Tools of the Trade: Laura Breines of Designit

By Kyle O'Brien 

Tools of the Trade is an AgencySpy feature to help highlight the many tools that help make advertising and marketing folks successful. The tools can be anything that helps people perform at their top form, from a favorite drafting table to the best software program to a lucky pen, a vintage typewriter or a pair of headphones.

Next up is Laura Breines, head of Designit Americas.

Microsoft Office’s online collaboration suite is Laura Breines’ favorite tool.


What is one tool you use all the time at work, and how does it inspire your work?

The backbone to my working life at Designit is undoubtedly Microsoft Office’s online collaboration suite. Out of the multiple team-working functions they provide, one I love the most is the ability to dip in and out of documents and provide feedback in real time while they’re being worked on. I admit I am a deck perfectionist—back in the (not so) distant past you had to download massive uncompressed PowerPoint files, manage version control and try to marry all the iterations into a final document, without losing your sanity. This became exponentially tougher in the age of hybrid working where you can’t walk up to someone’s desk and make quick edits together in the moment. Online collaboration tools bring back that sense of working together in a physical space, keeping the creative spark alive in a remote setting.

Why is it your favorite?

It’s not the sexiest pick in the world, but online collaboration tools have come into their own in the age of hybrid working. I look after the whole of the Americas for Designit—that’s a lot of people, in a fair few locations, working on a lot of projects—and a lot of documents. Being able to seamlessly jump into the same document as one of my colleagues and edit it together is a total game changer not just in terms of productivity but also relationship building. And you could see it as a new way to deliver on-the-job training and feedback in the absence of more regular personal contact.

How did you acquire your tool or hear about it for the first time?

The first was Keynote, I think. Purely by chance, I opened a document one day and it opened in my browser rather than in the program itself. We all talked about it, tried it and although it was clunky and slow, it was worth the pain because nothing is as bad as emailing large files back and forth ad infinitum.

How does it help you be successful?

Microsoft’s online suite is the closest you can get to working in the same room without actually being there. Nothing will ever quite replace being face-to-face, but this lets you get close. Hybrid working works incredibly well until it doesn’t, and tools like these let you massage out some of the issues we all face.

A lot of our work here at Designit is built around understanding the interactions between creativity and designing for human beings. Rather than just a name in an inbox, these tools let me work with my team in a much more human way.

For everything personal, it’s Google.

Does it have sentimental value?

No. It’s definitely a means to an end. As with a lot of technology, it facilitates useful interaction, a way of collaborating with people without being in the same room.

Do you think your tool could go TikTok viral? Why or why not?

Well, there might be a productivity hack for Gen Z going viral with a tool to make millions through side hustle hacks. But I very much doubt we’ll be seeing an Office Suite viral dance, despite it being such an essential part of my work toolkit.

We want to know what tools you use to make you successful. If you’d like to contribute or know someone who would want to be featured in Tools of the Trade, contact and fill out our survey.