Look around you. One co-worker has a perfectly neat, meticulously organized desk; another has post-it notes all over their monitor and a desk sprinkled with crumbs from a long-since-devoured sandwich. Most others fit somewhere in-between.

Messy. Clean. It’s easy to break down and assume personality archetypes for each character. But people are complicated, and the image they show at work might not reflect their real personality.

What are the subtle cues that quickly break down just who your co-workers are?

We gathered some workspace profiles below along with a little insight about what that space says about the creative style of its occupant. So the next time you need to ask them for a favor, you’ll know exactly how to communicate with them.

The Artist

Blog Desks 09152015 Artistic Desk1

The workspace: Artistic desktop wallpapers surrounded by posters and art pieces. They’re into art and they want you to know it.

How to approach: You could rush to judge them as a little pretentious, but you’re better off using it as an opportunity to chat with them about what they know and love.

What are their personality types based on the art they like? Here’s a good explanation from Visual DNA’s personality quiz:

  • Abstract. Think Jackson Pollock. These art lovers are very open, slightly neurotic and free spirited. They express their emotions freely.
  • Impressionist. Think Monet’s paintings of water lilies. These co-workers are agreeable, compassionate and generally optimistic.
  • Pop. Think Andy Warhol’s soup cans. These employees are highly extraverted and not always agreeable, but they tend to show strong leadership qualities.
  • Realism. Think Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. These colleagues are conscientious, detail-oriented and organized.

The Theme-ster

Blog Desks 09152015 Thematic Desk1

The workspace: One look at their desk and it’s easy to catch onto the theme. Perhaps it’s color-coordinated or steampunk styled. Whatever it is, they’ve put time and thought into it and want you to enjoy it.

How to approach: Their creative personality is pretty similar to how you’d describe their desk: organized, extraverted and generous – practically overflowing with all three characteristics.

The Comedian

Blog Desks 09152015 Funny Desk1

The workspace: Bobble heads, toys and things that make people laugh – they don’t always take work too seriously, but it’s to their advantage. People can let their guard down around them and relax a bit more, which makes for a happier work environment.

How to approach: Informality puts them at ease. So take a casual start when you begin a conversation with them.

The People Person

Blog Desks 09152015 Family Desk1

The workspace: Plastered with pictures of family, friends and their pets. This symbolizes their desire for a healthy work-life balance, which usually is reflective of their cool demeanor at work.

How to approach: They are big on work-life balance and keep a cool demeanor at work. Ask about the people and adventures behind the pictures.

The Escapist

Blog Desks 09152015 Travel Theme Desk1

The workspace: Their desk shows pictures of past trips and places they want to visit.

How to approach: They’re open minded, eager to see the world and experience new things. Similarly, they have a flexible attitude at work and can be easy to work with.

At the same time, sometimes they would simply rather be somewhere else. They daydream about backpacking around South America for a few months. They possess creative souls and an innate instinct to create something better.

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