New Zealand’s Cool by Design

Being a designer at heart, it was super cool to check out the design scene in New Zealand. To my surprise they are willing to take more risks in their main stream markets then we do in North America. As seen in many of the pics attached to this link, a lot of the food with premium placement at the super markets are far edgier then what we often see back home. Some of the designs featured below are because I like them, others because they are out there and others, like the spotted dog, because I just don’t get it. Good, bad and awesome, I hope you enjoy them all.

Being on the road and in so many wonderful locations I find that I’m always seeing things that I may not see otherwise. When I go home I’m looking forward to seeing Vancouver with an explorers eyes.

Melbourne and Beyond

Seeing as we are in Australia for only 3 weeks we almost left Melbourne off of the list. Luckily for us my long time friend Juliet and her son Ben were keen on having us come to visit so we jumped on a plane and flew down. When I lived in Australia way back when, I likely may have chosen to live in Melbourne over Sydney had it not been so far from the surf.

It’s great here because there’s a cool mix of European architecture and fashion mixed with a casual Australian vibe. Lots of great cafes, trendy boutiques, free museums, cool street art, easy to use train system and really friendly people. Juliet and Ben live in a trendy community called Yarraville which is just outside of the downtown core. While Juliet was at work Josi and I had fun eating out at cool cafes, shopping in the neighbourhood and exploring the city and taking photos for Orb Clothing. I find taking photos for Orb when we go to a new city I get to see it differently that I would otherwise. Cool buildings, interesting textures, light, street art all come to life in ways I might not otherwise have noticed.

One of the things I have noticed about Australia is that their packaging tends to be far cooler than it is in Canada. Everything from beer to yogurt mostly all have edgy and hip creative elements to them. It’s almost as though all of the old guys who create boring packaging here have died and that all of the young hip kids making cool art are running the show. Another campaign that’s super prominent at the moment is Dumb Ways to Die. It’s promoting stain safety and everyone from kids to their parents are singing the song. It’s print creative is quite fun as well.

After a few days in the city Juliet took us to Wilsons Prom, which is a national park on the open ocean to the east of Melbourne. We stayed at her friends cabin and had lots of fun exploring the park’s rugged coast, as well as chilling at the cabin. We also managed to have a great day of uncrowded cold water surfing. The waves were overhead and the winds were hard off shore which made for lots of fun and uncrowded waves. I surfed until I couldn’t feel my feet and then had to come in. I was impressed with Josi as she managed to surf for as long as I did and she did great.

Unfortunately our time in Melbourne was a bit rushed and we didn’t get to see too much, but we still had a great time. We are super stoked because we are going up to surf the warm waters of Byron Bay for 8 days.

Graphic Design in Vietnam

Like most third world countries Vietnam is a real mixed bag when it comes to it’s graphic design. My favourite designs were the hand painted ones that people did on the sides of their little carts that they use to sell either food or merchandise.

I was surprised to find as many large, government backed, communist style posters as we did, they were everywhere.

My least favourite of the design that we saw were the slicker and more modern advertising creative. I’m not sure how a fish with chicken wings is going to sell more kitchens, but that’s what they were intended to be doing.

I have no idea what this drink is or how it taste, but the poster was just wrong enough that it made it into this blog. I’m not sure how many Goth Vietnamese there are, but I’m guessing that this poster was intended for the few that are?

Will Design for Room and Board :)

Our good friend Jobbie who lives in Mal Pais has a surf shop called Jobbies Longboards and does holiday packages down here. I have been doing his creative for years and this last trip down here we did what has turned out to be a pretty good trade. I designed him up a bunch of new hat and T-Shirt graphics and in exchange he rented a great 2 bedroom apartment that Josi and I are living in for the month. It works well for both of us as he sells a crap load of the stuff that I design for him.

Another friend of his runs a really great seafood restaurant called Product C and he was asking about help with a hat design. I ended up doing a bunch of hat and T-Shirt designs for him and in exchange Josi and I go there most days for lunch for one of the best salads topped with fresh fish.

The last time we were here I ended up being a wedding photographer and Josi assisted. I don’t remember what we got for that, but it was way more than most people who live here make in a month.

I’m hoping that we are able to do more of the same as we venture around the world as I really enjoy designing and at FreeBird Agency I find myself doing more management stuff and way less old school design. It’s also great because I’m able to do design pretty fast so it doesn’t take long to create cool designs in exchange for decent trade.