Nathanaël Gourdin: Be a Hunter and a Gatherer

Managing Director of Studio Gourdin

by Elizabeth Lavis


05 Feb 2024

Gold Winner in Wayfinding for Graphic Design 2023
“I want people to feel addressed by design. It should always be an interaction and our goal is to establish a relationship with the product”

Nathanaël Gourdin, Managing Director of Studio Gourdin, has some interesting advice for up-and-coming designers that harks back to our paleolithic human roots. “The human is a hunter and gatherer,” he says. “If you’re a designer, just open your eyes and visually collect everything you can. Don’t forget history. You can learn so much from artists, architects, and designers no matter whether they’re modern or from the past.”

Gourdin also believes in taking risks. “The best piece of advice I’ve ever heard is that you don’t go far enough for fear of going too far.” He also believes in trusting that design can make the world a better place and handles the delicate work/life balance by spending time with family, playing tennis, and thinking about his next artistic project. “I also have guilty pleasures,” he says. “I love meat and driving fast.”  

His roots play a big part in his design ethos. “I grew up in France as the son of a German mother and a French father,” he says. “At an early age, I came into contact with other cultures and languages and traveled a lot. It probably had an important influence on my work as a ‘translater.’” Gourdin’s natural aptitude for design was evident at the age of nine when he dreamt of designing cars. “I’ve just loved cars forever,” he says. “I’ve always been interested in their shapes and how much power form has on feelings.” 

"Telegraph Berlin", Studio Gourdin GmbH

Nowadays, art is one of the primary ways that Gourdin fuels his creative spark. “Art is an unbelievable source of inspiration,” he says. “That’s why I also run an artistic project at the intersection of art and design.”

For Gourdin, the most essential aspect of design is its appeal. “I want people to feel addressed by design. It should always be an interaction, and our goal is to establish a relationship with the product.” He stays creative under pressure by taking ample time and remembering to unplug and connect with the natural world. “I take my time and have a look at the art. Then I just walk through the forest for an hour, listening to all the noises and looking at nature. Walking is always refreshing. I change my focus for a short while,” he says.

He also maintains trust and rapport with clients through transparent dialogue. “We always try to feel our clients’ needs and thoughts as precisely as possible. Cooperation is the way,” he says.

Ultimately, Gourdin derives a lot of satisfaction from his job and the novelty it brings. “Every day is a new experience and a chance to learn more about life,” he says. Looking forward, he would love to see his artistic projects weave themselves more into daily business, and his goals are oriented toward learning and exploring new ideas. “The three goals I have moving forward are to always fight for good ideas, question myself, and try to think outside the box,” he says. 

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