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Caleb Jones' Design Toolkit

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Caleb Jones shares the tools, typography, and tricks inside his design toolkit.

Words by 

Megan Hill

Published on 

September 2, 2022

essential graphic design tools, graphic design toolkit, design tools of the trade, designers favorite fonts, designers favourite colours, how designers work, design tricks of the trade, caleb jones

Name: Caleb Jones

Profession: Multidisciplinary designer (web design, graphic design, branding)

Location: Mountain West, USA

Instagram: @calbeajones

Caleb Jones is a multi-disciplinary designer or, in his own words, "a systematic organiser of information, a visual problem solver, and an idealistic perfectionist who seeks to build functional end-products."

Notebook

Grid paper ranks top, with dotted paper coming a close second.

I’ve used a lot of grid paper to capture rough mockups for web layouts. It's a nice tool if you are working on technical drawings, font design, architectural layouts, floor plans, and more. It has so many uses and still works just fine for drawing and sketching.

4 pages of Caleb Jones' grid paper notebook. sketches show web design ideas in blue ink.
Pages taken from Caleb Jones' notebook.

Designer on speed dial

Purely based on their work, I'd love the opportunity to collaborate with Angel Acevedo. He is behind the brand God is a Designer and Acevedo Aesthetics Corporation. He continues to put out cool streetwear, grow his brand, and do cool stuff in general.

Fonts

  • Firm favourite: I recently fell in love with a number of relatively recent Grotesk fonts, specifically Founders Grotesk. It was released in 2010 by Klim Foundry based in New Zealand. I was fortunate enough to receive approval to use this for a website I built recently. I’m stoked to see Founders Grotesk in action. It's simple enough that I think I can use it for years to come without it looking dated or old, but still has more character and liveliness than the bare minimum Helvetica (no hate on the old classic though…)
  • A distant love: I have always loved Pistilli, but I’ve never had the right project that I could work it into. Salome is my runner-up in the flamboyant fonts category, alongside Pompadour numbers.
  • Never again: Quicksand is pretty terrible in my opinion. Whilst I try to be an optimist and say every font can find a home in the right project, misuse has ruined this one for me.

Colour

A 3 sqyare colour palette showing charcoal, off-white and a lime green.

For the longest time, I was a fan of—self-named—Charcoal 31 (#313131) and off-white (#f1f1f1). But I have recently refined that to Charcoal 22 (#222222) and off-white (#fafafa)—a similar combination with richer, darker charcoal and much more subtle off-white. I am here for the subtleties!

Beyond just the black and whites, I have also used Charcoal 22 and Lime Green (#9ed600) on a couple of projects recently—it just keeps looking good! It has good contrast and is lots of fun.

Organisational approach

Personally, I am a Trello Evangelist! I keep my whole life organised there. However, I try my best to show up for clients at their pace and in their space—I like to communicate with clients in their preferred channels. Sometimes that's tracking projects through email, other times it's Slack.

The environment I work in necessitates this flexibility; often times we are not given deadlines or timetables to manage a project. Additionally, I work in an environment where priorities are shifting sands—loosely organised chaos!

Trusted advisor

No question, other designers give the best feedback. We speak the same language. Although, I’m lucky—“other designers” and “family & friends” are one and the same for me. I routinely get critiques from my brother, who is a graphic and digital designer.

I do have to give a nod to non-designers who are aesthetic aware, i.e. it's not their day-to-day job, but they are adjacent to design and aware enough to be able to communicate legitimate constructive feedback—that outside perspective is very helpful.

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