Behind the Studio – Stu Watson

Behind the Studio, where we look closer to home and find out more about the people behind Nomad, this time with Stu Watson, Co-Founder and Executive Creative Director at Nomad.


What’s your journey in the industry so far?

Very long. I started out as the first junior designer that Wolff Olins ever hired. It was my dream job, but they had no idea what to do with me so I spent the first year searching for images in stock library books and photoshopping out the spines. Yes, this was pre-internet.

They then sent me to live in New York for a while, and then in Rio, mainly because I was inexpensive and unattached. Anyway, I fell in love with my boss so I decided to leave.

Luckily enough I was invited to join venturethree, where I stayed for over a decade. After that I had stints at a couple of places but soon realised I was completely unemployable, hence Nomad. It was born from a complete apathy for authority.

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What do you love to do?

I love the work. Always have. I love solving problems, I love scary clients and weirdly, I love pitching.

I am, however, living through an existential job-title crisis at the moment. I'm not a designer, I'm not a strategist and I'm not very good at running a business. I'm not actually sure what I am. I just love it when the phone rings and a client wants a logo.

Running a business has made me realise this even more.

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What do you consider to be a design classic?

For me, a design classic is something that has become iconic over a period of time through everyday use. I always loved the Anthora coffee cup you get in New York from when I was living there, it was such a democratic icon of the city that made me feel like a local. I also love takeaway chopsticks, Swiss Army Knives, Tabasco Sauce, Converse All Stars, Levi's Big E and old VW's. Just no round windows or square plates please.

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What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever heard?

A good friend of mine once told me that once you get over yourself, you start truly living.

What I think it means is accepting who you are, making peace with all of your flaws, focusing on what you’re good at, and believing in yourself.

It worked for me. I’m rubbish at most things but the few things I am good at seem to be good enough.

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What does being creative mean to you?

Most people would say they’re not creative but it’s not true. We are all hugely creative. We make hundreds of creative decisions every day, from what to wear and to how to bunk off work, to the food we cook and the conversations we have.

Creativity is putting something out into the world that didn't exist before.

Words: Stu Watson
Header Photography: Kieran Perry
Editor: Craig Berry

Check out...

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Behind the Studio – Flossie Malster
Behind the Studio – James Falconer