Fundamental to the creation of an enduring watch design is the design of the watch face or dial. Find out how Brooklyn-based designer Nadia Shen created Mister Wolf's distinctive dial design... and where to get the best tacos with a view in Brooklyn.
Mister Wolf is a truly international brand. While based in Sydney, the components of our watches and the people involved in our watches design come from all around the world.
When it came to creating MW1, our first watch design, we enlisted the help of Nadia Shen of Britelines. Nadia is a graphic designer and strategist based in Brooklyn by way of Hong Kong.
She has an eye for tasteful, harmonious compositions and imaginative and intelligent design.
Here she shares some insights into her process and the design of the Mister Wolf MW1 watch.
Mister Wolf: What kind of work do you do typically, was this a new type of project for you?
Nadia Shen: This was definitely a new type of project for me. I haven’t worked in fashion very much or in product design. It was really exciting to take on something so different and something so new.
I have a small design studio here in Brooklyn and typically I do a lot of branding and digital design. I work mostly with architecture and interior design firms and on hospitality projects.
How did the founder of Mister Wolf – Leighton Clarke – find you and your studio Britelines?
It was through mutual friends. One of our mutual friends is a really close friend of mine from high school in Hong Kong and Leighton was looking for a designer so he put us in touch. I think we had a conversation and we seemed to be on the same page. I think I had a good understanding of what he was looking for and good communication so we decided to move forward.
How did you approach the brief if it was something you hadn’t done before?
I approached it in the same way I approach all of my projects. The first step that I did was to do a really careful brand audit. Take a look at the market and see what other people were doing and what the trends were, what people were gravitating towards. I think that is always a great way to start a project.
Then you put together a mood board of brands that are doing things really well and try and pin point what it is that makes them stand out. I think that really works in any category of design. From there we have a really great visual and verbal study for both me as the designer and for the client as well, to ensure we are on the right page and all ready to start from the same point.
This is really important because I think you can talk about things and I think creative and design people might have different ideas of what the final product should look like in their heads. But by starting with the mood board setting, you really have a visual reference and verbal cues so that you are both speaking the same language from the get go.
Mister Wolf watches are unisex, when you first thought about the watch design, who did you think would be wearing it? Who were you visualising?
I think generally Mister Wolf watches are for someone who is wanting something elegant and well-designed.
Leighton was very much about keeping the price point very affordable but also wanted things to be very high-end and to accentuate craftsmanship.
A watch should be pretty versatile. I think now people tend to have a couple of them and you can transition between them based on the season or your mood and they are a more casual accessory.
Can you tell me a bit about the design process?
I worked specifically on the face design. I worked closely with Leighton and once the design was approved then I believe the design was handed off to industrial designer Tom Fereday who made any adjustments as needed.
I feel like the work happened very quickly. I think Leighton and I shared a very similar vision of what the design should be and I picked up what he was looking for pretty fast.
Do you think you’ll continue to do projects of this type?
I would love to, as a designer I am always trying to broaden the client range and it is really great to work on something that initially is out of my wheelhouse. I think it is great to approach a project like this with fresh eyes and come at it from a different angle. It is always great to learn something new. I think when you get so used to working with the same type of clients this type of project brings a fresh perspective.
Finally, if you could have any Mister Wolf watch, which one would it would be?
Model 381. It is the women’s size – 32mm – with a copper case, natural leather band, rose hands and white face. It’s so classic and neutral – a perfect everyday piece.
Nadia’s insider guide to Brooklyn, New York
Want a pastry? You should visit Nadia’s own cafe.
My husband, two friends and I opened a cafe, Parkette Brooklyn, in our neighborhood of Sunset Park last November. It’s been a wonderful and fulfilling project – we designed and built the place from scratch, each of us lending our expertise. We serve delicious coffee and fresh French-Belgian pastries which are baked locally. It’s also served as a great opportunity to meet new people and to get to know our community.
Parkette Brooklyn, 4022 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11232, United States; www.parkettebk.com.
You should really try… Eating tacos with a view in Sunset Park.
The outdoor space in our neighborhood of Sunset Park is very special to me. I feel so fortunate to live across from the actual Sunset Park that the neighbourhood is named after. It boasts the second highest vantage point in all of Brooklyn. The New York City skyline sprawls before you and from the top of the park you can sit back and watch the sun dip behind the Statue of Liberty all while eating some of the best tacos in NY (Mexican food is something else the neighbourhood is known for)!
Sunset Park, 41 St., 44 St., bet. 5 Ave. and 7 Ave. Brooklyn. Directions via Google Maps.
You don’t have to go to Brooklyn… To shop there.
There are so many incredible places to shop in Brooklyn. I always love wandering around Greenpoint and poking my head into all the small shops. As a new mom, I do a lot of shopping online these days and a favorite is my dear friend’s children’s store darling clementine.