New things, NUU things: a year in review

Jez Babarczy
Matter of Perspective, New Things

2018 is almost over, so I guess it’s time for 2019.

It’s the end of the year. And at the end of the year, it’s typical to take at least a few minutes to reflect on the things that we did or didn’t do. Isn’t this the time of year when everyone writes down some New Year’s resolutions to (inevitably) ignore?

Do you love where you work? We do. And while other companies talk about innovation and design, NUU is actually doing interesting and meaningful work to make people’s lives easier and better. So naturally, we talk about it.

Ah, new NUU things. Here’s a glimpse into what happened this past year.

Growing, growing, growing

We grew a bit. In the time that’s passed since August 2017, we’ve gone from 7 people to over 37. Headed into 2019, we’ve got a team composed of designers, developers, videographers, animators, strategists, copywriters and account folks who are gettin’ things done.

Have you met Pepe, a designer with a trifold grasp of editorial design, branding and photography who is constantly wowing the rest of us? Maybe Nadia, our digital design lead and pixel-wizard? Doc teaches our team software engineering techniques in his spare time, and José has an eye behind the camera that’s spawned brand commercials, documentaries and films alike. And Carissa, our Creative Director who creative directs us so well? Her talent is world-renowned—and Houston-famous. Houston, like, knows her.

People are important to us, and we happen to have the best people.

Retreat yo’self

Once a year everyone at NUU attempts to leave their desk and go hang out together somewhere for a bit. In 2018, half our team hit the skies to visit the other half of our team in Querétaro, Mexico.

It’s important for our team to get out and get together. We need a chance to inspire each other, embody our own values (see below), and relax. If all the various disciplines within NUU spend time with each other, we’ll understand each other better—and be better professionally because of it.

We believe — don’t you?

Speaking of values, we wrote ours down this year. Our values keep us aligned. Without values, we’re all just a blubbering mess of pixels and code.

(1) Explore everything. We’ll never be done learning. (2) Collaboration makes us better. It’s important to develop a deep understanding of each other’s aspirations and work together. (3) Diversity of anything is good. We value the differences in ideas and people. (4) Family is key. We care about each other and are thrilled when we succeed. (5) Move fast and stay fluid. There’s nothing more restraining than structure that holds creativity rigid, rather than setting it free. (6) Be a good person. Why do we do the things we do every day?

Read more about it here.

Launching NUU things

It’s hard (or impossible) for us to stand still sometimes. There’s just all this creative energy bubbling below the surface with nowhere to go. But it’s got to go somewhere, so we ask our people what they’re passionate about and we go do those things. Also, we work to pay the bills.

  • Two guys from our Houston office launched Good Measure and hosted two all-weekend-long brand sprints, bringing in an agency-agnostic creative class from all over the city to do good things. They’re headed to NYC and LA next.
  • We kickstarted an arm of NUU Group that works specifically with sports clients called Veer (and signed FIFA as a client!)
  • Our team worked really, really, really hard on a new NUU brand and a new NUU website to showcase our culture, our people, our work and our offices.
  • NUU joined the Creative Alliance, a group of leading creative companies (including 72andSunny, Comedy Central, Mekanism, Facebook—and many others), and launched Civic Nation’s new brand and website.
  • We were the creative partner to the AGI Open 2018, a global conference in Mexico City organized by the Alliance Graphique Internationale, a professional gathering of the world’s leading graphic designers, with 528 members from 42 countries.
  • Wait, let’s go back to that last point—the NUU team hung out with some of the world’s leading designers (like Paula Scher, Tin & Ed, Karin Fong and more) and we’ve got a short documentary on design coming your way really, really soon.
  • We were lucky to work all over the world, with projects in NYC, Mexico, Guatemala, the Netherlands, India, Germany and—of course, Houston and Querétaro because we love our homes.
  • It’s been a blast speaking around the country on the importance of culture and diversity for creativity and innovation within organizations big and small. Our friends at Accenture have hosted NUU a few times now.
  • NUU has been lucky enough to work with the startup ecosystem in Houston, always championing the efforts of entrepreneurs as they continue to put our city on the map.
  • We launched Printyard, a full service printing solution, no matter the scale or ambition. Here we come, custom-designed-full-scale-experiential-brand-installations (and merch)!
  • We sponsored Creative Mornings Houston throughout the year, and even had one of our people give a CM talk on chaos, order and how purpose can align your team and mindset when things get a bit crazy.
  • There were literally (nah, figuratively) 80 links in the bulleted list above. Choose your clicks wisely, young Padawan.

Next year, please

With so much groundwork laid in 2018, NUU Group has never been better positioned for growth, and for pushing the limits of what’s possible. It’s been a ride, and I’m grateful to have been a part of it. In 2019, we will continue to rally good people to do great work and change the world.

No small feat—but if 2018 has taught me anything, it’s that nothing is impossible with the right people around you.

So there you have it. Let me know if you’ve got any questions about NUU or our team or just want to chat about shaking shit up and doing stuff that’s interesting, meaningful and beautiful.