Original Interview: January 2016

Nicolaos Symeou

Melbourne’s Nicolaos Symeou was chosen by Alter for our 16 for 2016. From Jonathan Wallace: “I’m drawn to the overall presentation of this folio. It demonstrates varied, but restrained use of colour. Beauty is visible in the details, such as a cast fluorescent glow of typography on skin. There’s a confidence in the economy of the work.” We chat twin brothers, looking for that studio job, and experimenting with your techniques. 

What are some of your earliest creative memories and what lead you into design?
I think I’ve always been somewhat creative from a young age. I remember my twin brother and I would always be so intrigued when our oldest brother would pull out some paper and pencils. We would sit there and watch him draw for hours. He was really good. From there I used to practice drawing almost everyday (anything to do with superheroes, cartoons and comics). Later through high school, I started developing a knack for painting which lead into other things like using Illustrator and Photoshop. I was slowly steering into the digital side of things. I have a cousin overseas who is a designer, so when I went there a while back I would spend some nights at his house watching him use Illustrator. I was so fascinated and eager to learn what he was doing. I knew from that day I wanted to do design.

What was your plan for graduating and what actually happened?
Throughout my Degree at RMIT studying Communication Design, I was so excited to finish and become a designer. Young me had no idea what that would even entail. My plan was to work in some really cool studio in the city where we would all be creative and design some really cool stuff. This year I wanted to build on my digital skills, so I’m currently studying a Diploma of Website Development at Tractor Design School. It’s an online course so it gives me the flexibility to keep designing and stay motivated while learning some code.

Nicolaos Symeou The Design Kids
Nicolaos Symeou The Design Kids

What has been your highlights since you started out?
I remember I used to enter a lot of competitions, whether they were painting or design related. This used to give me some confidence in myself and in my own work. Knowing that I’ve entered my work somewhere made me feel accomplished and that I’ve taken one step forward. Studying has also been a highlight. Theres something about learning new things in design that I love.

How did you develop your style as an illustrator and what tips would you have for others?
Other than drawing for endless hours when I was a kid, I started heading into the digital side of Illustration where I quickly became familiar with Photoshop. I remember buying my first iMac and Wacom Tablet to practice what I had watched on YouTube for many hours – digital painting. I was so fascinated by this I needed to learn it. I would spend literally 8-10 hours of my day practicing and learning new ways and techniques. From 10 hours it became around 6. Thats when I knew i was getting better at it. Some tips I’d give to others would be to keep practicing if you love it and definitely have a lot of patience!

Nicolaos Symeou The Design Kids
Nicolaos Symeou The Design Kids
Nicolaos Symeou The Design Kids

What role do you think TDK plays in the design industry and how has TDK personally helped you?
The Design Kids have really helped me get back my drive and love for design. I think this is so important to keep us students, graduates and already established designers motivated and inspired. Entering my work/folio was probably the best thing I could have done for myself this year. Keep doing what you’re doing The Design Kids.

Whats the big goal in the next five years?
Well I’ve work heavily in retail for almost 4 years now, so I definitely want to move on to bigger and better things. I’ve been very lucky with the retail positions I’ve had/have. I definitely have learnt a lot about myself and what I can do. I would love to think that i’ll be working somewhere as a designer and my career is well on its way.

nicksymeou.com
instagram/nicksymeou.creative

Nicolaos Symeou The Design Kids