Graphic Design

Enter Life Phase: Digital Nomad


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It is with great excitement (and a small dose of trepidation), that I find myself packing my life into boxes once again. Destination Bali… and beyond!

Just under 18 months ago I left the big smoke of Sydney, and my enviable locale in ‘The Shire’, for a not-to-be-passed-on offer to take up residence in Noosa Heads. Convincing my clients I could be just as effective working remotely, I threw myself into life on the Sunny Coast, simultaneously jumping on the coworking bandwagon.

While I’d visited Noosa many times before, it had always been in the guise of family vacation. I was therefore more than familiar with the glorious beaches and riverfront, the great spots to eat and drink, the endless stream of backpackers and general beach town vibe of the place. What I wasn’t expecting to find, was a bourgeoning digital and entrepreneurial scene, fostered through the various coworking spaces I adopted as my base of operations.

It quickly became apparent I’m not the only one who’s cottoned on to the fact you can live in paradise and maintain your city career. Increasing demand has meant that coworking has taken root in both Noosa and the wider Sunshine Coast at an impressive rate, with new spaces sprouting up quicker than anything I can seem to grow in my veggie patch. Not bad for a sleepy little beachside town in rural Queensland.

For the first 12 months, I worked at Duke Douglas (nee The Loft Project), an intimate ‘creative coworking’ office in Sunshine Beach. A typical day involved a half hour walk through the Noosa National Park to get to the office, a couple of visits to the coffee shop for the obligatory caffeine hit, a wander down to the beach for a swim at lunch and a happy hour taco or two at Mooshka’s to reward myself for a hard days work. Life was pretty good.

Earlier this year I moved to Junction2, a new purpose-built coworking space in Noosa Junction, my half hour walk to work was thus reduced to a 5 minute stroll down the hill. The space offered more by way of the other inhabitants, including graphic designers and developers, and at a cheaper rate I was willing (if not a little reluctantly) to forego my lunchtime swims, for a more vibrant and productive office environment.

While life here has been pretty darn great, the impulse to travel and explore the world while I’m young and unattached is far too strong. It’s time to take this working remotely thing to the next level and go international!

Enter life phase: Digital Nomad.

It’s one thing to move to a place you’re familiar with, where you’ve got family, especially a veritable paradise like Noosa. It’s quite another to jump on a plane to an unvisited foreign land with nothing but your laptop and a suitcase. Not that Bali is exactly the end of the earth. To most Aussies, Bali is Australia’s playground, the pace you go for schoolies, a cheap holiday and souvenir Bintang singlet. Nonetheless, it requires somewhat of a leap of faith leaving paradise, a near-perfect work life balance and great friends behind to start the next chapter…

Hubud, I’m coming for you!

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Fashion, Startup

Threads Project


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One of the most rewarding aspects of moving from Sydney to the Sunshine Coast was the decision to base my freelance graphic design business at Duke Douglas, a co-working space for people in the creative industries.

Hoping to meet some people with similar interests and knowing that working from home was not going to be a long-term option, I made myself a permanent fixture at a funky little shared office space in Sunshine Beach.

Having other creative people around me has been both a source of inspiration and absolute procrastination. Not that I mind in the slightest. With such a creative energy about the place and someone always pitching the next big idea, it’s little wonder any client work gets done at all.

Threads Project is one such big idea recently brought to fruition through a cross-continent collaboration of entrepreneurs in South Africa and my humble little office space. The innovative project has the audacious goal of universally reshaping the creative consumer landscape.

As an emerging artist or maker, it can be a daunting and often unachievable task to turn a creative talent or product into a viable business, especially if there aren’t people on hand with the required marketing, branding, business and finance skills to make it happen.

As a result, many talented artisans are left to peddle their wares at local crafts markets, and unfortunately, as is most often the case, these inspiring creative talents remain as little more than a ‘hobby’.

Threads Project is out to change all that.

The powerful online platform is designed as a virtual hub for artists and makers to build and promote their brand, share skills and kick start collaborative projects with other creatives around the globe. It’s engineered as an organic and supportive springboard for creation to flourish.

It is hoped that by facilitating such a network, Threads Project will inadvertently help to reshape the merchant consumer relationship. No mean feat.

In South Africa, Threads Project has been taken one step further, with the launch of the first Threads Co-Retail space, giving vendors a physical space to showcase their product. Australia will soon follow, with the first Threads Co-Retail shop appearing at the Noosa Junction Alleyway festival in July.

Graphic Design

Stonefish Wines Rebrand


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About three years ago I was introduced to the larger-than-life Mr Peter Papanikitas, or Pap as he’s affectionately known to most. This energetic and passionate businessman gave me the fantastic opportunity to work on a modernisation of his successful Stonefish wine label, which has been somewhat of an ongoing project since mid 2012.

An updated label design for the seven original varietals has now been rolled out across the entire product range and already it’s success has spurred the addition of a number of new products including a ‘Reserve’ range and a line of wines targeted specifically to the Chinese market.

I am proud to have worked on developing such an iconic Australian wine label. It’s been very fulfilling to witness the growth and success of the brand over the past few years, hopefully a little of which can be attributed to my graphic design work on the new packaging.

Wellbeing

Slim Shady


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Sitting at a desk all day is just as bad for your health as smoking a pack of cigarettes.

Did that get your attention as much as it got mine?

For someone who has never smoked a cigarette in her life, hearing this made me sit up… Actually no, it made me stand up.

It’s a sad fact that the average Australian adult sits for 9 hours a day1, when research about the negative health impacts of sitting for prolonged periods has existed since the 1700’s2.

As part of my January ‘Whole30‘ health challenge, I decided to flick the office chair and fashion a stand up desk. With a sheet of timber and the engineering expertise of a very handy dad, it was a pretty simple task (I simply drew a little sketch on the back of an old envelope, and a wooden structure magically appeared outside my room!).

I have to admit, the first couple of weeks were tough going. The work day seemed to drag on and on, but after a month, I can comfortably stand for most of the day. And I have noticed my neck and shoulders are considerably less stiff than after a normal working week.

I now challenge you, Slim Shady, to please STAND UP!

Resources

1. Health Check: Sitting versus standing.
http://www.smh.com.au/technology/sci-tech/health-check-sitting-versus-standing-20140818-105jfq.html

2. Bernardino Ramazzini http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1446785/

Graphic Design, Startup

Juggle Street


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A number of years ago I was fortunate enough to make the acquaintance of David James, the then CEO of Brasserie Bread. He engaged me to work on a number of graphic design projects for the acclaimed artisan bread company, including a comprehensive product guide, branded bread boxes, POS signage and café menu.

Late last year he once again contacted me for my help with an exciting new startup he was launching called ‘Juggle Street’. The concept of which was to create a trusted online platform that connected busy families with local babysitters in real-time, to make finding a babysitter an easy process and one which ultimately strengthened neighbourhood networks.

Provided with an adorable set of characters and scenes created by a talented Melbourne-based animator,  I have worked closely with David and his team to bring the Juggle Street brand to life, through the design of various flyers, posters and signage. The latest projects have been the development of the UI for the Juggle Street mobile and desktop websites.

I am thrilled to be able to share the new Juggle Street website, which has just been launched after a website design sprint in Sydney last week. The site promotes the businesses pilot, launched in the Easter Suburbs of Sydney which has already gained a significant following from both families and sitters alike. It’s quick take-up is a true testament to the dedication of the Juggle Street team and the amazing concept they have created.

It’s been exciting, and a true pleasure to work on this project alongside the Juggle Street team and wish them all the success!

Juggle Street Desktop Website

 

Wellbeing

Veggie Patch Kids


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I once told my dad that I wanted to grow up so I could buy a car and drive to the beach to build sandcastles every day.

I’ve got a car now, but I don’t remember the last time I actually built a sandcastle. The closest I’ve come recently has been ‘Project Veggie Patch’, which involved a fair amount of digging and tipping buckets of sand. One of the perks of living on a sand dune.

I’ve never really been much of a green thumb, luckily my step mum is practically a magical garden fairy, so with her help and a fair bit of praying to the vegetable gods, we now have our very own organic veggie garden.

We’re keeping it simple to start with, the aim is to be self sufficient with salad leaves and herbs. Santa was kind enough to get us a copy of ‘How to Grow Food in Small Spaces‘ by  the Veggie Patch Co. A great read with some really simple, practical tips if you’re thinking of starting a patch of your own.

You’re all invited to dinner at our place after the harvest!

Music

Proud sister


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2014 has been a special year for me for so many reasons, none more so than witnessing the birth of ‘La Mar’, my brother’s foray into the Australian music scene. Teaming up with good friend Dylan Wright, the duo began writing and producing together early in the year, creating a beautifully chilled musical style in the emerging genre of ‘electronic soul’.

La Mar self released their first single ‘Anchor’ mid way through the year, receiving unanticipated levels of Australian and international recognition. A number of high profile music blogs and channels picked up the release including Hilly Dilly, Sound is Style and La Belle Musique.

Signing with Stoney Roads Records, La Mar has also found significant success in collaborations with other upcoming Aussie acts including Mazde’s release of ‘Shifted Thoughts’ under the same label. Currently supporting Byron Bay group Tora on their National Tour, there is plenty happening and a lot more in store for La Mar in 2015. Watch this space!

Fashion, Startup

Taking a Conscious Step


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I am incredibly privileged to have met, worked with and become great friends with the lads responsible for Conscious Step, a social enterprise working toward the Millennium Development Goals.

After a successful crowd funding campaign in 2013, co-founders Hassan Ahmad and Prashant Mehta joined forces in New York City – arguably the ethically minded fashionable sock wearing capital of the world to begin building their unique business.

On December 1st, Conscious Step launched a killer new design, marking World Aids Day. Working in partnership with UNAIDS, funds from each pair of socks sold provide the equivalent of 7 days treatment to an HIV-positive mother and her children.

It’s been an absolute pleasure to be a part of this fantastic project, their passion and belief in what they are doing is truly inspiring.

To check out the fabulous range of socks visit: www.consciousstep.com

Wellbeing

Habits of Happy People


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Inspired by a recent Up for a Chat podcast, I set about writing my own version of the ‘Habits of Happy People’ based on nothing other than my own meandering experience…

1. Give to Receive

If happiness is what you seek then become a source of happiness to those around you. The more happiness you create within those around you, the more likely you are to feel it yourself. Be generous with compliments and positive thoughts and cut the whingeing.

2. Sleeping beauty

I dated this guy in my late teens and his solution to overcoming problems was to go to sleep. He’d have an argument with his mum, go and have a nap, and when he woke it was like it’d never happened… While probably not an ideal way to get through life, the point is, sleep does wonders to improve your mood. So try to get at least 6 hours of quality z’s a night (I know, I know, easy to say when you don’t have kids).

3. Wander the World

I try to begin every day with a 30 minute walk, as this in itself halves the total stress in the body (physical, mental and emotional). Use this time to energise yourself, and mentally prepare for the day ahead. Try and get out into the bush – the sounds of nature are incredibly powerful on the soul.

4. JERF

I won’t go an and on with this one, it’s a no brainer. Just Eat Real Food.

5. Loose Yourself

Call it meditation if you will, but find something you enjoy doing that allows you to ‘get out of your head’ for a little while. For me, it’s playing the piano – my total focus is on the music, there’s no room for negative thoughts to creep in.

6. Sweat it out

Exercise releases endorphins, it’s science. Want to feel happy? Then move your butt! Personally, I have an intense love-hate relationship with Bikram Yoga. It’s one of the most hot, sweaty and uncomfortable 1.5 hours known to man, but the rush when you get out – feeling completely stretched and detoxed is like no other.

7. Get on with it

You know all those little things you’ve been meaning to do and keep putting off? Write it down. You’ll get a lot of personal satisfaction and a great sense of accomplishment as you cross each thing off.

8. Gather Experiences

They say ‘do something everyday that scares you’. Well, I’m going to tone that down a little bit to ‘try something new, often’ (doesn’t quite have the same ring does it?). Say you found yourself at a random seminar and suddenly realised you were going to have to walk across hot coals, just go with it! (This actually happened, I blame Marcus Pearce).

9. Seek Beauty in Things

I’m a highly visual person and I find happiness in creating beautiful things, emerging myself in beautiful places and seeking out pretty things everywhere I go. It’s one of the reasons I moved up to the Sunshine Coast. If you’re like me, then take the ‘Photo a Day’ challenge and try to capture something beautiful everyday. And share that beauty with your peeps – hashtag the hell out of it.

10. Free Bear Hugs

For those of you not in a relationship, then there’s a chance you’re missing out on the power of affection as a source of happiness. But it’s doesn’t have to be between the sheets affection, hugs are (almost) as good. Go on, boys don’t actually have cooties, share your energy with another human being – become a serial hugger.

11. Laugh Everyday

I’m not one of those overly bubbly, happy types by any stretch of the imagination. But when you smile and laugh you get a surge of good chemicals through your body, it’s powerful stuff. I use the smile trick doing my most loathed Bikram postures – it makes them (almost) fun if you smile through it!

12. Good News

I got back from New York about two months ago and since returning I have completely stopped watching TV. I used to watch the morning news each day and I’ve found it so much nicer not starting the day of by hearing all the horrors that have happened in the world. I’m not saying bury your head in the sand, but limit your ‘media’ time to quality journalism and do it at a time when you’re in a good head space for it.

Graphic Design

The Newbie


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This is the first time in my entire professional career that I’ve worked alongside other graphic designers and creatives. And boy is it refreshing! I stumbled upon The Loft Project early in the year but it wasn’t until I moved up here last month that I truly did any investigation into this funky creative co-working space in Sunshine Beach.

The crew that work at The Loft Project are a great bunch of guys doing some really awesome things for the entire creative community on the coast. A couple of weeks ago they organised a meetup to mark Global Entrepreneurship week, bringing together an eclectic bunch of startups, artists and creatives to start a discussion on collaboration.

I whipped up some limited edition wine labels specially for the event…

The Loft Project Wine Label

It’s such an inspiring place to work and I’m really looking forward to what’s in store next year!