As Co-Founder of NONA and the key man of our design team, Gordon has brought his talent and insight to some of our biggest projects, and continues to champion a practical and creative approach in tech.
Gordon, how did you get into a creative and entrepreneurial field?
I was always drawn to art and design, from before I could talk — whether it was drawing, painting designing decals for my BMX, surfboard, prints for shirts or customising classic motorbikes and cars like the 1967 Volvo Amazon. I started getting commissioned for design work in high school, creating signage, logos and packaging. This picked up in college and became more digitally focused around interactive presentations and UI design.
Did you always have these talents or was it a learning process?
I think talent only gets you so far. My mother is exceptionally resourceful and was creative with everything she did. So, she noticed my drive and curiosity when I was very young, and nurtured it. She would come home with armfuls of books, weekly, on whatever I was interested in. In terms of it being a learning process, It’s always a learning process. You never stop learning and you need to constantly be open and pushing yourself to learn. I also always have personal projects on the go, custom illustrations for my new longboard or restoring and customising a vintage car etc.
Yes, which is a value that’s stayed constant at NONA to this day but speaking of which, what was NONA like in the beginning?
For me it was a platform to collaborate and create something bigger than I could have done by myself. To create quality usable products in an industry we felt was fraught with poor delivery and smoke and mirrors.
What were some of your favourite projects to work on along the way?
Orderin, Picup, Coinbooth and Go2 Africa spring to mind.
All of these projects really allowed us to immerse ourselves in the business. The clients thoroughly believed in our processes and allowed us to get a deep understanding of the business, their needs, problems and future projection and allowed us to become a part of that, which ultimately gave us a great understanding of their users and their needs.
What was the greatest challenge you’ve overcome as a cofounder?
Growth is always challenging, creating and maintaining a balanced culture of professionalism and support. As a designer I’m a lot more focused on putting my head down and getting on with it — I’m a doer. Being a co-founder my partners have challenged me to step back more and look at the bigger business needs, as well as voice my opinions and challenge theirs.
So, in light of this, what would you say it means to be a leader?
I think we all have our own styles of leadership. Not sure if its my design influences but for me it starts from a place of empathy and humility, from there you have a lot more more of an understanding to communicate and share your vision and drive. Ultimately for me it’s about inspiring and empowerment.
What are your thoughts on the importance of UX design within the development space, is it just another fad?
I personally hate the term “UX”. It’s become an overused term. Often, very obvious design decisions are drawn out into long unnecessary processes in the name of UX.
Anyone who’s interested in this can see design thinking is bullshit by Natasha Jen which sums it up nicely. I also think we will see more specialist roles appear out of UX.
Fundamentally I don’t believe UX can be an individual role — it is the effect of a collaborative combination of skill sets — Devs, Designers, Researchers, Business Analysts and Project managers, etc.but I could go on about this forever… 🙂
What are some of your greatest design inspirations?
Firstly, it would be my design teacher, Andrew Putter, in high school. He took the interest and curiosity nurtured by my mother and created a relentless design drive. He created an ability to learn and immerse myself into anything design. It was because of him I was able to transition from fine art into Graphic & UI design.
The expressionists have always been a great inspiration to me as well. Being able to draw or paint photorealistically is easy — creating work that conveys or provokes a feeling or emotion is far more exciting to me. It takes empathy and understanding, not only of other people but of yourself, as well as the skill to communicate it.
David Carson (Original Designer for ZigZag Magazine) and Max Schmid (father of ‘Geigy style’) were also huge influences on me as designer. Creating a big focus on clean minimalism, typography and balance.
These are elements we’ve seen in your work so far and in the NONA rebranding, and it seems to be filtering in more and more. Where do you see NONA, and your work at NONA, evolving to over the course of the next few years?
With our shift to focus on blockchain technology it is some really exciting times. I see NONA at the forefront of a lot of groundbreaking tech, internationally.
I think the blockchain space is still in its infancy so there are great things to come. With the shift to blockchain, the base need for products to be functional, problem-solving, engaging and enjoyable experiences will never change.
Awards & Recognition
- Gold Pixel Award Bookmarks 2017
- Silver Pixel Award Bookmarks 2017
- Bronze Pixel Award Bookmarks 2016
- Loeries Finalist 2016
- Grindstone Accelerator Finalist
- National Banknote Competition Winner
- Exhibited at the National Art Gallery
For more information on Gordon or any of our UI or Design Projects, contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org