Pactimo Artist Series

Here at Design & Opinion, we highly value any time spent in the great outdoors. So naturally, we were thrilled when Colorado-based cycling apparel makers Pactimo approached us to be part of their Artist Series team. The fact that bicycles are a fairly foreign mode of transport around our studio (the preferred mode being, of course, the surfboard) was actually one reason we were approached — Pactimo was after a different take on the traditional cycling kit style and wanted to see what an antipodean surfer mentality could bring to the medium.

The outcome has been a highly enjoyable ongoing collaboration resulting in some seriously nifty pieces of cycling gear (at least, in our opinion). The only downside is we’ll probably never find a good enough excuse to wear them.

Women’s Geometric kit in action — no, that’s not Katherine riding the bicycle.

Men’s Roundel and Wheels jerseys, also available as bibs (for cyclists, not babies). 
Women’s Geometric jersey, and the no-longer available Surf design.
You need to get in quick to score Artist Series gear — it’s all strictly limited edition.

Harvest

Sometimes a project is presented to you with such passion that you can’t help but grow attached. When we were approached to design the launch edition of Harvest Magazine, our client’s zeal for this self-funded publication was infectious. The basic premise of Harvest is to showcase and encourage participation in overseas mission work — something close to both our hearts — so we were a great fit.

With an original look and feel created by Soo Coughlan, we were approached to craft a complete mocked-up iPad app, translating what began as a print design to something that would work on a touch screen. The process not only involved re-engineering the building blocks of the master brand (including designing and illustrating each individual page element), but creating a user experience that would appear so natural and intuitive it became almost invisible.

The result is a magazine app that is thoughtful and sincere, but highly engaging. To date the launch edition has been extremely well-received, and has set the wheels in motion for what will hopefully become a self-sufficient, regular publication in screen and print formats. We’re proud of the part we’ve played in bringing this publication to an audience of passionate people (but perhaps none as passionate as our client).

Individual text elements act as direct links to the stories inside.

The content of the launch edition is varied — from regularly-updated community pages, to personal stories
about overseas mission experiences, to in-depth commentary on specific theological issues.

Some of the screens are designed as continuous ‘rolls’, while others are designed to use a ‘controlled swipe’ —
creating the illusion of a traditional magazine, but with the smoothness and functionality of a truly digital one.

Harvest includes a ‘just for kids’ section with videos, simple lessons and interactive activities.

It’s all about the experience

As well as running large-scale projects from start to finish, we often collaborate with other creative teams to help bring a process to life. A little while ago we worked on a number of such assignments with UX experts (should that be uxperts?) Meld Studios, to essentially put the final skin on their bodies of work. The projects we worked on involved visualising complex research, strategic planning, corporate structure and experiential framework, for national and multinational companies in transport, education, property and finance. In plain english that means Meld did an awful lot of research, strategy and planning, and we got to do all the fun stuff — creating mega-graphics, magazines and app interfaces.

As much as we’d like to feature each of these projects on its own, the confidential nature of most of them means we can only share a little peep through the keyhole. If you'd like to find out more about how we collaborate on projects like these, drop us a line via the contact form on the right-hand side of this page.


A small selection of the ‘skins’ we created for Meld’s impressive bodies of work.

House With No Steps

House With No Steps is a not-for-profit organisation that provides employment opportunities for the disabled. Over the last few years we’ve worked with Twolanes Creative on the HWNS annual review and developing a visual language for general use. For the 2012 review (their 50th anniversary), we created some bespoke typography which, after a renewed examination of their overall strategy, is now central to House With No Steps’ brand. Consequently we’ve been supplying typographic illustration for a range of applications including signage, print & web graphics and short films. The first of these (beautifully shot by Screencraft) is a moving and uplifting portrait of a typical relationship between HWNS and their clients. You can watch it here.

The 2012 Annual Review included short-cut pages featuring individual stories, interspersed throughout the review.
Bespoke typography has so far been created for signage, the HWNS website, printed materials and short films.

ChandlerWoods

ChandlerWoods is an executive search firm who was in need of some new communication tools. We were approached primarily to write an email-able company profile that would be engaging, memorable and adopt the sort of tone that reflected the people behind the words, as opposed to generic corporate-speak. Essentially functioning as a ‘cold-call’ document, it was important that the profile convey the best first impression possible—so as well as developing the story framework (and then of course writing it), we gave it a new set of clothes too. We think the end result not only talks the talk, but looks great as well.

A memorable opening—who doesn’t love a lightbulb joke?
In writing the closing remarks for the back ‘cover’, we inadvertently created a new vision statement for the firm.

An (extra-special) Honest Day’s Work

Graphic designers can be seen as a pretty pretentious bunch—abounding in double-shot soy lattes, swanky gallery openings, skinny designer jeans and ironic tee shirts sporting witty (yet highly aesthetic) typographic in-jokes. But in reality, most graphic designers are hard working, computer-tanned, RSI-inflicted souls who just want to make the world a better place—or at the very least, make it look better.

Some of the people who help designers achieve this dream are the paper merchants who work equally hard at ensuring printed products come to life in the best possible way. One such company is BJ Ball. For a while we’ve been helping them champion the idea of ‘an honest day’s work’ through a designer newsletter. So when they were given the opportunity to promote themselves in the upcoming edition of Justus magazine (well-known among Australian designers), they approached us to help introduce their sales reps more directly to the design community at large. We decided it was time to turn the spotlight around, and find out just what an honest day’s work for someone in paper sales actually involves. The results are entertaining and revealing in equal measure, and we think sum up exactly what life in the graphic design industry is like—regardless of which facet you inhabit.

The opening double-gatefold spread. For the uninitiated, this means it opens out from the centre to reveal an extra-wide spread inside.
To take advantage of the super-wide format, we developed a timeline tracking each sales rep’s movements
from the time they woke up, until they hit the sack (or at least, should have).

10 things I’ve learned about being a designer

As part of their 2013 Design Forums, the University of South Australia invited Katherine to speak to their graphic design students about ‘the real world’, and hopefully impart some valuable lessons about life as a practising designer. It’s difficult to sum up an entire career in two hours, but the ten lessons below are about as good an attempt as any.