Behind the Blog: Radhika Seth of Yanko Design

Blog: Yanko Design
Name: Radhika Seth
Location: Mumbai, India
Despite what one may imagine most bloggers, whether they write about design or technology, are just like the majority of people out there. They've got messy desks, works in progress projects, and everyday life intruding into their home office. One aspect of our Behind the Blog series is to give readers a look behind the curtain of important figures in world of design and technology sites, and sometimes you'll be surprised to discover what you imagined to be is far different than the reality. Such may be the case with the home offices of Radhika Seth of Yanko Design, Executive Assistant to founder Takashi Yamada, revealing the life and world in which a glamorous design site is operated reveals a home office much different from the subject reported…

How would you describe your office?
My office is the perfect setup for a working mom. I have two growing up children that require as much attention as my passion for YD. So essentially my home-office is the ideal situation for me; like it’s easy for me to divide my attention between making a bowl of popcorn for the kids and answering urgent emails or writing my next post! I’ve been blessed with a spacious apartment, so my nook is an exclusive-dedicated “Computer Room” so to say; it’s got my workstation and my children’s comp too!

What's always found on your desk?
I was reading the various Behind the Scenes you’ve done with other bloggers, and am happy to note that I’m not the only one who will say CLUTTER! I’ve got my iPhone, books, sticky posts, pens, camera, family pictures and tons of wire shoved behind the desktop. But the prime space belongs to my coffee mug and a Reader’s Digest Reverse Dictionary that I refer to from time to time.

In terms of layout and organization of your work space, what are specific details that you’re particularly proud of?
My office is in the most secluded part of my house, so it’s more like my own private space. It’s close enough to the children's room so I can always keep an eye on them. Moms always need to keep an eye!

I think my desk is perfect too, because it’s quite an elaborate one that allows me to place a lot of important things on it, yet doesn’t clutter up much. I don’t mind some distractions when I’m doing pictures or making calls, but when I am writing I want no noise….and my workspace allows me the luxury of shutting out all distractions. I think I like this the best!

What do you dislike about your workspace and want to improve?
My chair! I could do anything for the perfect chair. Since I end up spending most of my day on it…I’d kill for anything that gives me the perfect posture and support for my back. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find the perfect one so I’m stuck with the old one.

What inspires your work/blog/site?
The fact that representing a designer’s work that may ultimately lead to his recognition is the ultimate kick ever! I used to hear stories about this from my publisher Takashi [Yamada], but when I actually witnessed it happening for some of the works that I covered; I was so humbled. I remember doing the Moss Carpet in the first month that I joined YD, and boy did it go viral. And by this I mean not only online, but the real world too. I think the designer went on to do interviews with BBC and other media places. In other cases we have seen concepts by the designers being picked up by manufacturers and are now actual products. The other source of inspiration comes from our devoted readers, for whom we try and bring the best in the business. All this truly inspires all of us at YD.

Is your work reflected by your workspace?
I hope not, because I can be messy, lazy and downright stubborn about the stuff that lies around my desk. I need to keep things in front of my eyes and I like a set routine. Maybe this is why I hate using my laptop (Toshiba Satellite A205) and use it only when I’m traveling or when my desktop gets moody.

Work on the other hand is sacred for me, I can’t cut corners or take shortcuts, in fact I always believe in going the extra mile.

Any tips or advice about office décor, layout, organization, working from home in general?
Oh yes plenty! A home office is not necessarily a reflection of people’s personality. Some maybe as neat and organized as Takashi Yamada, others as disorganized as me, in the end both get our jobs done and that’s what matters. The general rule is to find a space that is comfy for you. If you’re like me who wants privacy while working; then you need a whole room. Others may be happy working with people around them! The trick is to find out what works for you and take it from there. It’s also helpful if you find space for a proper desk and chair, since spending time in front of the computer can take its toll on your posture.

Sources for your home office?
My desk is this knock-down thing that I got from a local carpenter, but it’s a darn good piece as it organizes the computer peripherals into its right place. My chair is local made too and is not so fancy or elaborate. Luckily for me, in India buying furniture can be as cheap or expensive as we want it. It’s the question of where you shop or source it from. Right from the big retail chains to the local carpenters, they all sell the same things…

Favourite tech/electronics that makes your life easier?
A tough one to answer because I’m not so much into gadgets! I have learnt all about computers on my own, with little or no help at all. I’m a keen learner and like to soak in as much as I can. I know there are many tools and tricks out there that can make life easy for me as an online person, but either I’m not too aware of it or just too busy to take in newer stuff.

When did you start Yanko Design and why?
Yanko Design was actually started by Takashi Yamada and later on Jason Hui and Long Tran helped move it forth. The main idea behind starting the site was to become Design Advocates. To bring out exclusive ideas and innovations for people who can appreciate good designing. It was founded in 2002 and slowly and steadily the other hand-picked editors joined in. All our team members are spread around the world and we reflect the essence of a Global Community. Some of us haven’t even met each other, but the warmth and passion for YD and design is quite evident in our interactions.

Thanks Radhika!

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