10 November 2017

12 of the best places to live as a designer

Designers and illustrators reveal how their hometown's hidden gems make them the ideal places to live for creatives.


Looking for somewhere a bit more exotic to pursue your creative ambitions? Or perhaps you want some validation that you really do live in one of the trendiest parts of the world.


Either way, this list of 12 of the best places to live as a designer – chosen by illustrators, designers and artists who live in each location, with great illustrations by Tom Woolley – will reveal some hidden gems that any creative needs to investigate. They may even provide some holiday inspiration. Here they are, in no particular order.


01. Istanbul, Turkey


Designer and illustrator Tamer Koseli shares his favourite places to work, rest and play in Istanbul.


Soho House

"I usually go here to work. The beautiful interior and calm atmosphere helps me concentrate on my projects. If I feel that I need a break, I usually go to the gym or attend an event here. It's really everything I need in one place."


Salon iksv

"A really nice and cosy music venue with a nice selection of artists. I trust their taste in music, so I regularly buy the tickets for their events even though I don't know the band or artist playing, and enjoy them."


Salt Galata

"A former bank building that now operates as a library and contemporary art gallery. I love its identity and how it's applied to the interior. Order a coffee, grab a book and enjoy the amazing view."


02. San Francisco, USA

Design director Luke Finch, aka WeLoveNoise, shares some of California's lesser-known highlights.


Musée Mécanique

"It doesn't look like much on the outside, but inside is an amazing museum full of antique arcade game machines, fortune-telling machines, player pianos and more. It's like a step back through arcade game history, and some of these games predate our politically correct sensibilities, which can be hilarious."


The Golden Gate Bridge - Bike Ride To Sausalito

"I'm not really a cyclist, but this trail is pretty amazing. The route starts on the SF side of the Golden Gate bridge and ends in Sausalito, a small seaside town in Marin City with loads of independent cafes, shops and restaurants. It's a great way to exercise, relax and get inspired."


03. Berlin, Germany

Illustrators Beth WalrondNoa Snir and Marcela Bustamante share their favourite creative haunts from the German capital.


Templehofer Feld

"Situated in the south-central Berlin borough of ????Templehof-Schöneberg, this airport has been disused since 2008, but its vibrant, open space is now used as a public park," says Walrond. "It's a perfect spot for recreational activities such as skating, rollerblading, BBQs and - my personal favourite - people watching."


Mundo Azul

"This international children's book store is a real gem, offering a beautiful variety of books in different languages and hosting regular literary events and exhibitions," reveals Snir. "The store showcases many small independent artists and publishers which are hard to come by otherwise."


04. Brighton, UK

Freelance designer Jason Drew takes us on a whistle-stop tour around Brighton's best spots.


West Pier, Seafront

"This is one of Brighton's most famous sites, and with the Hove Lawns as well as the beach, it's one of my favourite lunch spots in the summer. Some things are famous for a reason."



"My local cafe is home to one of the best breakfasts in Brighton. It's only a tiny little place around the corner from where I live, but put it on your list if you're visiting. They also do take-out, it's a must for any hangover."


05. Bogota, Colombia

Designer, artist and paper sculptor Diana Beltran Herrera shares the cultural and spiritual highlights of her native city.


Museo De Arte Del Banco De La Republica

"There's a beautiful colonial neighbourhood in Bogota called La Candelaria, and one of my favourite places there is this museum. It hosts exhibitions from international artists and the building has beautiful surroundings."


Cine Tonala

"Cine Tonala is located in an old house at La Merced. It showcases independent national and international movies, and is a cosy place to go with friends, have a drink, watch a film or see some art."


06. Singapore, Singapore

Nina Geometrieva, chief creative officer of mobile dating app Paktor, shows us where she finds inspiration.


Snow City

"In the middle of a tropical island where the only season is summer, Snow City provides winter on demand. To fully immerse in the winter simulation, I bring my virtual reality headgear and teleport to a cold mountain. Winter jackets come for free since nobody owns one here."


Float Singapore

"I've found the perfect real-life pause button. It's called a sensory deprivation tank. It isolates all my senses so I don't hear, touch, smell or taste anything; I'm just alone with myself and the noise in my head until I decide to resume reality, then it's sensory overload again."


07. Brooklyn, USA

Illustrator Julia Rothman plots her favourite places in Brooklyn.


Prospect Park

"One side of Park Slope is bordered by Prospect Park. Inside you can find a running/biking loop, bandshell for summer concerts, a weekly farmer's market, a drum circle, picnic tables, dog beach and waterfall. This is where I spend most of my time."


Brooklyn Museum

"The museum showcases compelling contemporary exhibits but toasts a permanent collection of art that dates back to ancient Egypt. Highlights are Judy Chicago's The Dinner Party and a giant replica of the Statue of Liberty in the parking lot."


08. Tampere, Finland

Illustrator Daniel Stolle invites you to take a tour around the southern Finnish city of Tampere.


Galleria Rajatila

"A gallery owned by a local collective showing mostly works by young Finnish artists. It also houses a small selection of local comics, catalogues and art books."


Lenin Museo

"The only museum about Vladimir Ilyich in the Western world, located in the building where Lenin and Stalin met the first time, when Finland was still part of Russia. The exhibition has a mimeographed charm - and is in a good way definitely not over-designed. It also has the sofa Lenin slept on during his visit to Tampere."


09. Denver, USA

Illustrator Shaw Nielsen selects his all-time favourite place around America's Mile High City.


I Heart Denver Store

"If I'm looking for a creative gift I love to hit up the I Heart Denver Store. It's a fantastic, quirky shop that specialises in locally designed and crafted goods. It also supports over 160 artists, designers, and design-focussed local businesses."


10. Verona, Italy

Freelance illustrator Andrea Manzati has beautiful sights to share from the World Heritage site.


Libreria Antiquaria Perini

"An old book shop with a huge selection of Italian vintage prints, advertising posters, maps, engravings and old books. You can easily feel lost with the amount of stuff you can find here! A must visit for enthusiasts and collectors."


11. Paris, France

Art director and graphic designer Michael Thorsby talks fashion, gin and pains au chocolat as he takes us on a whirlwind tour of his favourite haunts in Paris.



"In my neighbourhood, Julhès is the go-to place for anything good to eat and drink. They have their own bakery and even a gin distillery. It’s a bit of an empire in the area, but a good one."


12. Bath, UK

Jamie Ellul, creative director of design agency Supple Studio and chair of the West of England Design Forum, shares his favourite haunts in the picturesque English city of Bath (also home to Creative Bloq).


Royal Victoria Park

"My day starts with a cycle or walk to work, the last leg of which is through Victoria Park. It's a good time to think about the day ahead and a reminder of what a beautiful city I live and work in."


These articles were originally featured in Computer Arts magazine.