Design Around the World: Australia

To coincide with this year’s April International Design Annual, we decided to pull back the grid of latitude and longitude even further and hear, firsthand, what designers in these different countries have to say about design—how their location impacts their work, how clients embrace their creativity, what’s inspiring them and what kinds of projects keep them busy.

Here, Kate Kendall from AUTUMN:01 talks about design in this Aussie city.

Sydney, Australia

Where are you located, and why do you enjoy being there?
The studio is located in the heart of Sydney’s Central Business District. We are in the middle of Martin Place and just two minutes’ walk down to Circular Quay, which looks up at the Harbour Bridge. It’s a great spot with an abundance of lunch alternatives … and bars.

How would you describe your style?
It incorporates an infinite attention to detail and a minimalist essence. We design things to be as simple as possible, and we try to stay clear of anything too ornate.

What kinds of design does your firm specialize in?
We pretty much dominate the Australian music industry in terms of their online environments. We are also involved with a lot of their print campaigns, album cover designs and television commercials. Another industry we have many clients in is broadcast, where we are beginning to get involved in more of their on-air projects including commercials and other on-air spots. But it’s not all music and soaps; we also work with some corporate giants like AMP, Kimberly-Clark and Toshiba.

What’s a favorite project you’ve worked on?
Favourite projects are usually the most recent ones. The new Van She artwork is pretty cool: Coming up with a visual representation of music is always fun, and this band has a lot of imagery in their music so it was pleasure working with them. And the songs are pretty good, too.

Is there any recurring element that usually ends up in your designs?
In the beginning we used a lot of nature images especially with a lot of our online creative, probably trying to make the digital world seem less cold. The element we use now is more space. There’s so much design clutter out there, it’s more challenging to get a message out using the least amount of design.

What things influence your work? Where do you get your inspiration?
Our main inspirations come from music, as well as the usual assortment of photographers, painters, designers, authors.

How do you think your community and clients view design?
There’s healthy competition going on in the Australian design community at the moment, which is really pushing agencies above and beyond. It’s an exciting time and, in terms of international standards, I’m confident in saying we are up there as a design community. In terms of the way our clients view design and creativity, it varies. Some of our clients, particularly in the music industry, are incredibly design-savvy. I think music and design go hand in hand.

Is there any cultural proverb or saying that influences the way you approach your work?
“Treat everyone how you would like to be treated”: This applies to both design and business relationships. “Attention to detail is everything”: It’s the small things that leave lasting impressions.

If you were a color, what color would you be?

Other interviews in the series
AUTUMN:01: Sydney, Australia
BLOK DESIGN: Mexico City, Mexico
Laboratorium: Zagreb, Croatia
LeBoYe: Jakarta, Indonesia
Steinbranding: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Third World Media: Nairobi, Kenya Barcelona, Spain Hamburg, Germany
Yellow Octopus Pte Ltd: Singapore
Zetalab: Milan, Italy

HOW April 2007