Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Interview - Nate Archer

Nate Archer taps away at the keyboard. I can totally relate to this photo! - ie it's past midnight, I'm still up, haven't stopped for dinner, wearily formatting photos and coding content and wondering why it is so impossible to blog more than 24 hrs in advance!

Nate Archer's Timpins! These brooches depict a famous Canadian sweet treat called the Timbit....? (Not to be confused with a donut!) Very mysterious! More info here on MocoLoco.

Nate Archer is one of Designboom's editors, and he's in Melbourne this week for Designboom Mart. (This is admittedly my 3rd plug for Designboom Mart in 2 days - are you convinced yet?!). Nate also charmed the crowds at Pecha Kucha last night, and will be speaking again at Design Capital this Friday July 17th. How full is your diary!? Mine is seriously bursting at the seams!

Nate is based in Toronto Canada - from here he relentlessly researches, writes and edits Designboom content, and seems to also manage a personal web presence on every other possible platform you can think of - from his fantastic blog, to del-icio-us (I know I really should know what that is by now), to Tumbler, facebook, Flickr and Twitter.... I guess it's all in a day's work for a professional blogger!

Read on for an insight into Nate's background and the inner workings of Designboom in Milan!

Tell us a bit about your background – what led you to working with Designboom?

Well I am from Toronto, Canada and studied Industrial Design at the Ontario College of Art and Design. After graduating I applied to work as an intern with designboom. I had been a long time reader of the site and really enjoyed the site’s perspective on every aspect of design. I was hired by the company and moved to Milan, where they are based. I spent eight months living in Italy learning the ropes at designboom and then moved back to Toronto, where I now live and work.

These photos are from Nate's Day x Day Project - daily photolog of toronto.

How was the move from Toronto to Milan?

Part of the reason I was so excited to work for designboom was living in Milan. I am an avid traveler and had never been to Italy before. I previously lived in Amsterdam for a bit so I had some experience adjusting to new cultures. Milan is a great city with some amazing architecture and some of the best art I have ever seen. The city also has a great atmosphere and lots of friendly people. One of my favourite things about Milan was the weekly food market on my street. I would regularly go to get great food and see the colourful cast of vendors. As soon as I returned to Toronto, I started to miss Milan and hope to go back soon.

Can you give us a bit of an insight into the inner workings of Designboom? How are the editorial staff organised, how many additional contributors help out, how on earth do you keep up with everything?!

Designboom is a fairly small company despite its big online presence. At the moment there are nine people working for designboom. The three owners of the company direct the company and the other six all do various things from writing to photography and graphic design. Because we are so small we can be very mobile to see and do lots of things. The whole staff is very diverse and comes from all over the world. We are all very autonomous and each handle specific aspects of the site. Keeping up with everything is quite a task, but we try and do our best. We are always reading and going to events to stay up on all the latest news.

What does a typical day at work involve for you?

Because I am located in Toronto, I have a different schedule from the staff in Milan. My day usually begins by checking email and the site to see what the rest of designboom is working on. once I do that, I usually begin researching ideas for articles. I then send out emails to designers, galleries and artists to discuss there work. When I have gathered enough material for an article I begin writing it and also start selecting images. Once I have finished, I post all the material online and the public can then look at it on the site.

Day x Day Project - daily photolog of toronto.

What would be your dream creative project or collaboration?

My personal dream creative project would be something in the realm of design for society. Whether it is with the government or a non-profit organization, I would really like the chance to apply design thinking to complex social problems. Most of the time designers focus too much on consumer goods and forget that there are bigger problems in the world than finding a product to suit your personal style.

What are you looking forward to?

I am looking forward to the future of design. I am admittedly an optimist and I’m very excited by all the new projects and boundless creativity I see everyday. Imagining the possibilities of the future is really inspiring.

Day x Day Project - daily photolog of toronto.

Which 5 websites are daily reads for you?

They always have a great collection of interesting stories from many different fields.

Michael writes one of the best personal blogs about design and a lot of other things too.

Putting people first
This site does an amazing job at finding some of the best design articles from all over the web with a focus on experience design.

I am a big music nerd so I regularly check pitchfork to track my favourite bands and find out about new ones (I try to ignore the scores).
I also have an interest in fashion and this site does a really good job of tracking it all

Nate's desk Circa 2007? I like the feet on the chair ;)

Visit Nate at Designboom Mart and/or Design Capital this week!

Designboom Mart

Trade only days - Thurs 16th and Fri 17th July - 10am - 5pm
Open to the Public - Sat 18th, Sun 19th July - 10am - 5pm
$10 entry (includes entry to Design Made Trade)

Melbourne Exhibition Building, Nicholson st, Carlton

Design Capital

Design Day - Friday 17th July
Prices / sessions vary - see the website for details

BMW Edge, Federation Square, CBD


  1. Those timpins look like stones or pebbles too! Quite cute. Am excited about tonight, hope to see you there!

  2. Wow - what a neat guy!
    Really interesting, Ms Lucy.
    Thank you!

  3. Thanks for taking the time to interview me Lucy! The article is great.