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Q&A with Espen Brunborg

Designer and co-founder of Primate

I'm Espen Brunborg. I'm a designer and co-founder of Primate, a small web agency in Edinburgh. I write about design on 8 Gram Gorilla and Smashing Magazine and my tweets are occasionally worth reading. When not solving problems online I can be found camping, foraging and roaming the countryside with my lovely wife and our two greyhounds. I love travelling and discovering new cultures.


My work space consists of a 27" iMac and a pile of paper for making sketches. Nothing beats a pencil and a scrap of paper for visualising ideas quickly. I also have a Wacom for retouching or illustration, and I sometimes use my iPad for writing or sketching on the go.


I still spend a lot of time in Photoshop and Illustrator when creating visual concepts for sites. I prefer Illustrator for it's quick grouping of objects and ease of resizing/messing around, however I use Photoshop if I intend to make use of bitmap graphics. The recent addition of Typekit to Creative Cloud also makes font management a breeze, as we use Typekit for most of our web sites.

I use Typecast for testing typography in the browser and sharing style guides with developers and clients, though sometimes I jump straight into Sublime to create prototypes and basic builds. I've dabbled with Adobe Edge (which is promising, but not nearly solid enough) and look forward to testing Macaw, though I have a feeling working directly with the code will win out.

iA Writer is my choice for writing articles and notes and I use Alfred to access my files and applications.


My dream setup would be multiple remote locations in various secluded parts of the world, all with a high speed broadband connection and short distance to the airport, combining my love of travelling with my passion for technology and design. I'd have a retina cinema display in each location and carry with me a powerful macbook of some description.


I find a lot of inspiration in science and philosophy and my ideas come to me when I have a quiet moment – when I'm in the shower, when I go for a walk or when I'm about to go to sleep. I recommend reading Edward deBono for his insights into how our brain works.