Re-Imagining the Next Big Design. Finding Inspiration Everywhere.
“I’m a people watcher,” product designer Spencer Nugent confesses. “It sounds strange, but I find a lot of inspiration in airports. I see opportunities to do something differently.” This inspiration often feeds into Nugent’s work with big brands such as Intel, HP and Hasbro.
Challenging the Design Status Quo
Nugent and his team from Studio Tminus travel around the country helping clients bring new life to product ideas. “Sometimes when a company has been working on a problem for a long time, it’s tough to keep a fresh perspective. We come in and take a critical look and offer some new ideas.”
Nugent’s sketches and designs often take a product team down a new path. Sometimes the Tminus team’s work finds its way to market. When they partnered up with Body Glove, they helped design a rugged yet stylish case for the iPhone 5 that would appeal to Body Glove’s athletic audience.
Before jumping into product design, Nugent was on the path to becoming a math teacher. But Nugent was also inspired by his dad who was a painter. “My work as a product designer stems from the love of creating. I’m fascinated by the creative process,” he says. Nugent also loves drawing and despite his busy schedule, he still finds time to create a sketch every day for his website, Sketch-a-Day.
Nugent and his design partner and co-founder of TMinus, John Muhlenkamp, started Tminus in 2009 after they were furloughed from their studios. “We didn’t want to sit around so we decided to start our own agency. It was a rough first year, but now we have a lot of momentum. We’re spending less time searching for clients. They are finding us.”
The design work for Nugent and Muhlenkamp often begins after some ground work has been laid. The client’s team may have selected materials that Tminus will need to work with in their designs. Nugent then starts collaborating with the client in real time in a face-to-face meeting. “There’s a power in being physically close to someone. When we work together, it saves the time when you’re going back and forth on revisions.”
Nugent’s clients are all over the country, so he’s frequently traveling to see them. “When I’m traveling, I try to be as efficient as possible with my time and what I’m carrying on the plane.”
Mobility and Creativity Combine for a Faster Workflow
Nugent is now traveling with the Cintiq Companion, Wacom’s first truly mobile Cintiq. The Cintiq Companion combines all of the features of a premium Windows* 8 tablet with creative features of a Cintiq, such as on-screen controls, a full HD, 13.3” wide-screen display and 2048 levels of pen-pressure sensitivity.
“Most of the time I’m using a 2-D sketching or photo manipulation package to produce my concepts.” Nugent says, “The Cintiq Companion improves my creativity and workflow because it allows me access to my full creative arsenal. Seamlessly running Autodesk* Sketchbook Pro, Adobe* Photoshop and other programs has been amazing.”
The mobility of the Cintiq Companion also aids Nugent’s process. “I don’t work in a linear fashion. I need to step away from a problem to find a solution,” he says.
Often stepping away means heading outside or going home and working on the couch. “The Cintiq Companion delivers the performance and creative tools I need, all while working remotely. Without the need for cables, I can work where I want and where I feel would be the most inspiring, whether that’s at the beach or in my neighborhood park.”
Before using the Cintiq Companion, Nugent’s workflow involved sketching with a pen and paper, then scanning the work and processing digitally. With the Cintiq Companion, Nugent skips the sketching and scanning phases and sketches right on the Cintiq Companion. “Using the Cintiq Companion, I’m able to go from quick concept sketch to rendering in no time. Not only am I able to create high quality concepts for my clients, but I’m able to do so comfortably in an environment that facilitates my creativity,” says Nugent.
Mobile Tech Brings Balance to Work and Life
These efficiencies are doubly important – it means the Tminus team can meet a tight deadline with ease and it means Nugent has more time to spend with his family at home. “My boys love the Cintiq Companion too – one of my boys always wants me to sketch something red,” says Nugent.
Nugent sees his workflow changing even more as he integrates the Cintiq Companion further into his process. “I see this being an interactive whiteboard, where I’m able to present and annotate concepts to my clients in a live setting.”
It is these concepts that keep Nugent going. “I get to make cool stuff and make a living,” he says. “I’d create anything.”
Watch the video for more on how Spencer Nugent uses the Cintiq Companion in his product design work.
For more information on Spencer Nugent, visit his websites, Studio Tminus and Sketch-a-Day.
Click here for more information on the Cintiq Companion.