Matthew Waldman [nooka]
What is your specialty?
NOOKA creates physical manifestations of ideas – bringing the revolution of interface design to lifestyle. we are best known for our innovation line of time pieces.
Where can we view your portfolio online?
What made you interested in design?
growing up in 1970s NYC presented many opportunities to see how design and planning affects the human condition in both positive and negative ways. learning about 19th and 20th century urbanism plus an obsession with space travel were the initial sparks of inspiration for me.
What has been your professional career path?
freelance graphic design as a teen – opened my own design studio with a college friend when 19 – moved to tokyo at age 22 to do advertising/corporate communication – [back in nyc] associate art director at a major fashion magazine and multi-cultural art director for advertising in the early 1990s – started an interactive design studio in 1997 with japanese investors [designed NOOKA as a side project, then licensed to SEIKO for a short time], ran international in-house creative studio for REUTERS, founded NOOKA Inc. in 2004!
Have you received any awards for your work in the field of design?
yes, PRINT magazine, ONE show silver pencil, induction into Japan Industrial Design Association permanent collection, 2012 dieline award for packaging...
What is your motivation? What makes you get up in the mornings?
we are moving towards a truly more integrated world culture requiring greater levels of human cooperation. design and fashion demonstrate the power of global language without the emotional arguments of multiculturalism. knowing that my designs bring optimism for these goals to people is all the motivation i need.
How would you define your design style?
global chic minimalism.
How do you promote and move your work?
with no marketing budget, we rely on PR endeavors, social media and word-of-mouth. we also create local community art events with my character, the nookanooka, in cities around the world.
In which new areas would you like to experiment?
apparel, mobile communications, synthetic language, wearable computing, bio-engineered objects.
Shapes, color, concept: where do you usually begin when conceiving a design?
i never begin with a shape or color. i always start with an idea, an emotion, a desired effect in the end-user. the design part is easy. creating an object that embodies the core ideals of the concept is the exciting challenge.
What are your sources for documentation and to generate ideas?
the internet, software, pen, pencil and paper, clay, cardboard, reference books...
Which festivals or awards in your field do you find most interesting?
i love design week in NYC and in Tokyo. i am totally turned-off of awards shows as they are engineered to favor only well funded brands and designers/studios.
What is your favourite type of customer?
NOOKA products are so unique that there is no such thing as a casual consumer for us. i honestly love all of my customers as their support is a vote for the optimism of futurism and techno-progressivism.
To a certain point, is copying justifiable?
copying is not justifiable when done consciously, and there are intellectual property laws in place to protect against this. that said, there are companies and brands that are better suited to bring ideas to market with more success. mutual respect of ownership of ideas and creating win-win business scenarios is a wonderful goal everyone should pursue.
List some things you dislike seeing in design.
design one-liners [for example: porcelain versions of paper milk cartons],
nostalgia for anything from past centuries,
fake eco-conscious design.
Do you believe the newer generations are better at designing?
this is impossible to answer in real-time. let's revisit in 20 years.
With which type of client would you decline in working for?
cigarette and dairy
How do you calculate budgets for a design project?
time and materials projection, production run for first run and life of product, value add for cool-factor of NOOKA.
Which professionals in your field -contemporary or past- do you most admire?
Which software applications do you most utilize in your work?
my brain. i read somewhere that the brain is quite soft and mushy.
Up to what point do your designs reflect your personality?
i think you need to ask a psychiatrist to get an accurate answer. my design work reflects an idealized version of my world and not the reality of it! my designs are focused, clean and thematically singular. no one would use those adjectives to describe my personality.
How do you distinguish passing fads from mainstays in new trends?
i don't see the need to distinguish them. "fads" are only "fads" when they end like pet rocks! baggy jean hanging off the butt was called a "fad" over 10 years ago yet is proving to be persistent visual pollution. to me it is more important to analyze and understand collective cultural psychology.
If you weren't a designer, what would you be doing?
antigravity engineer, evolutionary biologist or a linguist.
At this moment, what would be your dream job or project?
creating a global ad and marketing campaign for NOOKA!
Can you see yourself in this field twenty years from now?
Which design resources online do you frequently visit?