Guru – Nick Lewis

I have had the please over the last few weeks of being under the teachings of Melbourne designer Nick Lewis. Here’s a brief overview of the first 48 hours after Nick was introduced to my life:

Me: “O-M-G nick is giving us like, sooo much work to do in such a short time and ew, i dont like him.”

Other lecturer: “lol nah. Nick is a guru.”

Me: “Nah, not even like, omg.”

Puberty: “i am still living in you.”

Luckily now, in blessed hindsight, i’ve been baptised under the name of patron saint Nick The Guru and am happily (and frequently) preaching his good testaments. Thus, understatement of the day in saying, i’m out of this universe grateful for all the hard work, double days and essentially just all the time that i’ve been able to use to pick his brain for perspective, guidance, lessons, actually helpful design biz and inappropriate jokes.

I asked him a few questions on design as a career and the design process and here’s what he’s come back with.

What’s your musings on design as a career?

It’s a good time to be a designer. They haven’t invented a machine yet that can replace a good, strategic creative thinker. The field is in flux with new things coming in (digital etc) and old things going out — keeps you on your toes. Have to be agile (*nods to Malcolm Turnbull*) and prepared to try/take on anything which is unpredictable and exciting. If you are good and good to work with there will always be work for you.

How do you explain what you do to people who don’t understand?

Often keep it brief depending on whether they appear to be genuinely curious or just being polite. The kind of people I want to work with already know what good design is and appreciate (i.e. will pay for) it.

How important is the pre-design design process? Tell us about yours.

Super importante. Thinking, questioning, researching, thinking, mulling, pondering and doodling is the only way to get truly unique creative ideas (and chatting with any creative insightful people in your life). You need to have a great pool of resources at your disposal — books, mags, movies, posters, nick nacks, digital libraries etc. That’s where the Curious Mind comes in. The more shit crammed into your head to more your brain has to work with.

And the use (or attempted use) of analogue materials in design?

Sketching, scribbling, doodling. Having a window with a nice view to stare out of helps too. Computer comes in once the idea is already formed.

Who are you design kings/queens/lovers?

Locally, my old boss David Pidgeon. He is always pushing himself and his staff to come up with new ideas and new approaches. Repetition and rehashing is not acceptable. That ethos is visible in his studio’s long track record of brilliant work.

Do you consider outside influences as integral, important or irrelevant for good work or good ideas?

Oh yes. Having an open, curious mind about everything in life is pivotal to being a good designer. Questioning how and why things work allow you to see things from various perspectives.

Do you ever face internal or external doubt in what your doing and importantly, why your doing it?

Everyday. But personal and professional growth is about making constant self improvements. Sadly, and painfully, more rapid and profound growth comes from fucking stuff up and learning from it that simply nailing it easily everytime.

Three (or more or less) word mantra to get over such hurdles

Can It Be Better?

Favourite colour?

Don’t like having to pick a favourite colour. Why only one? That being said, I quite fancy and often seem to use yellow. So FRESH.

Favourite possession?

Q = TOO HARD. However, my electric stand up/sit down desk is pretty sweet and staving off the inevitable Designers Back.

See what i mean – legend!  Thanks Nick


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