a-list / jane :: graphic designer :: mel
What sparked your passion for design?
I've always wanted to live a creative life, following along the notion of 'love what you do, do what you love'. But my passion for graphics was sparked whilst studying it. I have always been into drawing, creating, and collecting bits of printed matter - I confess I have boxes full of the stuff! - and after deciding to study design as a way of turning my artistic skills into a career, I soon realised it was the perfect fit.
How creative were you as a youngster?
I have always been creative - from drawing circle bodied, triangle eared, stick legged cats as a pre-schooler, to making jewellery and writing short stories in primary school, to filling the margins of every text book with illustrations as a high schooler.
Do you come from a creative family?
No. My Nanna took to painting porcelain and silk in her retirement, but that's about as far as it goes.
Were they supportive of your desire to be a designer?
Once I started design, although they didn't fully grasp what it was, they were very supportive. As a teenager dreaming of a life as an starving artist, not so much. But I think once they realised there is a whole industry around advertising, media and creativity they were more open to my decision.
The first move...
What sort of education and training have you had?
I graduated top of my class from an Advanced Diploma in Visual Communication. Since then I have done a small collection of short courses to feed my creativity and provide insight into various creative disciplines, alongside gaining seven years experience on the job.
Who did you want to work for when you first entered the industry?
When first entering the industry I ideally wanted to work for a highly creative boutique agency, collaborating on challenging projects with a variety of artisans. I also had a few 'gold star' studios on my list.
Tell us about your first project and what do you feel about it now?
My first real client project was producing an identity for a boutique builder when I was a second year student. How do I feel about it - it's still in my book, and I continued working with the client for four years until moving overseas - so, pretty good. But I can definitely see how I would have done things differently had the project landed on my desk today.
What is your preferred software to work with and what has been the greatest advancement in technology over the past 5 years?
InDesign would be my favourite. And the spread of social media, mobile devices etc, has dramatically changed the way people interact with, and consume visual media.
Is digital technology going to eliminate the need for print?
There's a tinge of fear that this might happen, but that idea has been around since I was a student and as a lover of print and it's tangible aspect, I'd have to say no. The ratio will continue to change - which is proven through huge bookstore chains closing their doors, and less junk mail filling out letterboxes each day - but I still believe there is room for the use of amazing quality stock and specialty finishes, which can't be replicated in web or virtual spaces.
We could be heroes...
Whose work do you really admire and why?
Tricky question. I admire so many peoples work, from so many different creative fields. And I'm inspired by new talent I find online almost daily.
Who has been the greatest person that you’ve ever had the pleasure of working with and what have they taught you?
I've been lucky to work with lots of wonderful people and they have all taught me something new - from studio directors, collaborations with other creatives to working with my freelance clients. When designing, I find each new client you work with, or project you undertake provides opportunities to learn something new.
All about me...
How would you describe your work?
Diverse. Always developing. Well crafted.
What are your plans for the future?
My plans are always changing. But one that never changes is the desire to collaborate with leading creatives, working on challenging and creative projects, always developing my craft. And more travel to continue expanding my visual reference points.
What sort of company would you like to work with next?
It would be great to work with some of Melbournes up and coming, cutting edge creatives, as well as with some of those long standing, world recognised award winning ones - to experience the way both tackle the design process and collaboratively produce some outstanding work.
What is your opinion of Australian design?
It's some of the best in the world.
What is the best/worst thing about being a designer in Australia?
Best = being surrounded by such amazing and competitive talent. Worst = you could say the global positioning of Australia would be the biggest draw back, but with global creative talent/conversation being accessible online and competitive flight prices bridging the physical divide from the rest of the world it's not a big issue.
In your opinion, what is the greatest challenge the Australian design industry has to face in the near future?
A key challenge globally is to keep up with the changing shape of technology, and the way people interact with media / advertising / each other. As well as finding ever more inventive ways of having lower environmental impact, higher design effectiveness and more bang for your buck for clients while maintaining Australias strong design identity in the global arena.
Just for fun...
What is your creative outlet outside of design?
I own a boutique fashion label with two friends. And I enjoy collaborating on photographic shoots - the co-ordination and art direction side of things.
What is the best designed bar in Melbourne?
I haven't been to them all, but based on what I've seen, it's a toss up between the kitchy cuteness of Madam Brussels and the industrial cool of Section 8. Joe's shoe store's great for a local drink.
What are your top websites at the moment?
If I hit new tab, a few that pop up in my 'top sites' are...
It's Nice That
What CD are you currently listening to and is it any good?
Right this second - Lykki Li. And yeah, she's pretty good...
If I was a font, I’d be...?
A blend of Univers and Bodoni. Trusted and reliable, but with enough variety to keep it interesting.