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.

An Honest Day’s Work

Originally founded in New Zealand, BJ Ball is Australia’s oldest paper merchant. However, despite their long history they were still relatively unknown in the Australian graphic design community, which is a marketplace already over-saturated with eager paper providers. We were asked to help them break through the noise by approaching designers on their level while at the same time reflecting the values of BJ Ball as providing honest, work-horse papers. An Honest Day’s Work was born: a bi-monthly print and email newsletter written and designed by designers, for designers. Each edition features a poster from a different design studio responding to the question “what does an honest day’s work mean to you?” which will eventually form an exhibition bringing together the best of the the Australian graphic design community to celebrate an honest day’s work (yes, we do fall into that category!).

Print newsletter (left) and studio poster (right). This poster was contributed by us.
Visual elements (including the masthead) are lovingly hand-crafted for each edition

Love to Play

Ukubebe Music is, as the name suggests, a music-based education program designed specifically for children introducing them to the joys of music making — through song, dance and of course playing musical instruments (including ukulele). Ukubebe founder Joanne Steel is one of the most enthusiastic people you're ever likely to meet and it's her mixture of musical passion and pride that inspired this branding program including an identity, website, photographic art direction and printed collateral.

Website homepage
The kids in action (our studio assistant is at the top right)

Shine

ARV is one of Australia’s largest providers of aged care, and with the population in general getting older there’s more demand for their services than ever. Their flagship publication Shine presents a mix of ARV’s involvement in the community, a showcase of their properties and services, and a broader look at both issues and opportunities for senior Australians. The content is designed in an easy-to-read (but not boring) way, with deliberate choices in typefaces, colour combinations and imagery that give readers a bonafide magazine experience without being patronising. In particular, the absence of generic ‘dynamic senior lifestyle’ stock imagery helps create a magazine that is truly refreshing in this market, which along with thought-provoking content, really Shines.

Using ‘conceptual’ rather than literal imagery for the cover steers this away from cliché. Portraits are intimate and warm, and are given prominence—the residents are celebrated
Sometimes an infographic tells a story the best
Feature stories focus on wider topics of interest, but with relevance to ARV