Sticky: Will Work For Love – Scott Eastman, Nanonation Inc., Lincoln, Nebraska
Gail Chiasson, North American Editor
Scott Eastman is creative director for Nanonation in Lincoln, Nebraaska.
- Describe your personal work space.
I keep my workspace fairly sparse to avoid letting my environment leak into client’s designs, but by no means does that mean my space is tidy. Bi-monthly purges keep my desk free of the mountains of sketches and notes that accumulate daily.
- How do you get to work?
I’ve been commuting an hour by car for the last several years and have just joined my third carpool. The drive is pretty relaxing except for a few treacherous days in the winter – and missed ‘happy hour’ specials on warm summer evenings.
- What is an average day like?
My day is a juggling act to keep myself accessible to my designers to review and direct their projects. I meet with other departments to finalize specific deployments and prospective new projects, and occasionally hide myself away to get some precious time to work on the projects I’ve claimed for myself.
- What is essential to you being able to workhappily?
Constant improvement! Because we tackle projects on the cutting edge, some become quite challenging. We’ve all accepted that and thrive on that kind of exploration. Taking the time internally to learn from past successes and failures guarantees that our work is never boring and constantly evolving.
The other unforgiving but fantastic thing is that,
because our projects are always measured by how much the public engages, we cannot ignore users once a project is deployed. They force us to examine what can be improved.
- How flexible are your working conditions?
Thankfully, very flexible. Like with many creative positions, the work can be sporadically demanding and it is necessary to pour extra effort into some projects on very short timelines. The flexibility to work where you’re comfortable, to come and go in the office after hours, play loud music, and wear anything (as long asyou’re not meeting with clients), makes it much easier to turn on that extra effort when it’s needed.
- What do you think your employer looks for in its staff?
I personally look for designers with strong empathy for the user. It is absolutely critical to understand why something may not be succeeding and to look as to how to improve the user experience.
In the wider company we look for people that are passionate about what they do and willing to explore the edges of their discipline. Creativity is absolutely not limited to just the design department. We ask everyone to look for new paths, technologies and ideas every day.
- What suggestions do you have for your company?
Luckily, we have a very open environment. My staff is welcome to bring any concerns, and our management team meets frequently, so any lightning bolts are usually shared fairly quickly.
- Do you have any frustrations you would like to share with us?
It still breaks my heart to see one of our most successful solutions get shelved or wither for reasons out of our control. Unfortunately funding can disappear, clients restructure, and great ideas get left behind without an advocate.
In those cases, the only thing we can do is toast our little orphan and try to find another project to pour that passion back into.
- What do you like best about your job?
I love the idea that we do not have a captive audience. Every day we must produce something of significant value to the public. If we do not provide information, a service or an experience that the public needs, our projects fail. We aren’t working within old advertising models anymore. The public will opt out of something dull, predatory, or exploitive.
This reality forces us to truly work toward mutually beneficial solutions that solve problems for both our clients and their clients.
- How open is your company to new ideas and suggestions?
Very open, occasionally too open! We’ve sometimes been bitten by chasing technologies before they’re completely mature. But this gives us a level of comfort when we choose to pursue our clients new passions or needs and bring them to production.
- How much responsibility have you been given?
I have a great deal of independence and responsibility, but at the same time I’m still accountable. Everyone has a valid opinion when it comes to design. I can make an esoteric argument why a particular design is more balanced, classically correct, or contemporary
but if it’s unclear or just ugly to a layperson, I need to listen to that.
- How green are you and your company?
Take me out of the survey and our company is very green, We have several people who bike to work when weather permits, and we’ve embraced telecommuting and a paperless workflow.
However, I’m still the guy driving two hours a day, and as a visual thinker, drawing on anything I can get my hands on to explain even the simplest idea is a must have.