Behind the Studio – George Edwards
Behind the Studio, where we look closer to home and find out more about the people behind Nomad, this time with George Edwards, Senior Designer at Nomad.
What’s your journey in the industry so far?
I was fortunate enough to start my career at Apple after applying for an internship. My time there taught me so much about process, detail and people.
From there I joined Marina Willer’s team at Pentagram, a team that pushes the boundaries of what a brand identity can be. Their approach of constant questioning and way of challenging ‘standard’ design thinking inspired me. During my time there I saw the identity for Vibia be created; the identity wonderfully captured the brand’s emotion. Practically it was challenging to roll the logo out due to the complexity of the gradients, with questions like “how will we print it on a doormat?” and “how will we make it into a vinyl window sticker?” raised. The answer ended up being as simple as a secondary halftone logo, but it was the approach of putting the brand and identity first without compromise that I loved. If the identity is right, anything that comes after that is just problem-solving. It taught me so much about creating without limitations or boundaries.
After leaving Pentagram I joined Nomad, which at the time was a small and relatively new studio. There was excitement in the air, a feeling that no one really knew where the studio was going to end up, and I loved it.
I couldn’t say no to being part of that journey.
What’s the last book you couldn’t put down?
The last book I couldn’t put down was Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE. It’s hard not to be impressed with Nike in general. Like most success stories, it’s the journey and process that always intrigues me the most.
There were two things that stood out to me in the book, the first being the creation of the Nike logo. Phil Knight hired Carolyn Davidson, a design student at the time, to draw the logo. He didn’t really like it but used it because of a timing issue, and intended to change the logo later. The second thing that stood out to me was the creation of the rubber soles that can be seen on some of their most successful shoes. The tread was made by melting rubber in a waffle iron. It almost seems silly to say but the humble beginnings of these two things makes success seem achievable.
Although I’m not planning on melting rubber in my air fryer and starting a multi-billionaire company, there is always something exciting about the sense of something that big coming from something quite small. The excitement for me is in the process – the outcome in this case, a multi-billion dollar company, almost seems dull in comparison. It’s inspiring to me in a way that nothing else really is.
Do you collect anything, if so what and why?
It’s not really a collection, it’s more stuff I feel I can’t get rid of. I’ve always kept things that show process: printing tests, old logo sketches, and any physical form of something that displays a process.
I started when I was a student at London College of Communication. Previously London College of Printing, naturally, it was home to most printing methods under the sun. I loved walking around those print rooms and finding half-finished screen prints, etching plates and lithography plates that had been forgotten about for years and were collecting dust. They told interesting stories, one that the final product could never tell. For me, it was more interesting to see the bones of the process than the final outcome. Since then I’ve kept almost anything and everything that tells the story of a process.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever heard?
It seems cliche but I’ve always found the Anthony Burrill poster ‘WORK HARD AND BE NICE TO PEOPLE’ to be the best advice.
So far in my career I’ve not really found a substitute for those two things. Don’t step on other people’s necks to advance your cause and give 100% focus to what you’re doing.
I honestly believe if you mix those two things together with a bit of love for what you do, you can’t go wrong.
What does being creative mean to you?
It’s a scratch that needs to be itched. It’s not necessarily always something that you feel you want to do but something you have to.
I find true creativity is in the process of creating an outcome, at the point that you’re not sure what you’re doing but you know what feels right.