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Once upon a time in Oz

In the early Eighties, Australia was regarded as design graveyard for the Brits. With many designers returning home and finding it difficult to find work. Since the Aussies hosted the Olympics, many graduates and proffessional designers are taking the leap to Oz. We wondered if there was any difference in quality between the Brit import and and home grown stuff. The feedback is frank, honest and with some colourful language.


David Taylor is Managing Director and Lead Strategist of Ink Project in Sydney

Great designers don’t belong to a town, region or nation they are from everywhere and anywhere and they use their sense of cultural identity to inspire their design. When great designers travel my experience is that they become greater! As they assimilate all around them and re-express it. Their talent and attitude to life and work is key, search for self, truth and beauty and a desire to share this with others is key... where they came from has fuck all to do with anything really.

A very short answer to the question about a shortage of truly talented designers both here and in the UK would be that there always has been a shortage.

Like everything in life, there is a huge volume of crap out there, a mass of mediocre and a thin line of the real pure stuff. Apply this to products, brands and talent. Design is no different, their always will be a shortage of the truly gifted, as quality agencies around the globe scramble to take ownership of rare talent. It would also be fair to say that as educated audiences demand more or better, supply struggles to keep up as the resource [gifted designers] seem to be born and not mass produced to satisfy demand.


Garry Jacques is Creative Director of The LaB in Sydney

It’s such a difficult question, who’s better, who’s different, as I truly don’t belive there are any differences in “western” designers from anywhere else these days. OK, fair enough, you’ll get your Northern European designers with their subdued, sophisticated, minimal aestehtics [ which I love ] versus American pot-shot-hip-hop glamour styleeee wanabees! [ which we all know, and have to love ] But a paint drip graphic is a paint drip graphic and until all these new “young” designers, no matter where they’re from, get the “cool on myspace web, youtube, txt msg, gonna sell a million $ of tshirts and be a megastar” = = = = global corp brainwashing bonanza” out of their heads then design is going no-where except until the next I_WANNA_BE_A_MILLIONAIRE_DICKHEAD

Which, if that’s the way it’s going then fair enough, but to Aussies, that’s too bloody easy mate.... NO!


Mark Stott is founding partner and Creative Director of Common Design

It's very difficult to assess, on a whole, the generic design talent of a nation. Design is the front line of visual culture and sub cultural movements and with that, there are inate differences between the the UK and Australia. Surroundings and influences are different, vernacular and ideosyncracies are born out of different ideals within lifestyle. So of course with the variables that should go into design and communication in terms of influences within the different cultures, outcomes are slightly different. Having said that, visual solutions are definitely blurring the boundaries between the UK and Australia, and many other western countries for that matter, which unfortunately suggests that solutions are not born out of influences and personal experiences as they should be, they are born out of re-developing solutions at hand and force fitting them, a frightening trend. As for talent, I think we need to look at individuals and not countries for the answer.

Do I think it is easier or harder to find talented designers here...

I think its difficult to find great designers here for that matter. The merging boundaries of mediums and the responsibility of the modern design agency’s role to its clients suggests that there are very few designers who can fill the multi faceted requhere, or anywirements. There are great thinkers, which is what common looks for in a designer, but very few solid all round creatives. As for whether its easier or harder to find them, I haven’t been in the industry in the UK for 8 years now so I couldn’t tell you the trends over there, but I would hazard a guess that it will be a similar situation.

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