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Work Hacks: Arcweb UX/UI designer Len Damico

Damico discusses the benefits of packing light, why he prefers sketching by hand, his favorite albums and more.

Len Damico. (Photo via Twitter)

Meet super-dad and indie rock lover Len Damico, Arcweb’s senior UX/UI designer.

The web design and development company is based in Old City Philadelphia, but Damico lives with his family just outside Wilmington. When he’s not in the office, he’s either working from home in Delaware or on-site with a client.

We’re big fans of Damico’s Twitter account. Not only does he know his way around a good dad joke, but he’s also a self-proclaimed “hop worshiper” and “taco chef extraordinaire.” We caught up with Damico for our occasional “How I Work” series.

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What’s the first thing you do every day before doing any job-related work?

Wrangle my kids. One’s in kindergarten (at First State Montessori Academy), and one’s still a preschooler, so getting everyone dressed, fed and on their way takes up the first few hours of my day.

https://twitter.com/lendamico/status/589489598293798912

How often do you check your email, and do you use any program to get to Inbox Zero?

I’d say my approach to email is much more “Schrödinger’s Inbox” than “Inbox Zero.”

When you need to take a break, what are you turning to?

A long walk around the block. OK, fine, and Twitter, too.

What’s your gear?

As little as possible to do my job well. I used to have a very inclusive gear policy: if something made my life or work even a little bit easier, I’d add it to my kit. This applied to both hardware (external monitors, an iPad, a Wacom tablet, etc.) and software.

Now that I split my time between Arcweb’s amazing office in Old City, on-site with clients, and working remotely, I’ve had to pare down my setup. These days, I just carry my 15″ rMBP, my sketchbook and my iPhone 6. I have the same setup no matter what office setting I’m in, my back thanks me, and I have less stuff to forget to pack.

What’s a unique aspect of your work style?

When you hear the title “designer,” you imagine someone who lives in Photoshop, Illustrator, maybe Sketch.app… layout programs, in other words. I try to spend as little time in layout software as possible, because what often matters in software design is the flow and interaction of elements on the screen, rather than just the static layout. So I’ll do most of my concepting with pen and paper, because I can draw out ideas as fast as I can think, iterate quickly, and then jump right into prototyping with Keynote. This workflow lets me get to something that feels like working software faster. It’s much easier to make smart decisions based on a dynamic prototype than a static jpg.

What’s one way in which you believe your day-to-day work is better now than it has been?

Focus and clarity. I’ve always been sort of a dabbler and a generalist, but I’m working really hard on saying “no” to stuff by default, so that when I say “yes” to something, I mean it.

Is there something you do now (or don’t do) that you didn’t do before (or did) that has made a big difference?

I’ve made a real commitment to prototyping and sketching, which has leveled up my game exponentially in the last year or two.

What’s your preferred workday soundtrack? Do any particular artists/bands/genres boost your productivity?

Some folks like instrumental music or white noise; some people respond to the randomness of shuffle or Pandora. I’ve found I achieve flow with albums I’ve heard so many times that I know them by heart and get lost in them. So, things like The Meadowlands, When I Pretend To Fall, Siamese Dream, Homogneic, Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, Document, Emergency & I, Gentlemen, Give Up… I could go on and on.

https://twitter.com/lendamico/status/598127756929413120

Companies: Arcweb Technologies

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