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Illustration of a work desk with computer, ephemera, and a lamp shining a light. Josh Laincz

Hey, Friend! What’s on your desk? No. 1: Alesha Randolph

This is the 1st post in a recurring series called Hey Friend, what’s on your desk? where I interview someone on the Vox Media Design team and ask them about their workspace and gain insight into how they work each day.

Hi! I’m Josh, I’ll be your host throughout this series. I am a Senior Design Director at Vox Media and I’ve been with the company for almost 8 years. Let’s jump in!

Josh: Hey Alesha! Thank you for taking the time today! Please, introduce yourself! Tell us who you are, what you do, and how long you’ve been on the design team at Vox Media!

Alesha: Hi! My name is Alesha Randolph. I am a Senior Designer on the Concert Studio team. I have been with Vox Media for three and a half years now.

J: The people want to know: what’s on your desk?! Tell us about your workspace!

A: I split my time between our Washington DC office and working remotely from home, so let’s use my space in the office for discussion. For context, our space is a 4-person glass office, each person with their own desk-space and workstation. I share the space with 2 other designers and an engineer.

Alesha’s Desk with a salt lamp, water bottle, jar of pens and pencils, and a Hokusai poster on the wall behind. Alesha Randolph

On the wall you’ll notice a big poster of The Great Wave of Kanagawa by Katsushika Hokusai. I also have the Concert Debut poster up there.”

J: I like how you hung up some artwork. The Great Wave of Kanagawa is such a classic painting. What other things make up your workspace?

A: Well, I have an AFK (Away From Keyboard) water bottle which is from one of our design events a few years ago, a giant salt crystal which I got for 75% off because the light didn’t work, a jar of pens/pencils, Urban Ears headphones, a 15” Apple MacBook Pro paired with an Apple Monitor, and a brush, you know, because you have to keep your hair on point.

J: You managed to keep your desk so tidy, even with all of those things. Was there a particular theme you were going for when setting up your desk?

A: I have moved offices / desks 3 times, so this time through I was really trying to make it my own and make it feel inviting so I had a place inside of our DC office. I went with a blue theme, which is the Throat Chakra, and I thought since we do a lot of visual communication that aligned well.

J: That’s awesome. It’s a very nice looking desk. Can you tell me a bit about how your organize your workspace using multiple monitors?

A: I use the smaller screen for communications: so Slack, Asana, email, etc. and on the larger screen is where I do most of my design work such as using the creative suite.

J: That seems like a pretty standard setup from those I have spoken with. I imagine that keeps things nicely organized between screens. My next question for you: What’s the one thing you can’t possibly make it through the day without?

A: Definitely my headphones! Because sometimes you just need to zone out and in a public office space it can be distracting, so it’s nice to have noise canceling headphones to zone in and focus.

J: Quality headphones are a definite necessity in any shared office space! What types of things have you done to make your workspace your own?

A: I’m big on keeping positive energy in the spaces I occupy. That’s why I have a large Himalayan salt crystal on my desk to absorb negative energies that may enter the room. I feel like it really helps in those stressful moments of the day.

J: Do you work the entire day at your desk? Are you in an office, or do you work remotely? If both, what does that balance look like?

A: I work about 50% in the DC office and 50% remote. In the DC office, I work all day at my desk. When I work from home, I’m either in the living room with my houseplants or in my cozy home office.

J: I definitely hear of more folks being mobile and roaming around when working remotely. Ok, last question! What are some of your daily routines?

A: First thing in the morning, I water my garden sage and lavender plants and have a cup of green tea outside with them. Then I put on a good energetic playlist (usually something funk or disco) to get me in a creative mood before work. While working I usually have a midday coffee break, either at Bluestone Lane near the DC office or the Starbucks near my apartment. After work, I hop on my XBOX One to play No Man’s Sky or NBA 2K20 to unwind before bed.

A big thank you to Alesha for taking time to share about her daily design life with us. And thanks to you for reading along! Be sure to keep an eye out for our next post in the series. If you’d like to share your workspace with us, tweet us at @voxmediadesign.

Thank you to Krystal Stevens for her thoughtful edits.