Mathew (spelt with a single T for unknown reasons) heads the user experience, design & creative side of EightFour. He claims to be a Kiwi despite knowing nothing about the national sport & doesn’t drink beer.
Mathew’s unique interest – something that he’s constantly drumming into the wider creative team – is centered around human psychology & unconscious behaviour & how the understanding of it is the most powerful force in design & business.
Starting off a traditional creative in an ad agency, Mathew’s morphed over his 17 year career into being a business centric design lead that handles pretty much all aspects of the creative process: from ideation, consultation, business analysis, swooning clients & putting together ridiculously elaborate prototypes & designs for ever more complex platforms.
Over the years he’s hopped from New Zealand to Australia to Kuala Lumpur to Singapore working for the world's biggest clients helping them build their brand in the online realm.
Combining the Kiwi chill with Singaporean Kiasu. Work hard play hard.
I take issue with the question. It’s assuming motivation correlates with morning wakefulness.
As far as I’m aware, no person who’s creative in nature is functional before 11am. Creative’s – notoriously right brained and therefore night owls – flourish at night. We struggle to get out of bed in the morning because we’ve spent an entire lifetime of going to bed late. Those hours after dinner are usually spent exploring design possibilities or over-thinking about work tomorrow. So while we’re usually stricken by fatigue & hopelessness in the morning, it’s dwarfed when compared to the amount of inspiration & creative energy that keeps us up at night.
Other than that, coffee.
It used to be the usual catch phrases – “user centric”, “making useful things” or some other hugely repeated maxim. Though these principles have their place, what comes first is & has always been building business. Let’s face it, without the business opportunity, UX doesn’t even get off the ground.
I think it’s a natural progression to move from designer to business analyst, which is a more foundational starting point – spending less time emerged in design tools & more time consulting with clients about their proposed digital endeavours.
That’s my main objective: business first. Nurturing & building it in the online realm.
I’m quite big on industrial & jewellery design if you can believe it. I went to Hong Kong a while back & became a certified GRS Gem Setter in an effort to expand my design repertoire. It’s great to be able to combine design work with something practical. I even set up a full workshop at home which was a bit of a splurge but I’ve always been a believer you should invest in your hobbies. They’re the things that keep you inspired… and sane.
Two places come to mind. First: I think most of it just comes from living and exposing yourself to new things. I think travel & exploration plays a big role. For many years I travelled almost every second week. I’d just pack my camera and go somewhere anywhere either alone or with friends & document the whole experience. For me that was an educational process as much as it was entertaining – learning about other cultures and people. Last year I spent three weeks in Italy which for me was an eye opener. I’ve never seen such beauty in architecture, culture & history. A huge amount of inspiration can be derived from travel.
Secondly: When I was younger I was lucky enough to have some pretty great mentors who gave me huge opportunities. I think mentorship is crucial. This is one of the reasons why I discourage remote working. Being exposed to great mentors in close quarters exposes you to generations of experience & teaches you how to think.
Design, collaborate with clients, presentations. I usually go to the gym during lunch to keep the body from collapsing. A good deal of the day is spent guiding the juniors in exploring creative possibilities.
We can do a lot