What’s On My Desk: Emily Baynard, Co-Founder of Watt Second Studios
An overhead view of Emily Baynard's desk.

What’s On My Desk: Emily Baynard, Co-Founder of Watt Second Studios

The visual artist and brand strategist reveals her big steel table of productivity.

As co-founder and creative director of St. Paul’s Watt Second Studios, which develops brand strategy, visual content, and creative campaigns for clients, Emily Baynard’s work day can take her from building mood boards to computer research to scouring the Internet or city for the perfect shoe/leotard/chair/vintage wool bowler for a photo shoot.

Her workspace, located in the restored factory building that is also home to Can Can Wonderland, is as flexible as her job description. She doesn’t have a desk—at least not in the traditional sense of a devoted space to keep files and let papers pile up.

“I work at one of two big steel tables we had made for our studio,” says Baynard, who shares her workspace with co-founder Roo Way and a revolving group of freelancers. “Those same tables turn into staging area for product and props.” It takes discipline, but Baynard says it’s worth the payoff of avoiding clutter.

Baynard showed us what’s on her desk—er, big steel table.

Magazines and a sketch pad.  I'm doing a 100-day project (#100xEmmi) on Instagram—specifically, collages from magazine clippings. Since I'm constantly doing research and pulling tear sheets for client mood boards, this is a fun way for me to turn that same research into an artistic outlet for me personally. 

Coffee and a snack. Because I rarely eat full meals during the day, I enjoy a steady diet of coffee, water and lots of snacks (pictured: chocolate sea salt Rx Bar). My favorite coffee mug is a Duke and Duchess of Cambridge commemorative wedding mug.

Color swatches. We use them for any number of projects. Right now, we're picking a paint color for razzle dazzle camouflage on our studio entry wall. 

Camera. Given that photography is core to what we do, my partner's camera, a Canon 5D MK IV, is never far from reach.

Laptop. For days when we're not on set, I'm on my laptop all day long. 

Emily Baynard's desk

Private office or open environment? Very open. Our studio has a lounge area, kitchen and two shooting bays and there are great sight lines across the entire space. We have a private fitting room where models change. Otherwise, we want everyone to have access to the sunlight and work however and wherever they need on any given day.

View from your desk? We have a third story unit with three ginormous east-facing casement windows that overlook a residential neighborhood. When I push a table up to the window, my view is of treetops and sky. With natural light pouring in, it's one of the most productive spaces for me to work.

Can you work at a messy desk (or table)? Absolutely. I think it comes with the territory for creative work sometimes. When I had a cubicle at past jobs, it was a total mess! Now that I don't have a desk, I try to put everything back in its place at the end of the day. Keeping things orderly takes effort, but it makes for a more beautiful space and I think many of us are hungry for that.