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Q&A with Geri Coady

Illustrator and designer from Canada

I'm Geri Coady — an illustrator and designer from St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada. I worked as an Art Director at an advertising agency for about five years before I called it quits and made the switch to full-time freelance back in March. I now do about 60% illustration and 40% web design, which is a sweet spot of happiness for me.

I speak about colour at conferences worldwide and I wrote the Pocket Guide to Colour Accessibility, published by Five Simple Steps. I've also illustrated a children's book for Scholastic UK.

I've been writing monthly thoughts over at the Pastry Box Project, and keep my own blog at I tweet @hellogeri and post bits and bobs over at Dribbble.

I love Vespas, coffee, collecting cameras, buying more books than I can read, chocolate, and all things Japanese.


My computer is a rather old but trusty 2010 Macbook Pro, and since I upgraded to a SSD hard drive and maxed out the RAM earlier this year, I wouldn't doubt if I'll get another couple of years out of it. I haven't felt too tempted by a retina display yet.

I use a Wacom Intuos 4 tablet for all of my work, and it travels with me everywhere. I could never use a mouse again, not even for browsing the web.

I also use a Wacom Cintiq 24HD display for illustration (and wide-screen media query testing!) which I'm unfortunately going to have to part with before I move to England next year! I also test on an iPad, iPad Mini, and an iPod Touch, since I don't have a smartphone.

On the photography side, I use a Nikon d90 with a couple of lenses — a Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8, a Nikon 50mm f/1.8, and a Nikon 80mm f/1.8. I mainly shoot in available light, but sometimes I'll fire up a couple of Nikon strobes.

And of course, I have sketchbooks everywhere.


I'm an Illustrator girl and I couldn't live without it. Photoshop comes second, followed by InDesign when I have to do any kind of long-document print work. I use Keynote for my presentations and Evernote for writing and keeping my thoughts organized. I also use apps like TextWrangler for coding, Color Oracle for colour-blindness testing, and Rdio for my tunes. Because I'm a freelancer, I use FreeAgent for invoicing and time-tracking, but one of my contracts requires me to use Harvest internally, so I've been trying that, too.


Wow, that's a dangerous question! If I could have a dream setup, I'd be able to keep my Cintiq, get a nice Herman Miller-type chair, fit in a drafting table and lightbox, and add a comfy corner to chill and listen to records and read books. I'd definitely want my own photo studio. I love studio shooting. And while we're at it, let's throw in some gear for doing letterpress, too.


I get inspiration from everything, but if I had to choose, I'd say my biggest source is travel. I've been very fortunate to travel more frequently over the past couple of years, and I hope that I'll never take it for granted. Not only does it open my eyes to all the new places and cultures I visit, but it makes me look at my own city in a different light when I get home. Sometimes you have to leave your surroundings to appreciate what you have.

Sometimes you have to leave your surroundings to appreciate what you have.