Behind the Studio – Craig Berry
Behind the Studio, where we look closer to home and find out more about the people behind Nomad, this time with Craig Berry, Designer at Nomad.
What’s your journey in the industry so far?
Until I started university, I had never studied graphic design officially. At school and college, I was all about fine art and IT, which I loved separately, but it was in my foundation course that I learnt about graphic design and realised that I could marry these two subjects together naturally. I never let go of my fine art past though, opting to choose a course titled Graphic Arts & Design at Leeds Beckett (Met) which was a less traditional graphic design course and allowed for a more playful and diverse approach to design and creativity which was highly beneficial.
I started my first design internship at a cycling/outdoors accessories company in Leeds the day after my university work hand-in, I was offered the position after meeting the company owner through connections I had made through the cycling communities in the city which allowed me to use the subject I loved for the sport that I loved. But after a couple of months though I was packing my bags and moving to Amsterdam after being offered an internship at Superunion where I stuck around for a while, was given my first ‘proper job’ as a Junior Designer, started to write for a Dutch magazine and worked on numerous international clients.
Later I decided to leave Superunion and dip my toe into the world of advertising with Ogilvy which was eye-opening and massively beneficial to me but after about a year I’d seen enough and chose to leave. At this time I also left Amsterdam, after almost five years abroad, and moved back to the UK in the summer of 2021 and specifically to London where I now live with my wife and where I was offered my current position at Nomad.
Who are your creative icons/heroes?
I wouldn’t necessarily say a specific person or people are my creative icons or heroes but the designers, artists and activists involved in the early-to-mid 20th-century, Modernist movement are the people who laid the path and who set the standard for much of my own creative practice and mindset in design. Across the full creative spectrum from art, architecture, graphic design, music and beyond; Modernism, still influences and defines how I live and how I see the world.
If you were to make me be more specific I would have to be cliché and list artists of the Bauhaus and De Stijl like Walter Gropius and Gerrit Rietveld as my biggest influences; they took the ideas of Modernism and ran with it in a way I don’t think we as a society have seen since.
It is fascinating though to see how designers and artists today are taking and interpreting the Modernist ideals in their own ways for their specific industries.
I’m always looking to and being inspired by anything and everything though. I believe that as a graphic designer, you can’t just look to graphic design for reference and inspiration but open your eyes and look beyond to other practices and disciplines; especially where boundaries begin to blur. I’ve recently found a lot of inspiration personally from the graphic designer turned fashion designer Samuel Ross and his brand A-COLD-WALL* where he explores fashion-as-art through materiality and shape, I especially love how there are clear graphic design references in what he does from the use of Pantone colours and typography.
Do you collect anything, if so what and why?
It would be easier to ask what don’t I collect. For as long as I can remember I’ve been obsessed with collecting things, especially when these things are organisable or orderable; stamps, beer cans, exhibition flyers, Carhartt t-shirts, cycling caps, clothing tags, tote bags etc. Although recently I’ve been actively trying to cut down on how much stuff I buy and collect for fear of amassing too many things. Although, by far my biggest collection of anything is of vinyl records; around 600 so far, which in my opinion isn’t really that many... but my parents, whose loft is holding most of these, would probably disagree.
I started collecting vinyl records when I started to study and learn about graphic design; I was being drawn in by the sleeves, specifically those from the modern electronic (techno, house and bass) and 1990s hip-hop genres. Electronic music mostly for its graphic and abstract typography and Hip-Hop for their iconic photographs; the majority of my collection is split between these two genres and it’s an obvious indication of my music taste.
The most prized record in my collection has to be my original 1993 US pressing of Wu-Tang Clan’s – Protect Ya Neck 12" single. The graffiti-style cover and song lyrics on the record capture everything that is good about the golden era of Hip-Hop from one of the all-time greatest Hip-Hop groups.
What’s your obsession?
If collecting isn’t my obsession then cycling is. I love to get out on my bike whenever I can, specifically a fixed-gear one and either with others or just alone. I find cycling in a city like London so free and exciting, it’s my way for me to get where I want and need to go without just sitting down on a train, in a car or being surrounded by strangers and to enjoy the journey.
It’s also my way to experience and discover new things I might not normally see or do. It’s my way to exercise for long hours at a time. It’s my way for me to escape whatever’s going on in my head. It’s a way to feel in touch with nature with the wind, rain, sun or snow on my face. It’s my way to learn new things. It’s my way to discover new brands. It’s my way to meet new, like-minded people and it’s my way to have fun.
What does being creative mean to you?
To be creative to me means to define and express your thoughts and feelings visually; taking intangible things and translating that into the tangible. It’s a way of opening up and showing what you’re about whether that’s art, design, architecture, writing, music, film, fashion or any creative method you choose.
Whether that’s showing what you’re about to everyone in the world, your friends or even just to yourself.