On Thursday 21st May 2009, I was lucky enough to arrange a meeting with one of the most sought after creative designers in the industry, Nido of www.thisisnido.com. He only agreed to the interview if I met him in person rather than send over a list of questions via email so we arranged to meet up. Running late for the scheduled time of 5:30pm, I panicked & phoned to check that he was still at the meeting place, Waterstones in Birmingham, England. “Just meet me by the bull when you get here, the shopping centre is closed due to a chemical leak.” he said before hanging up. I didn’t even know what or where the bull is so I instantly felt that this wasn’t going to be the normal run-of-the-mill interview.
I get to a deserted Waterstones at about 5:45pm, and approach what appears to be a smartly dressed character standing outside the doors of the building. As the guy is on the phone I give him the nod as if to say “you’re Nido, yeah?”, but all I get back is a confused if not polite nod back. So I turn around to find a casually dressed character of average height laughing in my face. “I thought you’d be taller” he says as he shakes my hand (i already stood a few inches above him). So this must be Nido…. and he’d set me up to greet the wrong person. Great.
After a small disagreement, we decide to go into Waterstones for a coffee (which I was made to pay for) and a chat about his career in design. Somewhat confusingly, Nido spends the first hour of the conversation asking ME questions, even when I tried to ask him one myself. At that point I knew this was going to be a lot more difficult than I thought, but eventually, I start to get the response I’m looking for.
DWD: i get the feeling you dont like to be interviewed. Is there a reason why?
Nido: You know… it’s not so much… well first off I don’t like that word “interview” you know?… it’s so… Ive been asked in the past to do “interviews” and, as a logo designer that is… ive read a few… I can never read through an entire interview… you seem to get the same questions… same answers… it’s very… I don’t mind talking… I don’t know. I may be wrong in saying it’s all about seo’s and… I don’t know…
[nido begins to stare out the window]
DWD: So why did you agree to this then?
Nido: You’re paying for coffee… haha… no… Seriously…
DWD: Seriously, you’re that cheap haha
Nido: Buy me a cheesecake and you’ll see…no, really we’ve chatted before, in the past, logopond etc… I liked the idea of actually getting to meet a fellow designer with whom ive only chatted online with.. I was beginning to think ‘what if this is all some kind of joke on me!’.. you know.. like something out of the movie Truman Show… haha
DWD: Haha, so apart from being very paranoid can you give us a little bit about your background?
Nido: This is beginning to sound like an interview now haha
DWD: It is! The coffee confirmed it.
Nido: You mean design background?
DWD: Yes, unless, you care to share more?
Nido: No… errr.. designing.. ive been designing for a while… you know… about.. over 10 years for sure…
DWD: How did you get into it?
Nido: Purely by accident.
[nido pauses as he begins to watch an elderly Chinese couple take their seats next to our table]
DWD: Ok… do you enjoy it?
Nido: Designing?… yes.
DWD: So what have you been up to recently?
[He continues to stare at the elderly Chinese couple]
DWD: Interesting… so, tell me, how do you prepare for an upcoming logo project?
Nido: I wrestle… with alligators.
DWD: Haha… ok…
Nido: you know…I enjoy learning new languages, its this thing ive got into… I have some friends… the opportunity is there… why not? Do you speak any other languages?
DWD: I’m learning to speak Spanish at the moment
Nido: That’s fantastic… I want to learn Spanish too… at the moment im learning to speak French & mandarin… I have a Chinese friend… I always pick his brain… he must hate me…
[nido continues staring at the old couple and I get the feeling he wants the opportunity to show off his mandarin with them]
DWD: Going back to logo designing…
DWD: Where do you get your inspiration from?
Nido: Well… I have this little box under my bed… it’s magical… you will hear designers say they do this & that.. buy one of these boxes.. got it from a market place in India…
DWD: Haha.. ok.. I will. So what would your advice be to young designers who may be reading this interview?
Nido: Have lots of sex while you can… it’s harder to get when you are older.
[nido finally gets to make contact with the Chinese couple and begins speaking with them in mandarin. My initial feelings that this interview wont be “run-of-mill” are now being confirmed. About 20 minutes pass before we get back on course]
Nido: It’s very important… not just for business… but for life that you make real relationships with whoever you come in contact with… as a logo designer I get the opportunity to speak to many people from around the world… im amazed by this… somebody on the other side of the world.. and we are talking… albeit that they require a service.. its business… but its very important to build real friendships that last beyond “work”… really get to know them and don’t be afraid to share who you are either… I don’t want to cheapen it by saying that it leads to a very successful logo and great for business… but lets face it.. in any business… in order to know what your client wants and likes you must know their sensibilities and all… but the extended hand of friendship has to be genuine. It really does… like.. there is this one guy.. I did a logo for… New Yorker… fantastic fella… great sense of humor… wonderful guy and id go so far as to say a real friend! Make real contact with your clients… they are real people, treat them like real people.
[At this point nido excuses himself from the table telling me he’ll be back in one moment. Several minutes later he returns and begins to talk about how he is partial to watching bull fighting, sumo wrestling and how he has taken up smoking cigars, he then proceeds to tell me how a cigar is rolled and the correct manner in which it should be smoked.]
DWD: Do you find it awkward to talk about design?
Nido: Haha… I do much more prefer designing than talking about designing…
DWD: Can we talk about some of your logos then?
Nido: How lame…
DWD: Let’s start with your Talkmore logo…
Nido: This is the truth… that idea… that whole concept… came to me in a dream… no joke… I was working on the logo for a friend… I hadn’t even begin to sketch out ideas and bam!… one night… so I get up at 3am and put it together… the way you see it now… that’s the way I saw it in my dream… true story.
DWD: Cool. What about the candeo logo, what can you tell me about that?
Nido: Not much… I can’t remember what happened there.
DWD: What’s your favorite logo?
Nido: I like yours… I like the name too… very clever… It can really go places…good for you.
Nido: You’re welcome.
DWD: Any other interesting logo stories you wish to share?
Nido: Not with you.
DWD: Haha… fine. Tell me about boldfrog.
Nido: I really need to pick that up again… it needs a push… but I wanted to be able to do something with the amount of people I was able to connect with while just sitting at my desk… I thought if we could all get together… who knows… but I do need to pick that up again.
DWD: So what’s next for nido?
Nido: Well there’s the movie…
DWD: Haha… ok, want to tell me about that?
DWD: So how do you see yourself in 10 years from now?
Nido: Even older.
DWD: Did you cause the chemical leakage?
Nido: Haha… probably, by accident.
DWD: Ok, thanks for the interview; it’s been very… interesting to say the least.
Nido: Yeah… I don’t like the coffee here much.
We spent the following hour or so talking about quantum physics, or at least what nido thought it actually was. That and little pranks concocted by nido, one which included asking waterstone’s members of staff to search out the availability of books that were completely made up by nido, he would then proceed to get frustrated when none of his requests were obtainable. The evening concluded with nido coaxing his bus fare home out of me… and me… I was left driving home up the M6 motorway wondering if the person I had actually met was nido… or was the whole thing a big joke on me!… I wouldn’t put it past him.