Creative Directors / Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind With Thiago Nogueira, Founder & Creative Director of we are brandless

Thiago Nogueira is the Founder & Creative Director of we are brandless, a Sydne-based branding & design studio.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

Some of my best friends say that I’ve lived many lives already! So I’ll try to summarize my background.

I’m originally from Brazil, where I finished my bachelor in Publicity & Propaganda (yes, propaganda) and worked in the Advertising, Travel and Hotel industries.

About 12 years ago I moved to Australia, I was chasing perfect waves and trying to learn English.

After studying English for 3 months I was so certain that Australia was my place, that to stay in the country I went back to college, studied Graphic Design & pre-press and at uni I did a Bachelor in Digital media with majors in Branding & typography.

During all these years, working was pretty much my life, and I had jobs in the hospitality, printing and creative industry. And all these different jobs shaped and pushed me to get where I am now.

For the last 6 years, I have run my creative practice Brandless and I have clients in various sectors, creative, design furniture, government, food, beverage and so on.

On the other side of the spectrum, I’ve been a part of the Semi Permanent team for 12 years, starting as a volunteer to head of Community & Sales strategist for our live experiences.

2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

I’m a freaking hyper so no coffee for me. It’s crazy the amount of energy I have. So normally I rise at 5 am, then straight into my gratitude ritual and meditation (5-20 minutes).

I drink at least 1l of water and when there are waves I go for a surf, if not to the gym and do a H.I.T session. It helps me to get the blood running and pumping. 7ish I’m back home, getting ready for my day takes me 15 minutes and then I read a book for a little.

I’d say around 7:30 I get started. I tackle the 3 most important tasks of my list first in the morning, I find this is my prime time energy and creative wise.

And around 11:30 am I jump on some emails and that’s basically when my ‘meetings’ and “creative sessions’ slots start. Unless it is an important and urgent project, I try not to have big sessions in the mornings, I usually get out of them feeling like my day is over!

I work from home and our studio in Redfern, so my days can vary a lot. But usually around 5-6 pm I try to slow down and then I just work on myself, I’m a bit of a nerd! I love learning new stuff all the time, languages, dancing, music and more.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

I just got back from a 3-week working holiday in Bali. Gratitude is all I have. My role gives me a lot of flexibility and I can pretty much work from anywhere.

As I previously mentioned, I’d say 3 days of the week I work from home and to be honest I try to keep my routine pretty much the same no matter what. It helps me to keep the momentum of the week.

In 2019, I had 3 working holiday trips, 2x Russia and Bali, and I find these trips extremely productive. The change of environment makes the motivation levels higher.

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

Nowadays, this question is so relevant and it is asked around all the time and everywhere. There’s no formula to achieve that balance, in my opinion. But, for me, it’s a very simple question that I ask myself every day;

“Are you happy?”

As long as the answer is yes and I wake up every day feeling energized and pumped, everything is good.

I love what I do and it is crucial that every day feels like a Sunday and I’m able to enjoy a working day just as much as a day surfing on the beach.

5) What do you think are some of the best habits or routines that you’ve developed over the years to help you achieve success in your life?

Having a healthy lifestyle must be the best thing I’ve ever done. I surf and work out at least 6 days a week, and it helps me feel good and ready for work. Not eating meat is something that was a game-changer too. When I became vegetarian, once the adaptation period was over, I never felt my brain so sharp and fast.

6) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?

Oh my god, so many books! Top latest books I read:

  • The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris
  • The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle
  • Be Fearless: 5 Principles for a Life of Breakthroughs and Purpose by Jean Case
  • Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phill Knight

7) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?

Go to bed around 10 pm and get up at 5 am every day. If I don’t have a good sleep, my energy levels get all wacky.

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

Gabriel Celuque, Founder of the Studio Hover and Frankie Ratford, Founder of The Design Kids.

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, be aware of your limits and when you need to slow down. Listen to all the signs our bodies are constantly giving to us, and you will be consistently producing and performing well and in the same way, you will be enjoying life.

If you found the above conversation helpful and inspiring, be sure to check out Balance the Grind’s guide to achieving a healthy work-life balance.

About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.