Posters for pleasure

A poster is a space to give pleasure, call for action, evoke change. Given the right brief and more importantly a sensitive and exciting response, a good poster can change a whole lot of things. We often make posters for the sheer pleasure of making posters and sometimes we are invited to make posters for causes, ideas and occasions. We can’t help to see what happens.

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1999 Studio Christmas card celebrating a change millenia

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2005 Australian Poster Annual finalist

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2006 AIGA NY, NY – Urban Tree Project submission

2009 Australian Poster Annual entries

2010 Australia Project entry

Outside of Australia, Australia is perceived to be one big tourist park filled with strange animals, poisons bugs, big skies, big rocks, sandy beaches, the pub, the boomerang, sporting heroes, the bush people, and long haul flights.

Tourists the world over love a bargain, love to barter, love the challenge of finding a good purchase. As a tourist culture it seems at times that everything in Australia is for sale, everything has a special price, everything is reduced to clear – be it Australia’s natural resources, local products and brands, ideas and innovations. Much of what Australia has to offer leaves its shores to be converted, profited from and or prosper – be it Australia’s coal, iron and timber; the sale of Australian brands – Vegemite to Orbital Engine; or the departure of great minds and talents of Germaine Greer, Barry Kosky, Robert Hughes, Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman and Elizabeth Blackburn.

The legend of colonial anti hero Ned Kelly is called upon in this poster. Kelly stoically peers out of a crude and barren world of “the sale” and invites to the viewer to discover and materialise Australian culture and identity.

Visit the Australia Project here

2009 IMEPO (migration) posters – Greece

Migration is a major influencing factor that has shaped, developed and formed Australian culture. Many people from the far corners of the Earth have migrated to Australia and called it home and with them they brought their tastes, smells, textures, sights and sounds. It is an exciting place to be, and the opportunity in such a space is enormous. Layer on layer of cultures have graced our shores and this drove us to think that migration, particularly in Australia is not a Baby Boomer, or a Gen X’er, or a Gen Y’er, moreover it is a new generation people – Gen Now.

The poster project had a life of its own, we embarked on photographing range of local people in Melbourne – Japanese, Anglo Celt, Philippines, New Zealanders, Welsh and Nepalese and layered them on a vale constructed from all of the borders of the world. The Gen Now brand was developed during the poster printing process for the Melbourne Museum of Printing fund raising project.

2009 Eyesaw Invitational, Sydney

Established in 2006 Eye Saw invites designers to respond to a theme in the poster format. Eye Saw is overseen by Mark Gowing Design – it is an invitational poster exhibition held in Omnibus Lane, Ultimo, Sydney.

This year the studio was honored to be invited to produce a poster for Eye Saw. The brief invited participants to consider the theme humanity/equity.

Posters design is an individual process and it is difficult to develop a poster image that speaks of the idea, means something to its designer and connects with an audience. We thought of humanity/equity in terms of grooming compassion, nurturing our hearts. Everyone knows that to care for a plant you have to think to water it regularly for it to grow, so we twisted this metaphor and invited viewers to nurture their hearts.

The poster was cost effectively produced as four A0 black and white plan prints with fine streams of fine silver light plastic streamers flowing from the watering can’s spout.

2010 Australian Poster Annual finalist

We were troubled by the latest Australia Poster Annual brief, the first paragraph in particular, as it seems to be again – too design sector focused – and not aligned with big picture issues such as:

  • discovering Australian identity,
  • the idea that everyone is now a designer,
  • addressing public perception of design and their designers
  • bringing about a discovery of the ways in which Australian designers solve design problems,
  • helping clients tune into a locally developed product rather going overseas for creative outcome,
  • the proliferation of the designer idea
  • developing an Australian creativity position.

It is no secret that we feel that designers moan about on about how clients should understand design more, etc. We, as a practice, strive to find the balance between making work that works for clients, along developing a product that excites, inspires audiences and looks good.

It is concerning that our industry feels the need to write such briefs, and we believe that to bring about a positive change might be found by taking a lead from fine artists, fashion designers, chefs, coffee, wine makers, writers and musicians – who create, lure, attract, clarify, excite and challenge people with the an exciting product. Allowing then, the key drivers such as business innovation, thought leadership and cultural change will make sense to people who use it.

This situation reminds one of that old adage – quality relationships come about from inspiring respect rather than commanding respect.

Birthday posters are the perfect touch to any home spun celebration…

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