Posts Tagged 'agideas'





Werner was adorable.   He had what seemed like one of his students with him to help with his English, not that he needed her much.  Prolific!  He went through his myriad of poster designs over the decades and then showed us his rather interesting installation pieces he made recently.




Luca joined us via Skype which was a little disturbing at first seeing a massive head on the projection screen but we all got used to it after a little while.  I’m no fashion person but the girls next to me were massively excited to see him.  It was amusing when he said that you can use his pieces as rugs as well and hearing the shock from the fashion design kids in the audience.  He said that his pieces are all over the floor in his studio and people just walk over them.  Good to see him not being precious.




The Monster Children guys opened up their talk by announcing that one of them had gotten himself laid over the last two nights while being in Melbourne.  Nice!  These guys were truly dudes!  No pretentiousness here.  They went through the history of the art/skate mag Monster Children including all their earlier editions where they had made ‘errors’ like putting full fronting nudity on the first edition, painting the barcode as a piece of artwork on a wall, photographing it and using that as the cover, having a 12 year old girl smoking on the cover; these guys like breaking the rules.  Why not?  That was what they were trying to point out with their talk.  They are still going strong five years on.  Good on them!




Melbourne based typography guru, Stephen’s talk was again, enlightening to see and learn more about typography.  The most interesting aspect of his talk was about his new book, where he went to a Primary School and asked mid grade kids to draw a corporate identity.  Some of the illustrations were hilariously all over the place but many were frightfully accurate in their font details which showed us the importance of type as identity.  Fascinating stuff!




Trevor’s talk on IP law may have been a tad long and a little grating towards the end but he did have an interesting case study on Vanilla Bean aromatherapy he worked on recently where there were three copy cat items on sale in Australia, showing us that copycats are abundant in this country.  There was a massive cheer when he said that we were all getting the free Design Victoria IP booklet which was hilarious.  





Ahh, taxidermy.  Tasty stuff!  Julia infuses her taxidermy skills with jewelery as well as stand alone pieces as the above bunny.  Groans from the crowd were heard when she went through the taxidermy process.  I found it all rather interesting but I still wouldn’t wear a bird wing necklace.





Massive cheers from the crowd for this guy when he came out.  And why not.  His damn good.  Insanely young for the success that he has had, he talked about how he got into illustrating, toughing it out in retail as he kept on working at home and finally making it big time.  He showed us his processes which I imagine would have been an interesting insight for all illustrators in the audience.  Again, being prolific was the key for this guy.





Poor guy.  Ridiculously nervous.  About 5 minutes into his talk he lost his place with his speech papers and seem to loose it a little until someone yelled out from the audience ‘It’s ok Tony!’ to rapturous applause which seemed to get him back on track.  Unfortunately his nerves kinda got in the way with what he was saying but hey, his photographs look pretty cool.





Jane Prior does a lot of the Foxtel channel branding.  Nothing much really excited me about the work to be honest.





Tony Prysten from Igloo explained to us that he sees lots and lots of folios all the time.  The number one thing he looks for in a folio are ideas rather then technical perfectionism.  He also spoke about the paramount importance of understanding new digital technologies (ie.interactive) along with more traditional graphic design to be a player in the field these days.  On a side note, he gave away 10 copies of his book and I missed out by a whisker! Damn!



I was a little disappointed with Soap’s talk.  This is the kind of work that I would love to do and I really wanted to see an insight into their work but they spoke instead about their studio culture and the fact that they have parties, they’re social, they have their own beer, blah blah.  I know it’s important to have a strong knit group as a team but it wasn’t what I wanted to hear from them.  I know other people loved their talk, and it was good, just not what I wanted to hear from them.





The last speaker of the event was also the best speaker of the event.  Truly inspiring and insightful stuff.  Harry talked about various campaigns he has worked on (too many to mention) but he also showed us photographs that he had taken of non sensical street signs (ie. Avenue Road) to explain to us that weird magical things happen all the time around us.  I know it sounds like wanker talk but it was really good.














Willer may have had the best comedy slides out of any speaker.  Originally from Brazil, she included various photographs from Brazil showing the DANGEROUSLY inventive ways Brazilians have solved certain situations.  An example of this was a car jacked up by a piece of wood whilst the driver was changing the wheel.  The point of this was to explain that we can invent and create things out of products we already have – to look around and see the world differently and use it to your advantage.  She forwarded this idea by showing us some short promos she did for a VH1 where she synced music to home video footage of household appliances, like the washing machine, highly effectively.  She then showed us some of her graphic work including the corporate identity for the Southbank Centre in London.  The simple yet complex graphics used is cleverly interwoven with any of the artist posters who are playing there and the design – in the end of the day – is only a bunch of lines criss crossing each other. Props!













It is a true shame that Tyler Cann’s presentation was as dull as it was since Len Lye’s moving images seems quite amazing.  Yes, go see it when it comes to ACMI (I know I will) but don’t listen this this curator guy. Just don’t.













“The best job in the world” campaign for Hamilton Island?  This guys idea.  He is also a massive fan of the word “fuck”.  Lots of uses.  It’s funny, no one used the word till him and then it was slowly introduced with the rest of the speakers, but I’m getting sidetracked.  I enjoyed his talk although according to rumblings I heard on the third day I may have been a minority on that.  He talked about looking to your home first before looking at the latest trends from around the world and to find your inner voice.  The hand drawn “Powerpoint” presentation was a nice touch as well.













During the intermission this year there were these sophisticated graphics projected on the front black curtain going along with the music. These are the guys that did that.  They generally make interactive installations which have taken them all over the world.  They recounted a story when they were showing an installation in India about one of the Indian students who helped build the piece.  He asked them when the show was all over, “Why? What is the reason behind all of this?”, and they couldn’t come up with a proper answer.  There was no doubt that these guys could come up with some amazing visuals using the latest technological wonders but to what purpose?  This changed their work from then on and I think it is a very poignant point for us all to take away.  The last project that they showed was a telescope made out of cardboard.  When you look through it, it gives you a projected image of the space that’s around you, day or night.  Hard one to explain in words so here’s the youtube clip.  Look out for it on the banks of the Yarra shortly.
















My memory struggles to recount Paul Garbett’s talk well (40+ speakers people, it’s hard)



As you can see, Hackett films has done some very recognisable animation throughout the years.  His explained two types of the animation styles he uses, montage and distortion.  The montage aspect seemed rather elementary to me but the distortion side was great, talking us through the MVC’s of The Dissociatives.  Making characters out of people who already exist and are recognizable was a challenge but by exaggerating certain features of the face, like the eyes and mouth, he was able to create a puppet like Daniel Johns.  It’s quite a simple idea and I’m sure you have all mucked around with your own face in Photoshop for your own amusement but then animating this was a great idea.













The general manager of Supersonic, a sound design studio is a wanker.  We watched the showreel and the work that they have done (which is mighty good might I add) but he didn’t give us a real sense of the insides of how and why he chose to do certain sounds.  It seemed more of a “how good are we at Supersonic” talk. Don’t care.



The surprise speaker this year was “The Sartorialist”, famed fashion blogger from the USA.  By all means check out the website for some great photography from people on the street from around the world.  It is terrific (  I don’t how he managed to make his presentation drag out for as a long as it did however as all he needed to say was that he shoots everyday people on the street who he thinks is stylish from around the world every day.  I don’t know why you need 40 minutes to say that.  Either way, he’s a lucky bastard for being able to do this full time.  I could think of worse jobs.













OK so who doesn’t like puppets?  If your one of them, then your just plain weird.  This guy made the dinosaurs for the “Walking with the Dinosaurs” stage show which is travelling all over the world and they look friggin unreal!  He talked about his rather interesting career (and his self confessed, ridiculous 80s fashion sense).  It was interesting to note that you can still see the people (in blacks) controlling the puppets but this doesn’t really effect the overall performance.  He pointed out that if you DON’T see the puppeteer then a large majority of the show will be you trying to figure out how the puppet works rather then just enjoying the show.  An example of this would be the Muppet’s characters where you can see the wires that control the arms but don’t really care about them.  Interesting stuff!  Plus he had a beard.  Brownie points.













I have always had a soft spot for good music gig posters.  I have a few of them signed and framed on my walls.  I think the design challenge to create one is tough.  You often don’t have alot of time to design them and as Ken Taylor pointed out, with very little budget.  You can’t create a colourful illustrative wonder either since that would raise the printing costs and you need to know what kind of dodgy stock the poster will be printed on too.  So keeping all this in mind, it is a joy to see work as good as Taylor’s.  Queens of the Stone Age, Metallica, Pearl Jam, Nine Inch Nails, Kings of Leon, Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones all think his good enough to do their posters.  Maybe there’s something in that.





Ballarat Book Binding & Specialist Printing.  Good to see something out of Melbourne Metro being represented.  Milton Watkins, a larger then life character, figuratively and literally, talked us through his methods of binding books surprisingly enough.  His talk went for a tad longer then he needed to (and continually lecturing us that the mac was a better computer then the PC was bizarre considering his audience) but nevertheless I have a new found appreciation for the restoration of books.  I don’t know if I’m ready to go to Ballarat for my next design project however…





Andrea may not have had the best presentation but her work is quite impressive.  She would give us a long winded true story (generally based in Japan) which would go for five minutes or so and then show us her representational illustration of that story so we can see the level of depth that each of her images achieve.  She also pointed out that she managed to do the identity of a Canadian film festival by having one of her works on a Canadian website. The film festival people found it and loved it so they gave her the call.





My highlight of the day, Stanley Wong, encompasses everything that I want to be as a designer.  Insanely prolific, completely multidisciplinary, and overall nice guy.  Graphic design, motion, film, installations.  This guy does everything.  Most of his talk was about his ‘redwhiteblue’ project which as the agideas book says, “depicts the positive spirit of Hong Kong using the ubiquitous tri-colour canvas”.  He has used the canvas on posters, the interiors of cafes, social messages, anything and everything but it somehow all works.  His talk reiterated Sean Cumins talk earlier about being true to yourself and your surroundings.  Stanley Wong didn’t look for world trends when coming up with the concept.  It was his country, his people. Inspiring!





We were lucky enough to have one the genuine masters of typography address us as the last speaker of day 2.  Tobias’s talk was built around the design behind two of his typefaces, Gotham and Archer.  His pride could be seen when talking about Gotham being used as they official typeface for the Obama campaign and his disgust with Martha Stewart recommending Courier as a direction for the new Archer typeface was hilarious.   His website descriptions of both fonts do them way more justice then I can so I’ll add them here:


Ned Culic, my teacher from my Imaging class has been bragging to us to go to AGIDEAS since the start of the year.  Me being Mr.Ignoramas ignored his suggestions that it’s worth 6 months of Uni compressed to three days until something clicked and I finally decided to buy a ticket (and I got paid for a freelance job so I had some rare cash to spend).  My oh my, what a great decision that was!  Here is my review of all the individual speakers in order of appearance dependent on my rather rudimentary memory of mine:




 I never understood the fanaticism that Stefan can cause.  I see it in most of my fellow design students.  People really love this guy but I never really understood why.  Yes, I agree he’s good but worth going crazy about?  Example in point:  Stefan was the first speaker at AGIDEAS this year.  He comes onto the stage and someone shouts from the audience, “We love you Stefan!” Rock and Roll!  And then he started to speak and to quote a horrible film, he had me at hello.  Wow!  Inspiring talk not really about design but keeping yourself happy and motivated.  I am now an official mad convert as well.  I bought his book “Things I have Learned” while there.  It is a rare thing for anyone creative to have the freedom to choose to have ‘a year off’ and go and live in Bali to only work on personal projects.  He explained that he was currently toying with some furniture design (since his New York apartment needs new furniture of course) so he has started to make a quite unique coffee table.  The table looks like a regular wood coffee table with a glass top but between the glass and the wood are compasses.  Yes, those things that point North.  And full of them.  The genius part is that the table comes with these mugs with magnets underneath so when you put the mugs on the table all the compasses go nuts and all point to the mugs.  Great stuff.  Indeed, we do love you Stefan!















The inclusion of a restauranteur to the speakers list at AGIDEAS was a strange one I first thought.  What has this got to do with design I thought.  For those unaware. Vue De Monde is a very pricey fancy modern French restaurant in Melbourne.  For all of those reasons mentioned, I have never been, but I definitely do now.  Shannon Bennett’s presentation was the epitome of thinking outside the square which is what most of us designers strive to do.  Examples?  The use of a blood bank fridge to store their sorbet solution at -6 degrees but still keeping in a liquid form due to the fridges unique vibrations to avoid solidifying.  This means that when the chefs take out a bottle and poor it in front of the customers bowl, it begins solidifying in front of them like magic!  Take the menu home and plant it.  They have herb seeds throughout the fully biodegradable cardboard.  A truly unique experience.













Alexia produces composited images of fashion with old school dark fantasy elements.  Kind of cool if your into that sought of thing.  You can’t question her technical competency. I did find it interesting that alot of her shots were taken randomly and that one project could use a random photograph she might have taken years ago.  In fact, most of the creatives that spoke over the week seemed to take alot of photos all the time.  Maybe there’s something in that kids.













Jill Bilcock’s presentation was unfortunately a little disappointing.  She went though different styles of editing that she uses but the information seemed rather elementary to me.  More like a 101 on film editing rather then inspiration.












OK, so this guy knows his stuff.  The’re only the archetucture firm who, you know, built the Beijing Olympic pool. No small task indeed.  Originally from Germany, Chris now operates in Sydney and this is for a purely efficient reason.  They now have three offices around the globe. Germany, Dubai and Australia with the reasoning being that they can work around the clock. ie-Germany starts the day with the first 8 hours, they go home, send the files across to Dubai, they work for 8 hours, they go home, sent the files to Australia, they work for 8 hours, go home..etc.  Talk about German efficiency!  An impressive future project of there’s is for a brand new carbon neutral city in Abu Dhabi.  Their goal is to build the city square that accommodates the hot 40+ degrees days so they are going to build these giant umbrella like structures that are the size of skyscrapers which will cover the square during the day but will be open during the night.  Awesome!













It is always inspiring to see someone who is passionate about something, period.  Kate’s passions was evident as soon as she spoke about the Uluru Aboriginal Cultural Centre where she unexpectedly choked up while she was describing the project.  Granted, I don’t know much about landscape design but her use of historical indigenous history and agriculture throughout her pieces and the almost non-destructive environmental footprint achieved is to be commended.













Ah, the French.  You got to love them.  One of the highlights of the festival, Minneur is a curiosity.  He produces the websites for Japanese fashion designer, Issey Miyake, but dislikes clicking the mouse on websites.  The last Miyake website he produced was only viewable once, inserting a cookie on your computer so when you go to the website for the second time, nothing will display (this was changed a week into the website campaign).  His love of video games has made him try similar concepts on the book format.  You may be familiar with choose your own adventure type books when you were younger, but then add ink that appears and reappears at different temperatures and on different flips of certain pages, sensor devices to determine how hard you punch the book (if that is indeed the exercise that the book asks you to do) and a breathalyser to see if you are drunk – and the book will change accordingly!  Lastly, another prototype of his is  the 20 min book, where a book is sealed in plastic and once opened, the ink of the book will display for 20 minutes before vanishing and you thought reading the Iliad was stressful enough?!













A cop comes into a packed auditorium and introduces himself by saying that he’s nervous being watched by a a couple of thousand intellectuals.  Clever start.  This guy used to be the imaging specialist.  You know, the guy who sketches all the bad guys from the victims descriptions.  He gave us a brief history on the image technology  on crime fighting and was also the guy that developed the computer imaging software that Victoria Police use today.  Nice change of pace.













Used to be marketing director for Absolut Vodka and now currently works in the same position at Volvo.  Gave us a lecture on Scandinavian design.  Nothing you haven’t learned about in design history class.  Could have been interesting but instead my mind drifted to random thoughts of violence.  Next.













The guy makes very expensive speed boats.  Probably interesting if your an industrial designer if the presentation was good.  It wasn’t.













It’s good to see anything related to graphic novels make an appearance.  As you can tell Weldon’s work is heavily influenced by his young comic days and is currently in the process of writing/illustrating his first graphic novel about a place called “hell” situated in the family home.  The shots that he shown so far look awesome and his making money out of it!  Double awesome!



Music is something I don’t get in these conferences.  Makes the day go longer and we were running an hour late as it was.  Next.


Scratching my head again.  What’s an author doing here?  John’s presentation was entertaining but I can’t remember too much about it.  I do recall that he spoke about being true to yourself, an example of this was when he applied for a job as a teacher at Geelong grammar, he gave them 30 rather unorthodox references: his pupils at the time.  John got all of them to write up a small reference in 5 minutes good or bad.  One of girls wrote “We are always in for an interesting class when John gets us to lie down on the floor”. He sent that reference to them as well.  He got the job.













Garsun Yu is pretty awesome.  Full stop.  Creator of the titles for The Hulk, 300 and the Watchmen amongst others, he obviously knows his stuff.  His step by step video on The Hulk was enlightening to see how text doesn’t only have to static elements on a screen but can become part of the visual storytelling as well.  It was also interesting to see how he did the Watchmen titles since he didn’t direct the title sequence that was shot (unlike The Hulk) but still managed to make it look like every shot was designed with that title in mind in that particular placement or movement.  Great stuff.

Day 2 and 3 to come.

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