10 Minutes With Designer Nick Wright
Written by Steven Thomas Kent
Nick Wright joined LaFleur in late 2017 as a web developer and designer. Nick graduated from Michigan State University in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in media and information, then worked as a freelancer and an in-house designer for a distribution company before he became a full-time member of the LaFleur team.
We caught up with Nick for a few minutes to talk about his work with LaFleur, his favorite hobbies, and the decidedly non-classical inspirations for his designs and artwork.
LaFleur: So, tell us about what you do here at LaFleur.
Nick Wright: Well, my official title is front-end developer and designer. I basically create and update visuals for client websites, advertising assets, and other contexts. I also work across teams to coordinate content and design.
LF: How did you get into design? Was it something you were always interested in?
NW: In community college, I took design classes and those were my favorite. I liked giving a polish to things, and as you learn how to use more tools and get more creative knowledge, that just improves. And I always had a pretty good understanding of how logic works, and I liked just kind of picking up tools to solve problems.
So, after starting at community college, I transferred to Michigan State University in their Media and Information program, which is basically a combination of interactive web design, game design, and film studies. I liked it because I was able to combine creativity with problem-solving to start building websites and understanding code.
LF: What’s your favorite part of working at LaFleur?
NW: The variety of projects. It’s nice — it’s a hard switch sometimes, but it’s refreshing to go from creating a logo or graphic for a client to going on the back-end of a website to fix something.
LF: How would you describe your design style, in a sentence or two?
NW: Hm. I would say it’s a variety of things, but my designs are usually pretty empathetic — I try to focus on the user or viewer and what their needs are. I also identify a lot with minimalism. I really try to avoid fluff and take away unnecessary filler between the user’s intent and whatever theme or feeling I’m trying to get across.
LF: Where do you get your inspiration from? Do you have a favorite artist or design movement?
NW: That’s a tough one. Honestly, I follow a lot of video game designers and a lot of graphic novelists. I really love the games from studios like Media Molecule, who make LittleBigPlanet, and Naughty Dog, who make The Last of Us. As for graphic novelists, one of my favorites is Sam Bosma, who does a pretty crazy and creative series called Fantasy Sports.
LF: I can definitely see video games inspiring a lot of younger artists and designers. I don’t really play new games anymore myself, but the scope and detail of some of the newer games are just astounding. Do you have any recent favorites?
NW: The new Zelda game, Breath of the Wild, is amazing. I think I convinced like three people at my old job to buy [Nintendo] Switches just from talking about that game. Also, Fortnite is really doing it for me lately.
LF: What else do you like to do in your non-work, non-gaming time?
NW: In my free time, I like to do a bit of athletic stuff. I’ve gone rock climbing twice recently, and I really like that a lot. I also do a lot of painting, usually with acrylics or watercolors. I paint sort of cartoon-inspired characters and surreal scenarios. It’s a little hard to describe.
LF: What’s something about you that tends to surprise people?
NW: I guess it’s that I’m pretty creative and like to do a variety of artsy things.
LF: See, maybe it’s because I work with you and know you’re a designer, but I would have said the rock climbing was more surprising than that.
NW: Yeah, I guess that’s true. People in college were always surprised to learn that I wrestled for six years. I try to be well-rounded.
LF: Anything else you want to tell us?
NW: I bought a new non-stick pan that I’m pretty excited about.
LF: Congrats. So you like to cook a lot, then?
NW: Nope. Well, enough to live and get by.
LF: What’s your go-to dish to impress a date?
NW: I’m gonna go with my sizzlelini. You sort of fry up some noodles, spaghetti sauce, sausage, chicken, peppers, all the usual Italian-type vegetables — it’s a simple dish, but I think I’ve almost perfected it.