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Work inspiration with Paul Lloyd

I’m Paul Robert Lloyd, a graphic designer based in Brighton, England. I recently joined the Guardian where I work on the organisation’s next-generation responsive website. Prior to this I was part of user-experience design agency Clearleft, working with clients such as UNICEF UK, NBCUniversal, Mozilla and Dennis Publishing.

In my spare time I write on my website and build Bradshaw’s Guide, a digitised version of George Bradshaw’s victorian railway handbook.


On my desk at home can be found a 24" iMac (2009), a HP Deskjet 930c printer and a G-Technology G-DRIVE external hard drive which I use for back-ups.

I use an Apple Magic Mouse—my only complaint being that it’s not wired—and an Apple compact keyboard, the wired variety that’s sadly no longer sold. Yes, I like wires, but only because I’m fed up hunting for batteries!

When commuting between work and home, I’m either tapping away on my 15" MacBook Pro (2009) or squinting at my iPhone 4s. I should spend less time staring at my phone as it is ruining my eyesight; one of the reasons I purchased an iPad mini in fact. I’m still unsure whether I need such a device, as clearly I have too many already.

I also own a Canon 450D SLR camera which I don’t use that often, and a smaller Canon S100, which I use too much.


Writing: I begin writing any lengthy prose in Writer Pro before moving to Editorially where I can get feedback from, or collaborate with, close friends. Getting a second opinion is an important aspect of any writing endeavour.

Designing: A long time hostage to Adobe Fireworks, I experimented with Sketch in early 2013 and never looked back. While I’d like to see a few features added (namely symbols), I enjoy its relative simplicity. I reviewed Sketch for Digital Arts Online if you’d like to know more.

Coding: My text editor of choice is TextMate. I like its extensibility, ease of use and perhaps most importantly, its icon! I use VirtualHostX to manage my host files, and ImageOptim and ImageAlpha to optimise images. I’ve started to experiment with Grunt.js, which may change my workflow considerably.

Testing: I use Safari for general web surfing, only reaching for Chrome, Firefox et al. when testing websites. VMWare Fusion allows me to run the Windows-based versions of these browsers as well as the various versions of Internet Explorer.

Deploying: I’m using GitHub more and more, and while I’m most comfortable using the official Mac client, I’m slowly gaining confidence with the command line. For FTP or Amazon S3 operations, I use Transmit from Panic.

Communicating: I use for e-mail in addition to SpamSieve and GPGMail plug-ins which help me filter spam and secure messages. My personal email is hosted on my own server, while I reluctantly use Gmail for work. For instant messaging I use and Skype, although I usually forget to turn these on!

Photo Processing: I organise and process photos with Aperture; while it may not be as fully featured as Lightroom, it integrates well with other Apple software.

Procrastinating: I use the official Twitter clients for iOS and OS X, and consume RSS using Reeder on iOS, ReadKit on OS X, and Fever behind the scenes. I save articles for reading later using Readability.

Other: For syncing files, I recently moved over from Dropbox to BitTorrent Sync. I save passwords using pwSafe and maintain an off-site backup with Backblaze. For other tasks I use the applications that come pre-installed or Apple-developed: Notes, Reminders, Calendar; Pages, Keynote, Numbers. I like to keep the number of items in my Application folder to a minimum.

Dream setup?

I’m pretty happy with my setup as it stands, although I’m concerned that it now consists of a desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone. This feels like too much, so something’s got to give.

The software I rely upon will continue to evolve, but it’s trending away from large software suites by the likes of Adobe to smaller, task-specific applications from independent developers.

Where does your work inspiration come from?

I’m not particularly conscious of where I draw inspiration from, but I think I’m generally observant and what I see around me tends to seep in. I like to collect printed artefacts like flyers, brochures, ticket stubs etc., although these end up hidden away in shoeboxes.