We chat with our buddy Nick Rudenno from Sydney’s Nowhere Famous, about being the office monkey, learning Maria Kart and the important of print. Nick spent six years at Design is Kinky/Semi Permanent before setting up shop with two friends, and now has an amazing list of high end clients. Be hungry and learn as much as you can (and don’t be a dick!). Enjoy!
Tell us more about Nowhere Famous….
I’m pretty lucky in that i get to work every day with two of my best mates. Its just the three of us, myself, Miguel Sicari and Rhys Gencur. We’ve all know each other for a long time, so starting the studio was a pretty organic process. We officially opened in Newtown back in the summer of twenty eleven but more recently Sydney’s constant need to build apartments forced the studio to move to Surry Hills. It was really born out of the three of us wanting to join forces and create something we could all put our names to, and although Nowhere Famous has only had a short life so far, we’ve been lucky enough to work on a pretty varied range of projects for a great bunch of people. From installations to publication design we have a pretty hands on approach. Being a small studio we rely heavily on our relationships with clients, our best work resulting when they trust the three of us with their creative vision.
Tell us about your journey!
Looking back it makes me feel like an old man, but I graduated from Billy Blue back in 2005 with a Bachelor of Communication design. I had a great experience at the college, not only because of the skills i learnt, but the people i met, quite a few of which i would later go on to work for. During my time there i was introduced to Andrew and Murray who run Design is Kinky / Semi-permanent. After a brief stint as their office monkey sending mail and doing various other menial tasks, i started dabbling in design jobs for them. When Murray headed off on a trip overseas i suddenly found myself designing Movement Magazine, a now sadly defunct surf magazine. Still studying at the time, it was a real trial by fire for me but an amazing job to cut my teeth on. I guess the main lesson I learnt from my time studying is to be aware of the people around you, don’t judge and instead cherish any opportunity to get your foot in the door, even if its sending mail. You never know where that opportunity will take you. I ended up working at design is kinky for six years.
What advice would you give students starting out?
Be humble and get ready to learn … a lot. Starting out should be a learning experience and often times a much steeper one than studying. Make sure you find a workplace that nurtures learning and helps expand your design sensibilities and skill set. Of course you should know what the word “kerning” means and know how to whip around creative suite by the time you’ve graduated, but no ones expecting you to be Sagmeister. Most often you’re first job will come down to your personality. Don’t be a dick. Be hungry to learn as much as you can. When you stop learning, its probably time to move on.
Which creatives do you look up to in Australia/worldwide?
Theres so many people doing so many amazing things right now its hard to keep up, almost to the point of over saturation. I wont mention any specific designers or studios because who wants to read a list, but i will say this. Look at blogs, trawl behance, and pin shit to your hearts content, but I find it really important to always come back to print. Books and magazines are often much better at identifying the true value of a piece of work. When a person has invested the time, money and passion it takes to publish something it demands much more attention than an Instagram or blog post. Anyone can publish online, it takes real determination to print anything these days. At the moment I’m really enjoying the books being published by Unit Editions in the UK. (No need to e-mail me and point out the irony of writing this on a blog.)
What are your personal and professional goals for 2014?
This year we are hoping to start producing some of our own content. Side projects help to keep things flowing in the studio and late this year we want to start sharing them with the public.
What do you look for in an awesome graduate?
Being a small team personality above all else. Being a good practitioner who is passionate about design is really important, but comes second to a sense of humour and ability to play Mario kart.