Editor's Note: This is one of a continuing series of interviews with notables in the creative industry. This week, we talk with the crazy but amazingly innovative Nick van der Walle – CEO of Astute Graphics.
Nicholas van der Walle
#1 What is your primary job title?
Managing Director (the red squirrel equivalent of the title “CEO”)
#2 Who or what inspires you?
Great design defined by craftsmanship, attention to detail and innovation – be it graphic or engineering.
#3 What do you think about when alone in your car?
What does that flashing light mean? Sometimes the one that’s been following me for the past three miles.
#4 Share a life lesson you learned?
Be good to others, especially if they are good to you. This can manifest itself from a sincere “thank you” to ensuring you pay as soon as an invoice hits the desk… there’s typically no excuse otherwise for either gesture.
#5 Favorite period of history?
Tomorrow. Sure the past is important and sometimes fun to learn from, but it’s only tomorrow we have the power to shape into what we consider the ideal.
#6 What projects are you working on right now?
Strange you ask that… let me whisper it to you.
#7 Describe your personal style.
Spontaneous. Creative. Random. Dimensional accuracy OCD.
#8 What tech tools do you use in your work?
Illustrator coupled with Astute Graphics’ plug-ins (astutegraphics.com), naturally! However, the work I’m meant to concentrate on now-a- days all takes place in email, a myriad of web services, Excel, TextWrangler, GotoMeeting and many more.
#9 When did you know you'd found your calling?
In my teens. I always liked design and innovation, but the first 10 years were related to the mechanical world. It was only in my early 20’s that I realized infernal computers had won the war against the mighty drawing board and set square.
#10 What's your super power?
Embarrassing Cocktail Man. Doesn’t matter which I randomly point to on a menu, it always arrives in a Martini style glass with umbrella and impaled cherry. Sometimes with a passing flourish of sugar glistening in the spot lights. Always makes me look simultaneously butch and mysterious.
#11 Peanut Butter: Creamy or Chunky?
Creamy. No – wait… chunky. Unless on toast. Then definitely creamy.
#12 What makes you happy?
Lego. Bought for my wonderful young son. Obviously.
#13 What do you do to relax?
Hiding the Lego from my son (and wife!) and building it for display in the office.
#14 Your place of birth?
England. Previously in the parish of Europe.
#15 Favorite artist or art movement?
M C Escher. Unique and a true genius!
#16 Share a funny moment from your career?
Strangely, it involved San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, two crazy and amazing ladies and an infestation of fog. But I never talk about that.
#17 Color of the car you drive?
#18 Any new skills you'd like to learn?
Welding. Then I would be complete as a human.
#19 How do you get your news?
#20 Advice to other creatives?
Specialize. And then ensure you become damn good at that niche by admitting every day you never know it all, resulting in constant skills development.