In The Flow: Christian Helms

Everyone has one – a place where they can get work done. A workspace serves as a place to focus and be productive, whether it’s a photo studio, a cozy cafe or a fully equipped kitchen.

By looking at that space, one can learn a lot about a person’s tastes and lifestyle. This month we’re focusing our lens on the desk of Christian Helms- owner of Helm’s Workshop and co-owner/creative director of Frank.

Christian Helms

Founder of Helms Workshop


On His Desk:

• Proofs fir Product Renderings
Vintage Barlow Pocket Knife
Barrett Alley Wallet– Helms Boots
Watch with Leather Straps– Shinola
North Carolina Tar Heels Baseball Cap
• Sketchbook, a gift from Paul Jerde. “He gave me one and I loved it,
so he shipped me a box of these. I’m having some made.”


If you Google “Christian Helms” you’re bound to see a portrait of him in front of the infamous wall of his Helms Workshop’s entry room. Dozens of vintage hammers are arranged in thoughtful repetition on the wall facing the entrance of the South Austin office, a refurbished plant shop that hosts seven employees. “A hobby that got out of control,” Helms explains of the 60 to 70 hammers. But the hammers are just a taste for Helms penchant for antiques. Other tools his father gave to him are peppered throughout his office, along with vintage bottles and packaging. Upon describing the back stories of various items in his space—the circumstances of how he found a stack of old, silkscreened advertisements or his taxidermy English Sterling Deer bust—Helms become jubilant. He appreciates the pig-nosed soda bottle that never caught on, the idiosyncrasies in design of times past, and adamantly adds them to his collection of “weird, archaic ephemera.”

Even if you don’t know who Helms is, if you’ve lived in Austin for enough time you’re bound to see his work. His award-winning design and brand development studio produced the branding for Austin Beerworks and Frank. Heck, Helms’ studio has even made a name for itself outside of Austin, rebranding Southern Comfort and boasting Pabst Blue Ribbon, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey and Hasbro as clients. And all of this fine work eventually makes its way across Helms’ desk made—of all things—from reclaimed gym floors.


Written by Clarisa Ramierz
Photography by Chris Perez


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