How to Build a Game #29 A Designer’s Everyday Carry

A random moment of inspiration, an unexpected time block with nothing to do, waiting on another person to get ready, sitting in traffic…..

All of the above are times when a designer needs to have their everyday carry on them. The basic list for a designer’s EDC is pen, paper and some digital recorder.

Depending on your situation you can customize to fit your needs but let me tell you what I carry and why and you can take it from there to build your own.

Pen and small notebook: This is my dollar store staple. You can find the mini composition books and a small pocket sized pen and you are set. Always in my right hand pocket, I am writing in this book all the time. Since the notebooks come in packs of 3, I have a book in my bedroom, in the car, on my desk at work and in every bathroom in the house. Reading a book on the throne, generate an idea, write it down. Have a dream with a game idea (this is a new development for me), if I remember enough detail, write it down. And for my favorite example of how to use the pen and paper set up….I am really good at leaving a party, my wife however, likes to make “the rounds”. This means I get to spend a lot of time waiting outside or in the car, with the interior light on getting some idea streams onto paper, lifesaver this pen and paper can be!

Digital device aka phone: Annoyingly, I get some of my best ideas during my 2 hours of commuting on a daily basis. To stop losing those ideas to the miles of my commute, I added Evernote and I use the voice note function to get down my random ideas from the road.

Additional Items: I use a briefcase for my day job so I carry my two full size notebooks, dice, and my stack of index cards. Even though these are part of my everyday carry, I don’t think they are required for everyone.

Spend some time thinking about what would work for you on a daily basis and start working on your designer everyday carry.

If you have any comments or questions, leave a comment here or email Chris at

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If you have made it this far, would you like to go a little farther? We have a regular Google hangout with other designers. We talk about the games we are working on and share helpful tips and ideas on how to make designing our game easier. We meetup every other Saturday. Either comment here or tweet me or email me and I will add you to the list and send you a link to the Google hangout.

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