NickdeJardine (Creative Director & Creative Coder  at Grafik)

Nick is a creative director / web developer who operates through his company Grafik. He creates websites and identities for businesses within the creative sectors, helping individuals and companies to reach their potential.

Wellington, New Zealand • March 27, 2024

What led you into design?

Growing up in the 1980s, my love affair with design began when my parents purchased our first family computer, the mighty Commodore 64. Aged seven, I was fascinated with the design of various 8-bit games, especially the look and feel of each different interface. Not really knowing what I was doing, I would often dive under the hood to see how the games were made and hack away at the code.

This early experimentation ignited a creative curiosity in me, and when the WWW emerged, I was lucky enough to have a forward-thinking high-school teacher who got us making our first websites… in 1996! The subject matter I chose for my creation was my favourite band, Nine Inch Nails. Everything was centred, everything was moving (gifs), and everything was un-styled — a classically shithouse web 1.0 effort.

These early experiences with technology were my pathway into design, propelling me into the career I have today. I have some formal training in design but largely consider myself a self-taught designer, as well as a self-taught web developer.

What does a typical day look like?

I’ve never been a morning person, but that changed when I became a parent. A typical day for me starts with my alarm going off at 6:30am. I have a glass of water and then make myself the first of many cups of coffee for the day. After running through the morning routine and helping get my kids ready for school, I catch a 15-minute bus ride into my studio in Wellington City, arriving at around 8:15am.

Wellington is a compact city surrounded by native bush, hills and coastline, it's know for its film industry, creative sector and having some of the best coffee in the world. I have a small studio space in a 1960s office building on Victoria Street - it's an expressive modernist building with unique features. On my floor there's an art gallery, and my office is a self-contained space within the gallery. 

I spend my day working on a variety of projects, often switching between designing and coding at any given point. My brain seems to be able to work in two different frequencies, and I enjoy the challenge of doing everything on a project, it is immensely satisfying. I keep meetings to a minimum and focus on productivity, working for short intense periods, with short breaks. I have an array of clients both locally in New Zealand and abroad, I tend to accept work in timezones that bide well together with New Zealand — nobody likes taking a call at 9pm then trying to get to sleep afterwards!

I call it a day at around 4:30 p.m., then I walk home from the city. Taking a break from the computer in this manner and combining it with light exercise allows me to free my mind. More often than not, I can solve lingering problems as I walk.

What's your workstation setup?

I have a high-spec M2 MacBook Air paired with an Apple Studio display. The M2 which is an absolute beast of a machine, is probably the best computer I’ve ever owned. I was apprehensive about moving from a Macbook Pro to an Air, but It’s amazing how it's completely silent and strikes a perfect balance between power and portability. I sound like I’m gushing here, but I’ve owned it for two years now and still love it.

I use the Adobe suite and Figma for design work, and when developing my tech stack usually comprises of a headless CMS such as Prismic, Sanity or Cosmic with a Nuxt.js front-end hosted on Netlify. I use ES6 for javascript, SCSS for CSS and GSAP as my animation library. This architecture enables me to create highly custom, flexible and performant websites — that feel alive.

Where do you go to get inspired?

There's no single place that ticks every box for inspiration, but I have a few regular haunts that I like to visit:

I like to take ideas that I see in print and rework them for the web, I have a decent library of books that give me some great ideas that will never be found on pinterest, plus an unnatural skill of tracking down PDFs of books and publications that catch my eye 😏.

For web and interactive, I prefer exploring the lesser-known web galleries, which often showcase more interesting ideas when compared to the mainstream ones.

Ultimately though, these resources are just there to fill your bucket, real inspiration strikes in the shower, while you are cooking, or for me while you are exercising, i.e. when the mind is free to wander and connect ideas in new and unexpected ways.

What product have you recently seen that made you think this is great design?

The Knob is a low-profile mechanical keyboard by Designer Ben Fryc. The design evokes the look of both classic and modern technology, which I love.

What pieces of work are you most proud of?

I don't tend to have favourites, as I always like to move forward as a designer/developer. So here's a selection of websites and identities that I've completed in the last year.

A boutique website and identity for director Tom Gould.
A quirky website for the advertising agency Motion Sickness.
A website design system for the UX design agency Today Design.

What design challenges do you face at your company?

As I mostly work solo, my biggest design challenge revolves around not taking on too much work and selecting the right type of clients I work with. Both which I am still to master.

Taking on too much work is the perennial curse of the small studio. You want to keep things small and agile, but the work output needs to remains progressive, on-time and of a high-quality, all while allowing you a good work/life balance.

This is intrinsically linked to choosing the right client for you — those who are open to creative ideas and whose internal processes don't compromise or dilute the pursuit of great design.

What music do you listen to while designing?

Any advice for ambitious designers?

Your natural talent will only get you so far, success comes through hours and hours of dedication to the craft. There are no shortcuts.

Learn as much as you can from those with an older head, I see many young designers starting their own studio with huge gaps in their knowledge.

Don't be afraid of being a generalist — having a well-rounded skill set will significantly enhance your problem-solving abilities.

Stop building websites with amateur drag-and-drop tools like Wix and Webflow. These tools are rigid, producing slow and buggy websites that break at the slightest touch. It's never been easier to properly code a website where you can control everything! ChatGPT can teach you how to code and guide you through the whole process.

Don't complain, you have a job that 95% of workers are envious of. Count yourself lucky that you aren't having to spend 8 hours of the day writing reports or shovelling cement with a spade.

Anything you want to promote or plug?

Check out my portfolio and guestbook. You can also find me on Instagram, or feel free to drop me an email at