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Everything Begins

Interview with Australian Creative Director, Christopher Doyle.

Posted on November 19, 2012 by Amy There have been 0 comments

Christopher Doyle Christopher Doyle, Australian Creative Director & man behind the Everything Begins brand identity

Christopher Doyle is an Australian creative director living and working in Sydney.  With over ten years experience, Christopher Doyle's work has been featured on international blogs, used as the basis for education material in Europe and the United States and appeared in feature articles for Creative Review and Grafik Magazine.

In 2009 he was named one of Indesign Magazine’s Top Ten Faces and Forces of Design and in 2011 his work was selected to be part of Graphic Design: Now in Production (GD:NIP) – a joint exhibition with Cooper-Hewitt and the National Design Museum in America.

He has lectured at Canberra University, Billy Blue School of Design (Sydney), Griffith University (Brisbane) Enmore Tafe (Sydney) AGIdeas (Melbourne) and Wollongong University (NSW) and has sat on the NSW council for the Australian Graphic Design Association. He has also made written contributions to Desktop Magazine, Design Assembly, Australian Creative and Process Journal. He has also served as a judge at D&AD, AWARD and AADC.  Pheeeeew.  Busy man indeed.

He also happens to be that guy who found a piece of Nutri-Grain that looked like E.T. then sold it on eBay for a thousand dollars. True story.

I had the good fortune of meeting Chris back in 2009 in a former job.  Whilst in London I had established and launched Creatives Behind the Lens, a photographic competition that invited creatives to submit their photography for an exhibition.  When I came back to Oz I launched this same programme, again in partnership with D&AD, hosting exhibitions of the winners at both the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Sydney and Thousand Pound Bend in Melbourne.

For anyone that knows Chris, they will know he is a creative genius and a man of many, many talents.  Just when I think he can't possibly have any more tricks up his sleeve, he manages to surprise me with something else he knows or in fact does.  Well, Chris is also a brilliant photographer and was one of the winners who we exhibited at the MCA.  The thing is, not only is Chris super talented he is also one of those rare folk who are also ridiculously nice, an all round fantastic bloke, who I like.  A lot.  Thankfully for me, when I left the corporate world and met up with Chris, begging him to work with me on developing our brand and site design he said YES.  Bless you Chris, I couldn't have done this without you, not least having someone to natter to when all sorts of things were going on with the web development!  You're a good man!

Everything Begins and everyone begins somewhere.  Tell us a bit about your background – what path led you to what you are doing now?

I am a Creative Director, born in Canberra, based in Sydney. I've been working for about ten years. In terms of jobs, it's all I've ever done really. Which sounds pretty unadventurous I guess. I wandered around a couple of different university campuses when I was younger before I enrolled in a design course. Since then haven't done much else. I've worked at a few different studios in Sydney and I'm about to take a long break. I'm hoping to fill it with it with some recording, some writing and some wrestling (with my son). (and secretly we hope some more EB projects...wink wink nudge nudge Chris)

You are a brilliant, revered designer.  What are your biggest sources of inspiration?

You're too kind. Like most designers I am mostly inspired by the enormous and varied amount of creativity we are all exposed to every day. The global creative community are incredible sharers. The speed at which we are all exposed to new ideas, processes and projects is hard to keep up with. I just try to take in as much as I can. I also have a huge amount of design books and magazines that I revisit as often as I can.

The-Christopher-Doyle-Edit-Christopher-Doyle's-Favourite-Everything-Begins-Designer-Homewares The Christopher Doyle Edit - Everything Begins asked Chris to name his favourite products from our independent & emerging artists & designers. Here are two: Shuttlecock Cushion from White Horse Home and Breakfast Set from welovekaoru. Click to browse in store.

When did you first become aware of the importance of design?

In my second job. I was working for two very clever creative directors and they completely changed my perception of what design was, and what it could do. They introduced me to design thinking and the idea that design could really say something — that it could communicate in a way that was accessible and powerful. It was also the idea that design was not just for other designers, but something everyone could take part in, and benefit from. 

What’s your dream project?

It's not that grand but I would love to design for a restaurant or cafe — the naming, the fit-out, the uniforms, the signage system, the whole lot. It's an experience I haven't had and one I'd love to have a go at.

Dream client?

An open minded restaurant owner.

What would you re-design if you could?

Every single piece of boring, predictable, homogenous FMCG packaging that lines Australia's supermarket shelves.

What kind of design do you avoid?

Design that is ethically questionable.

If you weren’t a designer what would you do?

A struggling, mumbling singer songwriter. Or a teacher.

What project has given you the greatest satisfaction?

I think the most satisfying project I have been part of is the Alzheimer's Australia rebrand (undertaken at Interbrand). I was part of a big team and it was a long, complex process. But It was amazing to see how design can truly unify an organisation, give people a voice and contribute to significant change of such a serious issue. At the other end of the spectrum my work with artists like The Jezabels and Chet Faker gives me a huge amount of creative freedom while also being challenging and rewarding.

You were recently invited to judge the prestigious D&AD awards in London.  Was that a proud moment?

It was yes. I was encouraged as young designer to absorb as many D&AD annuals as possible. In terms of craft and thinking it is regarded by most as the toughest award show in the world. The standards are impossibly high and the process rigorous and incredibly thorough. to be asked to contribute my opinion to that process was an honour. And to travel to London and be in the same room as some of my favourite designers and writers was just amazing. It was an incredible week.

Semi Precious Gem & Wood Ring by Jewellery Designer Nga Waiata Chris' edit includes this Semi Precious Gem - Amazonite & Wood Ring created by Everything Begins jewellery designer, Nga Waiata.

Who are the world’s designers, past or present that you hugely admire & respect?

I have always admired designer Bob Gill. He has had the most amazing career, working as a designer, film maker and writer. I've had the pleasure of meeting him a couple of times and he is still as sharp as a tack. His approach to design is as clever as it gets. In terms of studios, there are too many to name. If I had to choose one, it would be Graphic Thought Facility. They have continuously managed to produce original, surprising, inventive and commercially aware work. They are small and independent too, which I like.

Everything Begins.  Everyone Begins.  What advice would you give to the young starting out?

I would offer two pieces of advice. Firstly, do as much as you can. Expose yourself to as many processes and personalities as you can. Take on as much as you can and if there's time left over, do personal work. Don't wait for opportunities. Go and find them. 

And try and find a good mentor. Not someone who'll just let you watch them, but someone who is secure and kind enough to teach you everything they know. Knowledge should be passed on. Find someone who is doing it right, and learn as much as you can from them. Then do the same for someone else.

You once introduced me to an amazing blog CONVOY.  Let us in on some of the other blogs you are loving right now?  

I visit a few every day without fail. I love discovering a new one but my favs don't change:

http://www.thisiscollate.com/

http://visuelle.co.uk/

http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/

http://www.australianinfront.com.au/

http://www.swiss-miss.com/

You are a man of many talents but you keep most of them on the down low.  We know you can be found playing the odd gig.  So tell us, what albums are you listening to right now?  

Hmm. That's a hard one. Right now I am listening to the new Something For Kate, the Bahamas album and Handwritten by the Gaslight Anthem. Mixed in with those I am always revisiting American Football, Bright Eyes and The National. I also continue to be floored by Marcus Teague's Single Twin album.

Two Wheels Good Letterpress Print by Aardvark on Sea Another piece from The Christopher Doyle edit, Two Wheels Good Letterpress Print from Aardvark.

Books? What books would we find on your bedside table?

Right now, Raising Boys by Steve Biddulph and the Steve Jobs biography. Neither of which I am anywhere near finished.

What art would we find in your home?

Oh god I'm not a great interior designer. It's a mix of old framed photos, large landscapes by Pierre Toussaint and my son's scrawls. I am mildly embarrassed to say I have a Keep Calm and Carry On poster. Although I did buy it 5 years ago and I still love the original sentiment. At least it's not a parody, right?

Best meal you’ve ever eaten?

It's a tie. Chilli scrambled eggs at Bread & Circus and the baked plums and ricotta on toast at Cornersmith.

Most treasured possession?

Material — my guitar and my pile of Moleskine notebooks. They contain every thought, big or small, I've had over the last 6 years. They'll never mean anything to anyone but me but for some reason I feel compelled to keep them.

Where would we find you on a Saturday? Doing what?

My weekends are pretty repetitive. We hit parks and cafes around the innerwest with the kids and sleep as much as we can. I also do my utmost to get to Cornersmith in Marrickville, which is the best cafe I have ever been to. It's hard to get through the front door on a Saturday though. Too many younger, cooler people. 

You live and work in Sydney.  What are some of your favourite things and favourite places? Sydney’s best kept secret?

It's terrible but after living here for ten years I still don't really feel like I know Sydney's best kept secrets. I savour little things. Good coffee, wide streets, parks and diversity. I love the innerwest. I love that you can drive down King St any time, day or night, and see people of all shapes and sizes shuffling past each other. It's always alive. In terms of shops I'm a sucker for Magnation.

And finally, let us in on a secret! 

I once dressed as Tina Turner for a primary school assembly performance. 

 


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