To start, we’d love to know what it was about the world of design that first captivated you. Can you remember your first encounter with a memorable piece of art or design?
My first proper encounter with art would have been during my year abroad in high school when I visited Le Louvre. I found myself standing in an enormous courtyard under one of the pyramids, surrounded by marble sculptures – just trying to take in as much as I could of what surrounded me. Design is harder to pinpoint as it is everywhere, all the time. I actually stumbled onto design and the Design College via a billboard advertisement they had at the time. I didn’t know anything of this world I would soon find myself captivated by. I’ve always been very hands-on in my life, so when I was introduced to letterpress and the world of typography I was in awe of it all and couldn’t wait to learn more.
You are a graduate in graphic design from Design College here in Brisbane – what was it that appealed to you when considering your ideal study destination?
I actually had no idea what graphic design was until I was standing in the college being shown around. Seeing all the previous graduate portfolios and all the amazing things they created was so thrilling. I always had an interest in photography and drawing, but this was art for a purpose and the idea captivated me. Having done many different areas of study at university from Business to Zoology and even Russian language, I finally found somewhere I belonged – where my attention to fine detail was actually a good thing!
What are some of the biggest challenges an aspiring designer must overcome when learning their craft?
Accepting that your work is only going to get better with practice and that nothing worth doing is easy is one thing. I am so hard on myself when it comes to my work, I am always my toughest critic. You need to judge your work but make sure you seek advice on how to improve it and listen to it. This is a field where you will learn by doing and taking on as much advice as someone who has been there is willing to give you. Your eye will get better for what isn’t ‘quite right’ – eventually you will know what’s not working and how to fix it. I promise – just keep practicing!
If you can narrow it down, what was the best piece of information you learned while studying?
I struggled with choosing directions to take on projects and making final decisions. Procrastination was my biggest hurdle because while I hadn’t produced anything or tried to, I hadn’t let myself or anyone else down yet. After talking with one of my teachers who understood where I was coming from he expressed to me three words that I now live by, ‘get shit done’. No one else will do things for you – you need to push through that mental barrier and GSD because nothing great came from sitting on a couch learning every episode of Futurama by heart (as awesome as it is).
Tell us a bit about what you are doing now! What sort of field are you working in post study?
I am currently at Design Kind – a studio in Newstead – where we do a lot of corporate identity branding along with ongoing design work they require. Being a small team I have my hands on every project. I love going to work and not knowing exactly what I’ll be doing that day or how many things I’ll be working on. No one day is ever the same and this is why I love design. I have already learnt so much by watching my boss Nicole in the past few months – I look at how she improves on what I give her as a first draft and by doing this I am gradually getting a better eye for how to add more depth to a design without necessarily making it more complicated.
You’ve also got a keen interest in photography – when it comes to documenting the world around you, what typically captures your eye (and lens)?
I work a lot around the coffee industry at the moment, I am a specialty barista by trade and I find having the knowledge behind what I’m photographing helps my photographs have more meaning. I recently had some photos published in the latest BeanScene Magazine, so that was very exciting! On my weekends I work at a small dog-friendly cafe in Tarragindi called Black Lab Coffee where I make yummy coffee and take happy snaps of all the puppies that visit for the Instagram. I get rewarded with licks and cuddles, what more could you ask for?
Who are some local Brisbane designers or agencies you think are doing great work?
Typographically, wayfinding is very interesting to me so I love following the work DotDash produces. Typography is something that has interested me since I started at DCA, it’s such a fine art and I love seeing how they work with the written word. It is said that good typography is invisible and I would love to have this skill in my designer tool box. Frank and Mimi is also a team in Brisbane that I love that creates amazing work. Frank and Mimi do a few different things but I love their hand painted signs – they always look incredible and I’d love to be able to create such beautiful work at the scales they do.
What was the last thing you found really inspiring?
After graduation I was talking to one of my teachers about all the ideas and plans I had going forward and he said to me, “You never have more time than you do right now. Don’t keep putting things off for ‘when you have time’, because if you keep waiting you will never get anything done.” This has really stayed with me and I think it’ll be the phrase that pushes me through life when I am in a slump, along with get shit done, of course! If you’re passionate about something, do it – make that move and get it started because you never know when you’ll run out of time.
If you’ve got a keen eye for design and are looking to try your hand at some practical applications, the Design College is currently accepting last-minute submissions to enrol in its Graphic Design and Photography courses. Design College gives students hands-on experience with a broad range of practical courses, while simultaneously helping to establish industry connections for a smooth transition from school to studio. Head to the Design College website for more information on courses available.
Image: Stephanie Eidse