Zoe from Nuttshell

moving her business to Brunswick
— at
Nightingale Studios
Nightingale NgawanWurru wurru biik
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Zoe runs Nuttshell, a graphic design agency that will shortly move to Nightingale Studios - a suite of 24 fresh commercial spaces at the base of Nightingale Wurru wurru biik, Brunswick. Images by Jessica Tremp.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your business?

I’m the Creative Director at Nuttshell – a graphic design agency that works across signage, exhibition, branding, print, and digital.  My mum, Sue, started the business over 35 years ago. She began her career in London, working at the Design Research Unit, one of the first agencies that combined architecture, graphic design and industrial design. I think it was this multi-disciplinary environment that shaped the way mum approached her practice, and instilled the value of cross-disciplinary understanding and collaboration into the Nuttshell DNA. 

I’ve been working with Mum for the past 15 years. Before that I worked at a number of Melbourne studios with projects across arts, private sector, government and not-for-profit. Mum has recently taken a step into retirement and passed the baton to me. I feel very privileged to be able to carry on her legacy, but also to have the opportunity to grow and shape the business into something fresh. Moving to Nightingale Studios feels like a real statement on Nuttshell moving into this new phase. I’m excited by what is coming next.

How big is the Nuttshell team?

It’s me, five designers and an account manager with Mum occasionally popping in to keep an eye on things and bring us cake!  And of course, office doggo, Sox.

How did you hear about Nightingale Studios?

I’ve always been a big fan of Nightingale for its sustainable and social principles. I’m also a bit of an architecture nerd and many of my favourite local practices have been involved with Nightingale buildings. So I keep an eye on Nightingale socials and that’s where I first saw a post about Studios becoming available.

This is the first move Nuttshell has made in its 38 year history, what inspired your decision to make a change?

Nuttshell is at a real point of change – for 38 years the studio has run out of an old stable at the back of my parents' property in North Melbourne. It’s been a fantastic location for us, but now that I’ve stepped up as Creative Director, I’d really like to mark the change and reenergise the business. We’ve got such an incredible legacy and pedigree, but I’ve also got a team of amazing, young designers, and I love the idea of creating something new with them. It’s also getting a bit squishy in the stable so will be great to have a bit more space.

Like all Nightingale projects, Nightingale Studios will be sustainable from the ground up - is that important to Nuttshell?

SO important. We are a values-based business, and we work with a lot of like-minded clients on projects that have conservation goals. Whether it is educational signage for Councils out in bush reserves or working with Traditional Owners to help tell their stories on Country, our work has taught us so much about our beautiful and amazing natural world. Through this work I feel a real responsibility to prioritise sustainable practices wherever I can, both personally and as a business. 

The sustainable features of Nightingale Studios feel like such a natural fit for us – and was a huge consideration. Nightingale ticks ALL the boxes. 

Nightingale Studios are located in Brunswick, how is your team feeling about the move?

Super excited! We can’t wait to explore and discover our new ‘hood – it’s such a vibrant part of Melbourne, and SO well connected in terms of transport and bike paths. Equally, we’re so looking forward to meeting and becoming part of the Nightingale community. 

What are you looking forward to most about your new Nightingale Studio space?

We’re so lucky to be able to fit out the space to make it exactly what we need and want – I’m excited to create a really great space for my designers to work in. It’s also pretty amazing to be able to add some of our personality within the broader context of the beautiful Breathe building (as I said, architecture nerd).

Beyond the actual bricks and mortar, we’re so excited for the opportunities for collaboration, for meeting new, like-minded friends, and being part of something bigger.

First published in
October 2023