Adelaide Design


I just wanted to give a heads up for the latest issue of Fête Magazine that has just come out in the last few days. Fête is consistently one of the best design/lifestyle magazines released not just in Australia, but in the world, and the design and photography is beautifully considered with each issue. No. 25 is a particular standout, even amongst it’s usual level of quality with some great articles on minimalism, simplifying your lifestyle, and how to achieve that important work/life balance. There’s also lots of cool stuff to look it if that’s your thing as well! Fete have also been advertising for a mid-weight freelance designer, I don’t know if they’ve found that perfect candidate yet, but it would be an awesome opportunity to be part of such a great product. If you think you have the design chops (and you’re not too late to apply of course), drop them your details. Also, go and pick up a copy of the magazine of course, available around Australia where all such good magazines are sold – or you can check out all their list of stockists here.


I don’t spend nearly enough time on here discussing local illustrators (actually, I probably don’t spend enough time on here period). It’s not a deliberate omission, just a slackness on my part to go in search of them (so hey, if you’re an illustrator and want a possible shout-out drop me a line!) I’m envious of the particular skills and fortitude of the individual who devotes their life to the illustrative arts. That’s a particularly long-winded way of introduction to the awesome talents of the awesome Owen Lindsay. If you’re familiar with the Adelaide CityMag or it’s late lamented predecessor Collect Magazine then you would have seen Owen’s work – it’s always a bonus when his pieces are featured there-in (though you should be reading it regardless). Owen describes his style as fun + engaging – that’s a good start – I’m particularly fond of his info-graphics, there’s always a ‘Where’s Wally’ quality to searching through the illustrated tidbits and letting out a gentle guffaw when you ‘see what he did there’. It’s a fine line between cool and kitsch when you work in a cartoony style, but I’ve yet to see him cross over – don’t be fooled by the medium, this is eminently clever stuff designed with thought and care into subject, layout and colour. I like the fact that he’s also not a one trick pony, his illustration goes from loose and easy to tight and technical when need be. what I’m trying to say is it’s good stuff and you should definitely check out more of his work (and also pick up a copy of CityMag if you’re out and about in Adelaide).


Motiv are one of  the great Adelaide design firms that seem to have been around forever. They continue to produce great work. Longtime company director Keith McEwan has recently retired and the reins have been taken over by his daughter Hannah and longtime employees Peter and Leo. Their website has had a major upgrade as well, and features many stunning pieces that run the gamut of graphic design mediums. If you are looking for examples of good, solid, honest design work, the Motiv site is the perfect place to start.

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I’m really loving the collaboration between Cul-de-sac Creative and illustrator Chris Edser for the Australian String Quartet’s Season brochure. I used Chris’ illustrations in a similar way for a fashion spread in The Adelaide Magazine I did a few years back (I think he’s stepped it up a notch or two here though :). His style seems to interact really well with such beautiful photography. Well done to both parties for producing something fun and engaging for what could typically be a pretty staid solution in lesser hands. Cul-de-sac are really on a roll with this and the beautiful work they’ve also produced for the Adelaide Fashion Festival. You can check out more of the work on the ASQ’s website, or of course, just pick up a copy of the brochure!


I haven’t written much about the numerous digital agencies that inhabit the great metropolis of Adelaide, slackness on my part, because as you would imagine, there is a lot of well designed content being produced by these aforementioned creatives. I’ve had my eye on local firm Lightbulb Digital ever since designer extraordinaire Dan Vaughan mentioned  his work with them to me. They’ve recently uploaded a dedicated website displaying some of their work,  the aesthetic is a pared down design style that is instantly pleasing and pleasingly functional. It’s easy to get carried away with the bells- and-whistles possibilities of the modern digital medium, but these guys seem to have their heads around it, it’s a refreshing  experience to view these locally produced websites, built and designed to be functional, easy to navigate and also beautiful to look at. They work with an interesting and diverse range of clients, take a look for yourself at their link above.


One of the first ‘Designers Who Are Better Than Me’ posts I did back in 2009(!) was about local firm Black Squid (still going strong, by the by). I made a particular point of singling out employee Melane Terrett Leš and her illustration led design chops – well, she now has her own studio called 3 Bags Full and is still producing some very nice work. Lots of illustration led projects as you would imagine, but there’s also some great typography such as the above bottles for S.C Pannell (this being a South Australian design firm, you can bet there’s lots of wine work on the site). Melanie and her husband Daniel are also exceptional visual artists, demonstrated by a separate section showing some of their exhibit and mural work. Beware the sheep on the home page if you have the volume turned up full!