A Book Apart

Get to Know Tim Brown

Aug 29, 2018

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Up next in our series, we get to know Tim Brown—author of the brand-new Flexible Typesetting. He shares what inspires him, how he likes to start his day, and some of the best advice he’s ever received.

Tim Brown, author of Flexible Typesetting

ABA: What’s the first thing you do every morning to start your day on the right foot?

Tim Brown: Good days start with a glance at my quarterly goals. I have these in a “Good morning” note that also contains a picture of my family, some lifelong goals, and a prayer. This is followed by a quick meeting with my wife over coffee to plan the day. Probably two out of five days is good like this. The other days: just coffee.

ABA: Is there anyone you’re following the work of right now, who you’d recommend others pay attention to?

TB: Yes! A couple names readers may know, and one they may not. Erika Hall makes research practices accessible to everyone, argues for a commitment to responsibility in the design profession, and is on fire lately with important ideas. Jeremy Keith’s philosophical leadership has guided me for years—pay attention to everything he says, because it will help you endure technological changes. Ray Schwartz keeps a low profile, but keep your eye out for him. Ray’s front-end dev talent and awareness are off the charts, and I'm so glad he agreed to tech edit Flexible Typesetting.

ABA: What is your go-to source of inspiration when you’re trying to get out of a creative rut?

TB: I don’t often get into creative ruts. Because I save all my ideas, I never have a shortage of interesting stuff to work on. But I end up with other problems. With so many ideas, I have trouble focusing. I also continually worry that by pursuing the things that interest me, I’m not working as effectively as possible toward larger goals. To address both of these problems, I set quarterly goals and try to stick to them.

ABA: Is there a fear or professional challenge that keeps you up at night? What is it?

TB: People have a golden opportunity today, to demonstrate that experiences designed with virtue and care are more successful. I continually challenge myself to align my work with this idea, specifically helping those who are disadvantaged. I firmly believe that businesses and communities built on kindness and inclusion will win out.

ABA: What characteristic do you most admire in other driven/creative people?

TB: Diligence, because it seems to turn good ideas into a lifetime of respectable, satisfying work.

ABA: What tool, object, or ritual could you not live without to get you through a week?

TB: The abilities to read, write, reason, and empathize with others. Tools and rituals can make these abilities faster and better, but a solid elementary education is vital and I could not live without it. Teachers deserve our utmost respect.

ABA: Is there a piece of professional or life advice you’ve gotten that has always stuck with you? What is it?

TB: One of my favorite teachers once said, “You have very few more valuable possessions than your reputation and integrity.”

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