What’s your favourite…
Most recently it has to be Auckland Art Gallery.
Either the Chrysler Building or Sagrada Família. I visited the Sagrada Família in '94 and thought, how do you start something like this? And it’s crazy to think that it won’t be finished until 2026.
My Bang & Olufsen Zeppelin.
I’ve never really had a favourite designer, I’ve tended to follow agencies rather than individuals. But put a gun to my head and I’d probably say Neville Brody, more for the way he deconstructed typography and made it something you interact with rather than just read.
At the moment it’s my G-Star jeans and Bull Boxer trainers.
Use of design to change behaviour?
I was recently part of the refresh of the Organ Donation NZ website. And part of this included filming individuals who’ve been affected by this. It was very emotional watching them tell their story and their hopes of more New Zealanders being aware of how important this topic is. And through the website we encourage visitors to have the conversation with their families to make them aware of their wish to become a donor. It’s quite humbling to be part of something like this. www.donor.co.nz
Inspiring design-related book/podcast/TV show/website/magazine/story?
I prefer my inspiration to be more tactile. Currently, one of my favourite books is ‘A smile in the mind’. It’s the single-mindedness of the idea and its execution - design that makes you smile.
Design project you’ve had a hand in?
A rebrand for Meredith Connell, a law firm based in Auckland and Wellington. An awesome client who wanted their firm to better reflect who they were. It was great to work with clients who trust you and aren’t afraid to go against convention.
Design project that isn’t yours, but you’re envious of?
A while ago now, Christopher Doyle did his own personal identity. I thought it was genius. It just had that level of wit that, sadly, is currently lacking in a lot of design today. But for me, it’s one of those ‘I wish I’d thought of that’ projects.
What first drew you to design?
It was actually advertising that first grabbed my attention, growing up in the 80s. I remember seeing Silk Cut (sorry, I know it’s tobacco) billboards and being drawn to the simplicity of the idea.
Where does inspiration come from for you?
Aside from the obvious blogs and design sites, I find that not looking for inspiration, I find it, whether that’s going for a walk, seeing some architecture I’d never noticed before, store designs, fly posters, someone's t-shirt… anything I find can spark an idea.
Do you have a design ethos/motto you abide by in your work?
What’s the idea?
What makes a good designer?
Curiosity and always asking 'why?'
Do you have any creative side hustles going on outside of your line of work? If so, what?
I have a long list of side projects I want to do. They are basically my re-interpretations of everyday design briefs but with a twist.
I also keep saying to my wife that I’ll do some artwork for the house, but after 10 or so years, I don’t know if that’ll happen!
How has technology impacted on your work? How do you think it will impact on it in the future?
It has, in the sense that as a designer you have to approach projects from different perspectives, as the mediums in which to apply designs are forever expanding. It’s now not the case of how will my brand look on a brochure? It’s how will it translate to social media, VR, augmented reality, installations? And it’s these avenues that make it more exciting and challenging. It’s naive to think that technology won’t become a bigger part of the industry, but it’s what we do with it that’ll make the difference.
Who are some of your design heroes?
I wouldn’t say I have heroes as such, but at design school I remember looking at the work of Neville Brody, Peter Saville, David Carson and Malcolm Garrett and just being in awe of how they approached their work, especially the typography.
Best design-related advice you ever received?
‘If you have to explain your idea for too long, you’ve failed’.
What do you enjoy the most about working in this industry?
It’s the not knowing. It’s working within sectors I have no great understanding of and getting to know what makes that business tick. It's working with clients who appreciate the value of design and what it can do for their business.
How do you define New Zealand’s design culture?
You only have to go to the Best Awards to see what’s happening and notice all the smaller design agencies starting up and creating incredible work. There are plenty of ‘I wish I’d done that’ projects out there.
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