Welcome Nicole Procter to New Kind
Say hello to Nicole Procter, a Junior Designer and one of the newest New Kinders on our team. I had the chance to talk with Nicole about growing up in Pfafftown, her passion for design, and lots more.
Where is home for you?
I grew up in Pfafftown, North Carolina, which is about 30 minutes outside of Winston-Salem. I lived there my entire life—same house, parents still live there.
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Creative – As a graphic designer, it kinda comes with the territory. Usually I express my creative streak through painting and, of course, graphic design. I draw sometimes, too, but I don’t think I’m quite as good at that.
Learning – When I don’t know something I like to look things up and learn. I’ve always been naturally curious in that way; I like to know things. Most of what I’ve learned throughout school has been aided by this DIY approach to just figuring things out.
Mysterious – My friends will say this a lot, and I suppose I see what they mean. I can be somewhat withdrawn until you get to know me, and people will say that I’m “mysterious” when they first meet me. I tend to think that what they’re really seeing is introversion manifesting itself as mystery.
So why New Kind?
In my final year of design school, (New Kind CEO) Matt Muñoz spoke to our class, and described the process of design as a business, outlined the Brand Layers, and how everything works at New Kind—and it all resonated with me. Seeing how things are structured, building a story so you know where you’re going as an organization. It just clicked for me. I spoke with him after his presentation and started the conversation. After being here for a few months now, I would add that I value how community-oriented New Kind is. I really enjoy doing work for the community so our mission-driven culture is very important to me.
What inspires you?
I find inspiration in all kinds of places. Traveling, for one. Learning about other cultures in that hands-on sort of way, observing the world around you. Ideas can come from anywhere, so I like going to see and do and try things. My peers inspire me as well. I like running my ideas past other people because everyone has a unique perspective and expertise to bring to the table.
How did you know what you wanted to be when you grew up?
I’ve always loved art ever since I was little. My mom would do crafts with me, so I credit her for planting that seed. In kindergarten I really loved my art teacher and thought that art education might be for me. Moving through middle and high school, I started doing more things on the computer, especially with an e-media class I took in high school. That’s when I really started to explore graphic design as a career possibility. I took my first course in graphic design at my local career center, and I absolutely fell in love. I had always gravitated toward art and technology, so bringing those together with a splash of problem solving…mix it all up and that’s what brought me to where I am now!
Do you have any personal hobbies or interests? What do you do for fun?
I like to paint, and I’ve been meaning to do that more. We have a massive blank canvas propped on our mantle at home. It’s been there since the beginning of last school year and my roommates are seriously wondering if I’m ever going to actually paint it, haha. Reading is another passion of mine, especially the fantasy genre. Hanging out with friends, of course, and just generally trying new things. Yoga is on the list, but I just have to find the right studio.
Where is your favorite travel destination?
I’ve loved everywhere I’ve traveled, and I want to travel more—as much as possible. It’s so much fun. Europe in particular was really wonderful, especially some of the more rural, peaceful destinations away from the tourist scene. Across places like Ireland and Scotland, with so much natural beauty, serene landscapes, and the warm hospitality from the locals.
Who are your personal or professional heroes?
That’s a tough one. A designer I really like and saw speak once was Michael Beirut. His description of how he comes up with ideas was really interesting. I have this book, How To, and hearing him speak was really inspiring. In terms of painters Monet was always my favorite, and you can see that in my own work. Most of my painting is also impressionistic in that style.
What’s your proudest achievement? Personal, work-related, whatever.
I graduated as Valedictorian of my graduating class at the N.C. State College of Design. I was pretty proud of that accomplishment. In high school I twice won the state title for the Skills USA graphic design competition, and one year went to the national competition and placed 5th. The competition tests both your creative and mechanical design skills, so I was really proud of being recognized for my abilities in both disciplines.
Read any good books lately?
Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman and The Ad-Free Brand by Chris Grams.
What’s playing on your Spotify right now?
All kinds of things, it really depends on my mood. Right now I’m listening to a lot of musicals. I’ve listened to all of Hamilton multiple times. Wicked. Dear Evan Hansen. Be More Chill. I’m definitely a big fan of musical theatre. I’ll usually stumble across a single song and then get hooked on the whole soundtrack that way.
Describe your perfect day.
It definitely starts with sleeping in. I’m not much of a morning person. I’d wake up naturally, not to an alarm clock, then have a cup of tea. Maybe it’s a little drizzly outside, nice and peaceful. I’d then do something creative: painting or reading. I’d of course hang out with some of my closest friends and just enjoy the rest of our day.
What do you wish you knew more about?
I’ve always thought it would be great to learn more crafting skills: how to sew or knit, for instance. Career-wise, I’d like to learn more about coding and UX, as design continues to move in a more tech-focused direction.
What do you hope to accomplish at New Kind?
More than anything I hope to keep learning. This is my first “real job” out of college, so just seeing how the design business works, learning about the work we do for our clients, developing my skills. I’d love to work on a project with larger social impact of some kind, something I definitely think is possible here at New Kind.
Could you name a person or people who’ve had the most impact on your life?
My parents, first and foremost, have always been really supportive—especially of my art and creative passions. I definitely feel lucky in that respect. My first graphic design teacher, as well. She really helped me know everything to be ready for college and give me a solid foundation to grow from. Most kids didn’t have graphic design courses in their high school, so that gave me a head start.
What do you enjoy most about Raleigh?
I’m still getting to know the city overall, especially the downtown area, so I’m excited to explore it more. I appreciate that Raleigh has a balance of city qualities — technology, the arts, etc. — but also isn’t so city-like that it’s crowded and big and overwhelming. It’s a place where you can get the experience of a city but still easily get out to the calmer, slower-paced rural areas.
What’s your spirit animal?
Typically I’m told a cat is my spirit animal. I definitely possess what some what refer to as cat-like qualities. “Aloof indifference” is how my roommates describe it. Cats are my favorite animal so I guess it suits me. I like them because they make sense to me. I’ll also sometimes be told an owl could be my spirit animal—and according to my family owls are basically flying cats, so I suppose that makes sense, too.