Friday Five with David Lai of Hello Design

David Lai is CEO/Creative Director of Hello Design, a creative digital agency based in Culver City, California, just down the street from where The Wizard of Oz, King Kong, and E.T. were filmed. For this week’s Friday Five, Lai, whose clients include design powerhouses Herman Miller, simplehuman, and Adobe, shares his best in utility and inspiration.

1. My Bike
I’ve been cycling since I was in high school. It’s the one thing that lets me get away from the world for a bit. Cycling lets me think about everything and absolutely nothing at the same time. My bike of choice is a Specialized S-Works Tarmac.

2. The Bosun
This is my favorite jacket from Mission Workshop. It’s made of merino wool which keeps me at the right temperature in LA year round. There is also a rear zippered pocket. There’s something wonderful about having a pocket on the back of your jacket or shirt. It also has elbow patches.

3. MUJI A5 Notebook
I’ve always been a big fan of simplicity, which means I’m a big fan of MUJI. I only draw in these notebooks from Japan with the dot grid pattern inside. They are perfect for sketching interfaces, taking notes, or scribbling down last night’s dream.

4. Pilot G-2 Gel-Ink Pen
It sounds pretty basic, but I really couldn’t do much without a good pen. I’ve been using these Pilot G-2 pens for years. They aren’t the most beautiful looking pens but they work reliably when you’ve got an idea you need to get down quickly – these pens always come through for me.

Photo by Juergen Nogai

5. My Personal Library
Even though I spend so much of my time on a computer, I love books. There is something really nice about being able to hold something in your hands; a feeling of permanence that you don’t get from the digital counterparts. My collection of books is definitely one of my favorite things; the books are like little works of art to me. There is so much to learn and be inspired by from them. As they say, “knowledge is power.”

Portrait by Jessica Haye & Clark Hsiao.

Marni Elyse Katz is a Contributing Editor at Design Milk. She lives in Boston where she contributes regularly to local publications and writes her own interior design blog, StyleCarrot.