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Shed Sessions: Nat Whitty

Nat Whitty is our Studio Director, and honestly - we would be lost without her. Not only does she bring years of design experience and expertise to the Potting Shed party, but she is also a decorated athlete; recently winning several island wide long-distance events and raising £1,635 for Pancreatic Cancer UK by running for 40 consecutive days.

Nat is a leading voice in the culture development and HR management of our business, always going above and beyond to help her colleagues and clients feel heard and valued.

We are thrilled to introduce you to Nat and delve into her passions, role at Potting Shed, and thoughts on how creativity impacts the world. So, kick back, brew a cup of tea, and get ready to get to know our one-of-a-kind studio director Nat.

Firstly, can you explain your role at Potting Shed and what an average day looks like for you?

That’s a harder question than it should be! I do a bit of most things, actually. As a designer I get things working while still looking beautiful, retaining the core creative concept and style. I also make sure things are ‘on brand’, consistent with the rest of a brand’s collateral. While a pure Creative might be more focussed on the concept and overall feel, I am focussed on the details and the technical side of the job. I liaise directly with a lot of clients and do a small amount of project management on jobs too. I also make sure that the studio itself is in good order and that everyone in it is happy. 

My role is varied so the only real consistent is that you’ll find me juggling a lot of different things. That could be small text amends to adverts, brochures, forms or websites, rolling out of a full brochure or various web pages, working on html emails, choosing Pantone colours for a brand, editing animated videos, ordering office supplies or, most importantly, checking in on my colleagues.

We know you are a fantastic athlete, can you tell us a bit more about how you got into it and what that aspect of your life means to you?

I’m not sure about fantastic, but I am a runner and I’m currently getting back into the competitive side of the sport. I used to play basketball and got into running purely to increase my fitness for this. I found I just loved running. You are not beholden to anyone else’s schedule, you do it whenever you want: just put on your trainers and go. Running has a few different aspects for me. I love being fit and healthy generally, plus I eat a lot of chocolate so it’s a good balance! I can work really hard during a session and all my focus is on that moment, or I can go for an easy run and have time to either think about nothing, or everything, it’s my mindfulness, I guess.

What three things make a great designer?

1. A great eye for detail is essential.
2. Being a good problem solver.
3. Patience and persistence.

What is the weirdest dream you have ever had?

Though not particularly weird, I often dream about plane crashes. It’s always a massive crash but everyone survives. The latest one was the day before I was due to fly and we were on a massive jumbo jet. Soon after a very sharp take off followed a very sharp descent. The plane crash landed, snapped in two and exploded into fire. Despite that, there was just about enough time for everyone to escape. Lucky.

What’s wrong but sounds right?

Optical kerning on properly designed fonts. Also, Kevin Bacon founded an organisation that re-homes rescued factory farm pigs.

What inspires you the most?

People. The human story as well as the human element of design is fascinating.

How can creativity change the world?

Creativity isn’t only about creating beautiful images, it’s finding new solutions, moving forwards, pushing boundaries. Creative thinking involves opening the mind and finding different ways of doing things. It’s allowing yourself and your mind to be free enough to explore and express. Without creativity we’d just be stagnant.

What are you learning at the moment?

I’m working on a bit of hand lettering in my spare time. I love hand-formed art and the personality and expressiveness it brings. I also love typography so this allows me some time to really think about the meaning and voice behind it. At work I’m brushing up on Editor X for website work. I’ll always try and keep up to date with the latest tools in the programmes I use regularly as well, just to make sure I’m always efficient and not stuck in old ways.

How would you like to leave the world a better place?

I’d like people to be more aware and empathetic of others. It’s easy to become lost in your own situation, but every individual has an impact on someone else, whether you realise it or not. Think before you act and remember that even the smallest action or gesture can make a big difference to someone else, so make a little time for them.

What’s the worst sport? How would you make it better?

Oh no, I’m really hoping my friend doesn’t read this... Golf. Or cricket. They’re just too slow paced for me to find interesting. I’d make it faster... Speed golf. Maybe they’re chased by alligators. You don’t wait for the previous golfer to finish their shot, so you’re also having to dodge incoming golf balls.

Read our Shed Sessions with MarikeSilvieTomAlKeelie, and RJ.

Author Luke Vidamour