We chat with, Tractor Graduate Andy, one half of Netki Studio located in Richmond, VIC. Andy shares five key lessons he has learnt along the way, including our personal favourite, get enough sleep! What awesome client projects they have on the horizon, including TDK’s new site, we can’t wait!!! We also learn about his cool side project Made by Flint, that helps keep him creative!
Tell us about Netki and how you met…
James and I have known each other since pass the parcel days on my 9th birthday. We spent most of our time in front of a computer or tv playing games. This nerdy passion evolved when we were in early high school where we began trying to develop games. We both taught ourselves what we needed to know and anything we didn’t know we Googled. Starting out in our bedrooms using birthday money to buy programs and hardware, here we are 11 years later running Netki, a web development and graphic design studio, out of our own space in Richmond and are loving it!
What has been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learnt along the way?
There have been a lot of lessons we have learnt along the way, and most of them were learnt the hard way! Here are 5 I think were the biggest.
1. Stay creative. In an industry that requires you to be creative on a constant basis it hard to keep churning out those creative juices. Going outside, chatting with friends, and stepping away from the project for a while all work for me. Find a hobby outside of work too. It helps to have an outlet. I like to play video games and drink alcohol. Usually at the same time. Yours might be a little more constructive.
2. Sleep! Don’t underestimate how important a good night’s sleep is. Being tired screws with your head big time. Everything is just too hard and nothing seems worth it. Stay on your A-game and catch some Z’s!
3. Learn to shut the door on work. This is the hardest lesson we had to learn. It’s very important to establish a clear line between work and home life. If you are working from home make sure you set up a nice, clean work space away from the lounge room, bedroom or any space you go to wind down. There is nothing worse than lounging on the couch and seeing the computer in the corner of the room, expecting you to finishing that one last mockup. Stuff that! You’ve got games to play and grog to drink.
4. Sort out your process. Not your creative process (that’s important too) but if you are going to be doing work for people and bringing in some dough, it’s important to set up a strong process you follow from quoting and invoicing to delivering work according to a timeline that both you and the client are very clear on. If you’re a Graphic Designer, make up a nice branded invoice and quote template to send to your clients. It’ll make you look that extra bit legit. It’s also a good idea to sort out a small contract to send to any new clients which will cover you if anything goes pear shaped, and trust me, things can go pear shaped.
5. Have fun! Enjoy your work. The design industry is pretty unique. There are so many amazing people to meet, events to go to, and incredible projects to work on. Mix things up once in a while and go work on that logo on the beach, you can because being a designer is awesome!
What advice would you give students starting out?
If I could only tell you one thing in this whole interview it would be to step out of your comfort zone, get out there and meet as many people in the industry as possible. I owe so much of my success to the people I have met. Building your relationships is important. You’ll get your name out there, get an understanding of the local scene and you might even get a referral to a sick design position in a swanky studio. TDK is an amazing resource that makes all this easy. Go along to your local #TDKtuesdays drinks and get amongst it! Hell, if nothing else you will have made some great friends!
Any personal projects you would like to share? past, present or future?
We all know it’s important to have side projects. I’ve been working on establishing a little brand called Made by Flint. We make geometric concrete pots and other cool things. We’ve been lucky enough to work with Hunting for George on a new product and we’ve also done a little job for Pillar of Salt café. It’s hard work but getting your hands dirty is a nice change from tapping away at a computer all day! Check out our insta @made_by_flint . We’ll be open for business soon!