Our Creative Director Nikki Burton has been featured in the current edition of Women in Design. A monthly magazine from the Design Calendar exploring the theme of failure.
The special edition is described as: ‘A collection of colourful stories from women in the community who are shaping and redefining what it means to be a Designer in this new decade. There is no single voice for creatives. There are women all around who can support, nurture and guide you…prepare for life lessons, laughs and seriously good advice from your design sisters.’
Here’s what Nikki had to say:
Where do you live and work now? How does it influence your work?
I live in North London, and work at Perq Studio in Holborn. We have the City, Covent Garden, Soho and the Southbank all on our doorstep – it’s a buzz of activity that’s hard to beat and definitely keeps my thinking fresh! Our studio is based in LABS, a beautifully designed space with lots of member perks like yoga, talks and socials. It’s a place where our creativity can thrive because all our creature comforts are looked after and it gives us the space to hold workshops and meet other like-minded people to expand our perspectives.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got to where you are today, and what you’re up to now?
With a BA in Communications Design and extensive sector experience across property, retail, beauty and B2B, I am that rare breed of versatile designer who doesn’t believe in set styles and pride myself on having the skills and vision that can flex beyond what’s expected in any given sector to give clients authentic, relevant and remarkable communications. I think my education really set me up for this, as they instilled the power of the ‘big idea’ in us, stressing that creative freedom comes first, channel and execution follows.
I’ve been with Perq Studio since 2018 and I use my strategic and creative capabilities to distil the essence of a brand and deliver it cohesively and consistently both online & offline across all touchpoints.
Every day I bring a passion for stand-out creative, with a relentless ambition to surprise and delight clients. The most important thing to me is finding the right solution for our clients, not necessarily what’s on trend from year to year as that doesn’t work for everyone. Even though it is always good to have an eye on what’s going on, it doesn’t mean you have to follow, you need to carve out your own path.
What three words best describe your personality, your work, your style?
My personality: sparky. I definitely like to get to know my clients and my team and have a good time while delivering outstanding work!
My work: surprising. I like to always push briefs further, giving clients what they didn’t even know they wanted, but that is just right for them!
My style: eclectic. I dye my hair ginger and float around in bold patterns, leather accents and pink suede boots.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Be impeccable with your word, don’t take anything personally, don’t make assumptions, and always do your best. (The four agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz). If you live your life by these principles you can’t go wrong. But it’s really hard and you need to remind yourself daily!
What advice would you give to other women who are aspiring creatives?
Keep at it, keep pushing your creative to find those solutions. For example, if you are creating a brand logo, get away from your screen and sketch out every rough idea. 9 times out of 10 I surprise myself with the freedom pen and paper bring (and I am not an illustrator!) and the co-creation that can happen with clients using rough ideas. People always push things further when they can be part of the journey.
Who are your women mentors or inspirations?
Tough question because I draw inspiration and guidance from so many different avenues. I love reading personal development, spiritual/ philosophical books. The learnings from my yoga teacher training (and even attending classes) is something I always use in my day to day life. The universe and human nature fascinates me! I love to listen to podcasts, especially the directness of Mary Portas and the vulnerability of Brené Brown. And most of all friends, family and colleagues all inspire me in so many different ways, I surround myself with damn good people!
What are you most passionate about at the moment?
I have recently been made Company Director so it’s a hugely exciting time as we define our processes and articulate our culture. My current baby is creating our own brand handbook. It’s amazing to be building such a great company together, I often pinch myself!
What are some goals you have for your future work?
It’s not a cop out but I want to continue to do the best work possible for clients and win more awards! I want to do more personal branding workshops and write a book with Laura to really share experiences, tools, processes and help others!
What do you struggle with most?
Self belief. Yes, it’s true I suffer from imposter syndrome as much as the next person. I still get those jitters walking into a client presentation. Is this good enough? Will they catch me out this time? Am I a fraud? Luckily, I have the support of a great team, who constantly remind me I have the skills to pay the bills!
How do you keep motivated?
I genuinely love what I do, and I am surrounded by people who also extremely passionate about what they do, so this is great motivation. We support and lift one another up when we need to. At Perq Studio we have implemented a four day work week having every Tuesday off! We call this #Tuesplay! It’s a great way to refresh and enrich ourselves… better balance that avoids burnout. We all feel energised and work really hard 4 days a week.
Which books, podcasts or films would you recommend and why?
The Four Agreements. Whenever anyone asks me about books this is the one everyone should have in their bookshelf! I read it again and again as it’s the principles I want to live my life by, helping me to check in with myself, understanding that the whole world does not revolve around me. Everyone is going about their business in their bubble. If someone bumps you on the tube it isn’t about you, it’s not a personal attack, maybe they have a scary meeting they are running late for! They are not out to get you!
You can really draw perspective for human interaction and life situations from this book. And every time I read it I draw new inspirations and learnings from it.
This interview first appeared in ‘Women in Design’ 2020. Grab your print edition here.