Graphic designer and blogger Melissa Gatchalian’s desk set-up.
Is a person’s workspace truly reflective of their state of mind? Does an artist’s creative process necessitate a chaotic environment in the same way that an executive should maintain a pristine corner office? We don’t have the answers, but we can step into the offices, baby, of people who do. Welcome to Preen’s Desk Diaries series.
I’m forever fascinated by the photogenic lives projected by social media personalities. How do they always manage to find good lighting? Is there a filter on that photo? It’s hard to tell. Who has the wherewithal to dress well every day?
So when I got the chance to check out Sunnies Studios graphic designer (and part-time blogger) Melissa Gatchalian’s workspace, I took it as an opportunity to take a peek at what goes on behind the scenes of a person who curates, well, her entire life, basically. As of press time, the girl has 39k followers on Instagram—if those numbers don’t indicate social media influencer status, then I’m not the editor of this website.
Melissa did not disappoint. Upon arrival, I discovered that she had a desk “set-up” just waiting to be shot. See, she shared a long table with her fellow graphic designers, and was worried that her actual desk wouldn’t be photogenic. So she took a table, set it up by the window (a ha! The secret to consistently good lighting!), borrowed a co-worker’s MacBook Pro, and put it together with her favorite elements from her own desk.
Which poses a series of philosophical questions: Is social media real life? If you didn’t Instagram something, did it happen? Where do all unposted selfies go?
Before I get in too deep, I’ll let Melissa walk you through her creative process, what a typical day is like for her, and the necessity of a selfie break.
To see photos of Melissa’s desk, click through the slideshow above!
Melissa Gatchalian, 23 Creative content and graphic designer, Sunnies Studios
What do you do?
I do graphic design for a wide variety of our materials (Sunnies pouches, Instagram, billboards, ads, website, etc.) and occasionally help with coming up with general creative content.
How often do you come in for work? What are your hours like?
I work Mondays to Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
What’s the first thing you do when you get to the office?
I check my e-mail and WhatsApp for any new tasks. We mostly use WhatsApp to communicate in the office. (Laughs)
What does a typical day look like for you?
I sometimes squeeze in taking photos for my blog and whatnot before heading to work. Afterwards, I attend events after work from time to time.
How do you like your coffee?
Really, really light. I’m not much of a coffee drinker! (Laughs) I’m more of a latté and tea person.
First five websites you open when you fire up your computer:
Gmail, WhatsApp for web, Behance, Pinterest, Instagram—does Instagram count?
How do you break out of the post-lunch slump?
I eat my snacks or sometimes order takeout! Food always gets me going!
How does your office feel about taking selfie breaks?
Everyone does it! In fact, we even have a huge “selfie mirror” in the HQ!
How do you feel about taking selfie breaks?
Once in a while is fine. I’m more into OOTD breaks! (Laughs)
What do you read or look at when you need inspiration?
Books and magazines in our office. Also, Instagram and other blogs!
What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve Googled while at work?
Nothing so far! (Laughs)
What’s the most exciting thing that’s happened to you at the office?
When we had our Sunnies Birthday Bash! So much work went behind it, but it was super fun and worth it in the end!
If you could switch desks or offices with anyone for a day, whose would it be, and why?
Sophia Amoruso! I’m really amazed at how she grew her company to where it is now.
What’s a common misconception about creative millennial workers in the workplace that you’d like to debunk?
That we don’t work just because it looks fun. People don’t understand how much work and thought goes into everything we do.
Favorite spot in the office:
Our comfort room! Strangely, it’s very peaceful there and I can really think and get some ideas in there!
Favorite time of the day:
Favorite take-out lunch:
Wingstop! It’s our office go-to when we have birthdays or whatnot!
Favorite packed lunch:
Pasta. I love my carbs!
Favorite post-work hangout:
Eastwood just ‘cause it’s the closest!
Describe your ideal office outfit:
Pullover and jeans. Our office is cold! (Well, mostly just at my table.)
Top five career goals for 2016:
1. Work smarter and not harder
2. Balance my work (Sunnies + freelance jobs + blogging)
3. Build my portfolio
4. Collaborate with other creatives more
5. Start my own business