From the Desk of ... Ronn Campisi

From the Desk of ... Ronn Campisi
Welcome to FTDO (From the Desk of...), a new series that answers the question "What IS all of that crap on your desk?"

Up next, Ronn Campisi of Ronn Campisi Design in Boston, a long-time magazine designer and former opening act for the Rolling Stones (really!).

1) They say cleanliness is next to godliness. Uh, are you God? (Plus, that looks a lot like heaven out the window).
I hate clutter. I love orderliness and precision in my environment. The Devil is in the details.

2) Who's on your speed dial?
My wife, my son Evan, who is the art director of Nylon, my son Chris, who does packaging design production at Coty, and the House of Pizza.

3) Is that the Rockin' Ramrods (Ronn was the Ramrods' bassist. They toured with the Stones in 1965) I hear coming from those speakers?
Ha ha... you're close. Ariel Pink.

4) You not only have a clean desk, you also have a clean desktop. Any secret tips on how to make your computer your friend?
Before I leave for the night, I move files into folders and get rid of any crap that has accumulated on my monitor desktop. When I start the next morning I'm not confronted with all that digital debris.

5) Something tells me this epidemic of order continues beyond your desk. Can we see more?

Eat fruit and stay hydrated.


A few books, a few magazines.

IMG_0391 2.jpeg
Stuff I almost never use: a stapler, a tape dispenser. A small storage thingy, my MacBook, which runs my FileMaker database (ed: more on that below).

My Muji pen collection. I can't stop buying Muji pens and pads of paper. I have more than I'll ever need. There's another whole box of them.


IMG_0366.jpegPost-it notes!


Stuff on my wall... An illustration by my son Chris, an Elvis magnet, my kids at ages 4 and 7, a picture of me and my wife when we were dating in high school, my handwritten five rules which are: 1) Watch your letterspacing; 2) Nothing really matters; 3) Try not to go crazy; 4) Don't swear at the clients; 5) But it's OK to swear about them. I wrote these when I was having a bad day.

A box for every project.

My real clutter-buster is my database which keeps track of and automates everything in the office, including art assignments, budgets, pre-press color, billing, my to-do list, and more! For example, when I want to ask someone to do an illustration, I hit a button and it composes an email with all the information for the illustrator. I'm trying to figure out a way I can just stay home and have the database do everything.

Screen shot 2012-02-16 at 11.07.56 AM.png

  • Christian Jensen

    That DB is phenomenal! How can we get something like that? I am looking for a program to track and manage projects across multiple clients, region and media. Any suggestions?

  • Gail Anderson

    Ronn's office was this tidy when he was still using a drafting table at The Boston Globe. I remember it vividly from 1985. Fred's office was immaculate, too, when I was at Rolling Stone. I wonder what that means...

  • Ronn Campisi

    Josh, It's a custom Filemaker database that I made myself. I've literally been creating and refining it for the last twenty years. The screen shot shown here is just the tip of the iceberg!

  • Josh Klenert

    OMG! What is that DB program? Do tell.

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