspace setup like? Coffee shop with laptop and headphones? Home office with a standing desk?

I currently love to sit on the couch with my iPad Pro and a good cup of green tea. It’s the only way to work.

What’s your best time-saving shortcut or life hack?

Forget all the fancy cameras in the world. Going for a walk with an iPhone is refreshingly creative.

What’s your favourite to-do list manager?

Each morning I write down my to-do-list on a simple pad of paper. It’s so great to cross each item off with a real world pen.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without and why?

I think this would have to be my drone copter for taking aerial photos.

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?

I’m the world’s best party planner. I can put on a killer event that everyone wants to attend.

What do you listen to while you work?Got a favourite playlist? Maybe talk radio? Or do you prefer silence?

I listen to NOTHING. Silence is critical during my creative thinking time.

What are you currently reading? A novel, comic book, website, magazine?

If I had time for reading then it would be a really amazing science fiction novel that takes you into deep outer-space.

How do you recharge?

That’s a simple one. I go for a really long walk, all by myself.

What’s your sleep routine like? Are you a night owl or early-riser?

Most definitely I am an early-riser. I’m writing the answers to these questions at 4am. The only time to work.

Fill in the blank: I’d love to see _________ answer these same questions.

I’d love to see the Cosmic Universe answer these same questions.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

1. Never complain, explain or apologise. If you do any of these things then you didn’t do your job correctly.

2. Never buy a boat!

Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to readers and fans?

Happiness is the secret to life. All other things will fall into place if you achieve that one simple state of mind. Oh yes, travel, travel, travel and travel.


We’ve asked heroes, experts and flat-out productive people to share their shortcuts, workspaces and routines. Want to suggest someone we should feature or questions we should ask? Let us know.


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