Original Interview: January 2017

Andy Webb

TDK Awards 16′ winner, Andy Webb, has dabbled in a little bit of everything creative – music, photography, design, Lego (!) We talk about complementing TAFE with University studies and why to never underestimate the power of writing in design.

What are some of your earliest creative memories and what lead you into design?
One of my earliest memories is building with Lego. I created different cities all across the house, and then made up stories and adventures to go with it. There’s still something super enjoyable about building with Lego, and I think it can be a great brainstorming tool. (Thanks to one of my uni lectures for showing us how useful it can be!).

I studied photography in school and from there started experimenting with incorporating fine art and print making ideas into the process. I was fascinated with combining disciplines together and getting our first digital camera (1 megapixel, amazing) was the best. I also played in a few bands when I finished school, and quite often got just as excited about designing the show poster and organising promotion as playing the gig, so I decided to try my hand at design.

Where did you study and what were some of your first jobs?
I studied at Swinburne University in Victoria, firstly at TAFE and then uni. I found the balance of the hands on TAFE environment, mixed with the more academic uni structure incredibly valuable and looking back, am really happy I decided to do it that way. I would highly recommend it to anyone else looking to start their studies. My first experience of working in the industry was a mix of internships and freelance roles during my studies. These were great learning experiences not just in design itself, but also in understanding different processes and methods of working with clients.

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What has been your highlights since you started out?
A major highlight was last year while interning at The Company You Keep, I was lucky enough to work with the team on the brand identity for the Abbey Solo Foundation. This project really opened my eyes to the power design has to help these kinds of positive organisations spread their message, and I feel really grateful to have been a part of the process. I also had the opportunity to work with the Emerald Museum on a new identity while I was studying. Helping out an organisation that works so hard in preserving the fascinating history of the region was a great experience.

What are your three must-read design books/blogs/podcasts and why?
1. I am always so inspired when I hear other designers stories and processes. Design Matters with the amazing Debbie Millman is one of my favourites. It is such a great insight into the creative lives of so many fascinating people from varying creative disciplines and generations.
2. Australian Design Radio is my go to for the daily commute at the moment. Each episode is super entertaining and interesting and a great insight into the Australian industry. Very keen to hear new episodes this year!
3. Getting out of digital world, A Smile in The Mind is one of my favourite design books. It focuses’ on witty ideas and thinking in design and talks about different ways to explore these principles in your work. It’s full of great examples, and the introduction alone provided me with so much to think about!

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What advice would you give students starting out?
1. Explore all different types of design while you’re studying.
2. Familiarise yourself and get involved with the design communities around you. (The fine people at TDK have you covered on this)
3. Get in touch with printers, paper suppliers, developers and other connections to learn as much as you can about what they do and how you can work with them in the future.
4. Never underestimate the power of writing in design. I have never been that good of a writer, but I am slowly progressing and finding it to be invaluable in my process.
5. Always make sure you are being valued for what you do and give value in return.

Whats the big goal in the next five years?
Thinking forward, I plan to continue gaining as much experience as I can within studio environments of all kinds. I would really love to experience working and designing overseas, but I always see myself coming back to Melbourne as it’s just the best, right? I have some personal projects I am really keen to get off the ground so I would also love to invest a lot more time on them, both independently and collaboratively. I really like the idea of a mix of self-initiated work and more defined briefs, so ideally finding a good life balance between personal projects and client work would be the dream… Working with more organisations like the Emerald Museum and ASF would be amazing as well!

Instagram: @_andywebb
Website: andywebb.com.au

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