When I was first out of University and doing the rounds of the local design firms to show off my portfolio, Icarus Design was one that I was particularly impressed by in both quality of work and attitude. There I spoke to Director David Robinson who was very generous with his time, looking through my work and offering encouragement – for a fair number of years I received a yearly Christmas card from them as well, long after the time they must have been wondering who the hell was this person they were sending them to It’s great to see that they are still going strong and still producing some fantastic work after all this time.
When I was in my final year of University, we had three of Adelaide’s top designers come to talk to us about their respective businesses. I remember being really impressed with Brenton Murray who I guess had been running his firm for just over 5 years or so at that point – it seem to have a very genuine and passionate attitude to his work and I particularly liked the emphasis on illustration he had on a lot of the pieces he demonstrated. Now 28 years strong, Brenton Murray Design is now BMD Brands operating out of offices in both Adelaide and Burleigh Heads Queensland. He’s still producing exceptional work and has built a fantastic team of designers around him including Nerissa Douglas (an excellent illustrator as well as designer), Steve Balmer and Katie Pelosi,
as well as Brenton’s son Ben. It’s an interesting browse through their logo gallery to see how many iconic local and national brands they have worked on, including San Remo Pasta, Bremerton Wines, Crowies Paints and The Adelaide City Council to name a few. To have been around so long is quite an accomplishment in this city, BMD Brands are obviously (and demonstrably) doing something right.
I have been waiting eagerly for a while for this to finally go live, but Shadia Design’s website has just been launched as of Valentine’s day. Shadia Ohanessian was one of the first professional graphic designers I got to know in Adelaide, she let me help her out with some work for Amnesty International when I was still at University, if she had offered me a full-time job I would have taken it like a shot, I still would! There is a lot to like about Shadia’s work, personally I admire the fact that she has followed her own unique path in design for 27 years and has never been a follower of specific design trends, her work doesn’t look like anything else other than her own unique tastes and sensibilities. She’s also not afraid of colour, it literally ‘bursts’ out of whatever she has designed, playful and stylish, but never overdone, in a manner where a lot of us might fear to tread. It’s hard to pick out a particularly favourite project from all of the work she has on her site, but if I was forced to, I would have to pick the design work for No Strings attached Theatre. It incorporates all the elements I love in her work as mentioned before, but also treats a sensitive subject matter with the respect and insight it deserves in an overall beautifully designed packaged. Kudos also for designing a unique and engaging website to display her work with.
I’ve been remiss in not featuring old work buddy Chris Cooper along with business partner George Randle’s new studio venture, Band. The above piece of work has been making the rounds of various design blogs for the last few months, and there are some absolutely brilliant pieces featured on the site, the designs for Cuckoo and Heart & Soul being particular favourites. I’m hoping to have a little chat with the guys in the new year to feature here on Facing Sideways, but in the meantime, go check out some of the stuff the guys have been working on.
Prana Studios have just updated their website with a new look and some new stylish work. There is a lot to like here, including some fantastic illustration and identity pieces and a lovely concise inspiration wall, it’s always nice to see what inspires other designers in their daily work. Also keep an eye out for this years Prana Print series of hand illustrated black and white design to purchase for the holiday season, a nice personal gift for the appreciator of fine print work in your life.
Lots of things happening in the Adelaide graphic design scene since I last put keyboard to screen, including lots of updates to local design firms websites.
Some nice new wine label and identity projects by Damian at Sage, including this striking piece of work for The Farm Shed.
Typespace have a whole new look to their site and some great new work on display, including this colourful identity for Floral Image that I’ve seen around town.
One of my favourite studios Working Images have also updated the look of their site, some stunning identity and environmental pieces to peruse while you’re there.
Old stomping ground, Burton Nesbitt Graphic Design, is now simply de.co, with an updated look and website along with some updated work on display.
Ecocreative who I discussed in my previous post have also since updated their website.
sector7g have updated UK band Ride’s official website, doing a very nice job of capturing the bands jingly jangly shoe-gazer feel as well as making me insanely jealous in designing for one of my favourite bands of the 90s.
Late to party as usual, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the wonderful clip Chris Edser has produced for local band ‘The Beards’ single ‘Got Me a Beard‘ which recreates the album cover in glorious animation.
It always intrigues me living in this small city of Adelaide how many people are making a living out of Graphic Design, what really amazes me is how many of them are really good. Producing great design is hard enough, doing it with commitment to a particular set of personal ideals is another. I’ve been fascinated by a rise in design studios that have taken a focus on only taking on work of a socially responsible manner, I visited a firm in New York called Hyperakt whose directive is to work with clients who fight for justice, celebrate culture and diversity, spread knowledge and engage in social entrepreneurship. Local design firm Ecocreative seem to be following a similar path. They are dedicated to communicating messages that bring about positive change and producing media with a commitment to sustainability. It’s a message that most studios would get behind, though I think it’s interesting and courageous that they are dedicated to being so upfront about it, particularly in such a small market as Adelaide. While you might say it’s easy enough to promote yourself as ‘eco-conscious’ they back it up with some very nice, considered work than definitely demonstrates they practice what they preach. Though I’m not a big fan of the website design there’s some great touches, like the section on the folks who work there and their activities towards sustainability outside of the 9-5. Director Matthew Wright-Simon can often be found espousing his sustainability in design message across the twitter-verse and is well worth following for such.
On my daily travel to and from work past the neon signage of design studio Rodeo, I notice they are on the move, whether they’ve picked this opportune moment, or I just haven’t been paying enough attention, it looks as though they have updated a tonne of work onto their site since I last looked.
There is a lot of stuff to be jealous of here, including some beautifully executed pieces for ‘dream’ client Getty Images, as well as some superb solutions for The Adelaide College of Arts, SA Health, LMS Energy and The South Australian Integrated Design Commission (RIP, thanks Jay!) You could do worse than taking a peruse of some really world class, locally produced design here.
Luka Va is a Lithuanian illustrator and designer (now living in Adelaide or is that Melbourne now?) who I’ve been meaning to feature since I bought a print of hers on Etsy a few months back. I first became aware of her from her prize winning entry for the National Parks of South Australia t-shirt competition. Her illustrations are intricate and full of whimsy, staying on the right side of both – plus, she draws lots of cats and bunnies, always a good thing in my book. She has lots of nice prints for sale at he Etsy shop, as well as selling her wares at local craft and art fares.
The Beards are an Adelaide band that have beards and sing songs about beards, their profile has been rising in recent times due to some airplay on national ‘alternative’ station Triple J and the fact that they are pretty good and have Beards. Some of that rise in recognition no doubt should be attributed to the fantastic graphic representation they have received over the years from uber illustrator and designer Chris Edser. It’s a great playful and consistent system that has played out over the years which has culminated in the latest Beards album release Having a beard is the new not having a beard beautifully detailed and majestic in it’s illustrative representation of all things ‘beard’. Check out Chris’ site for the full scope of work he has done for the band over the years, there’s also some nice stuff, non beard related there as well.