Hello, I'm Rafe.
This is my Toolbox

Here is a list of essentials that I find useful in my day-to-day work or in keeping my creative drive alive with minimal friction. Feel free to peruse this list to help build your own arsenal. This isn't definitive, just what works for me, so I'm super interested if you have suggestions for other tools. There is rarely any one "magic" tool - the real magic is learning, sharing the strong points of each, and knowing which tool to leverage at the right time.





Software

  • Framer is pretty much indespensible tool for prototyping, particularly in high fidelity. Also the community, founders, and team are unbelievably committed to pushing the boundaries of Framer and its users forward.

  • Sketch While I still use photoshop for composition work, Sketch's speed and plugins have taken over my workflow when it comes to product design. Resources like sketch.land/, Sketch Toolbox, and design + code, bolster this single piece of software as an important part of everything from my documentation to design workflows.

  • Chrome Inspector & Google Device Specs are godsends for checking redlines,code, and specs.

  • Slack It's kind of hard to imagine that before 2015 I hadn't used Slack at all - now it's easily in the top 3 of communication platforms I use any given day.

  • Magnet - Somtimes you just need to get into the zone, or pick up where you left off in a workflow. It doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles, but it laysout your last screen settings across dual monitors no less, quickly and painlessly.

  • ImageOptim - Drag and drop image optimization. There really is no excuse to skip this tool.

 

  • Ulysses - Ulysses has now pretty much taken over for Notes on OS X for me. Whether documenting work, or writing out dialogue for that graphic novel I swear I'll start this year Ulysses presents a clean non distracting writing interface.
  • Sublime Text - I've been using Sublime almost exclusively for a while. But once I learned about add-ons that allowed me to properly code hint and highlight more syntaxes I can even dream of knowing - sold.

  • MindNode - When i'm trying to approach a concept that has systems level implications this is useful in framing a high level picture.

  • Cinema 4D - While I can't claim to be a maestro at this one, Cinema 4D is always inspiring to try my hand at 3D compositions.

  • Genymotion- I discovered this tool when I needed to triple check my specs for handoff to Android engineers for devices we didn't physically have access to. Use with caution, but this at least gives you a much better picture of how your device looks across Android devices than guess would.

  • Flux - save your eyeballs. Seriously. Good vision and rest are wayyy underrated.

  • Handbrake - While Media Encoder is great, Handbrake is dumb simple and is essentially ImageOptim for video compression.

Hardware

  • Logitech MX Master - It's ergonomic, tracks accurately on glass tops, fabrics and probably any imaginable surface other than water. So sure, it doesn't walk on water, but you'll be singing it's praises when you realize how much it helps your workflow and slows down any impeding carpal tunnel symptoms. Oh, and after a few scary drops, it still tracks and clicks like it's brand new.

  • Pansonic GH5- This one is going to be essential for my side projects with my video production buddies. Safe to say I'll be posting clips and footage here or on tday soon enough.

  • Pentax SMC Super Takkumar f1.8 55mm M42 I've went through a Olympus, Canon and Sony cameras - but the one thing that I've kept in my collection the past 10 years has been this piece of glass. Each and everytime I pair it with a new piece of equipment I am blown away by the result.

  • 2011 Macbook Pro 6 years, 16 gigs and one diy SSD installation later and this thing runs unbelievably well, starting up faster than my 2015 Macbook Pro. Customizable macs are a dying breed, but in this case, it's worth it.

  • Sony a6000- This one is the little brother to the fabled a7R II. Comes in handy in a pinch, lightweight, and pretty easy to use.

  • Wacom - I admittedly don't use this one as much as I used to, but when I do need to do detail work, this usually works for me.

  • Rhodia dotpad

  • Daiso Kraft Notebook

  • Muji A5

  • Draft/Matic Pencil this one takes me back to my AutoCAD days in highschool, when our teacher Mr. Haygood enforced no one was allowed to touch drafting computers until they mastered draftsman style in chalk and graphite. While this isn't the only pencil in my kit, I love its precision in sketches and letterforms.


Reads

  • Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull. I'm taking the slow route on reading this one, but after a long, or even particularly uneventful day its good read about the ups and downs of one of the most influential creative companies of our era.

  • Home by Nnedi Okorafor.

  • The Design of Everyday Things I just re-read this one from time-to-time. If you haven't heard it a million times already, or read it. READ THIS BOOK.

  • Guns Germs and Steel I'm still reading this one, it's pretty dense, and at times a bit encyclopeadic - but probably one of the most comprehensive accounts of world history I've read to date. Long read, and (so far) worth it.

Groups/Meetups

  • Bay Area Black Designers Led by Kat Vellos, this group is an amazing and constantly growing group of black designers representing a range of design disciplines. BABD is not only a space where I can contribute and share knowledge, but also learn, find support, collaborate, occassionally mentor, and grow.

  • Apogee