Original Interview: June 2015

Clem Devine

We get the absolute pleasure of chatting with Clem Devine, the Creative Director at Richards Partners in Auckland. Clem also runs Studio Magazine with two other talented NZ creatives and is ex Alt Group. Needless to say he has some great advice including; what makes a good grad, lessons he has learnt along the way and his career highlights to date!

When did you fall in love with design and how did you get started?
I used to spend the school holidays with my Aunt and Uncle, Gail and Les Mason at their fabulous house in Perth. Les was a very early proponent of good design in Australia while Gail was a copywriter in the Melbourne advertising scene in the 1960-70’s. Their view of the world was a long way away from where I was in small town Invercargill. I loved it. Later, Les would spend time with me during University holidays, drinking vodka and smoking cigarettes while talking design non stop. Les was a real inspiration, he died with his boots on the last night of the 2009 Alliance Graphique Internationale Congress in Instanbul. I miss him.

Where do you gather inspiration, on and off the web?
I keep my eyeballs open all the time and listen a lot too.

Tell us about where you are today and what you love about your job!
I’m currently Creative Director at Richards Partners, and am building a culture of conversation here in Newmarket. I love getting excited about what we’re doing for our clients and seeing what we do to engage their audiences.

CLEM DEVINE - The Design Kids

CLEM DEVINE - The Design Kids
Above images produced at Alt Group under the Creative Direction of Dean Poole.

What has been your highlights since you started out?
I was very fortunate to spend 8 and half years talking about ideas and design with Dean Poole from Alt Group. Those conversations led our work to be recognized around the world, proving the best work can happen right here in New Zealand.

What has been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learnt along the way?
1. 
Be eternally optimistic
. This is a difficult job, don’t make it any harder by being pessimistic.
2. 
Be always open. 
You never know where the next idea is coming from.
3. 
Have an opinion. 
And be prepared to change it.
4. 
Play well with others. 
Good design is about collaboration, it’s very very hard if you can’t work together.
5. 
Don’t be negative. 
This is different from being critical, which is important.

CLEM DEVINE - The Design Kids

CLEM DEVINE - The Design Kids
Above images produced at Alt Group under the Creative Direction of Dean Poole.

Where do you think design is heading in the next five years and how will you adapt?
Design is constantly evolving as it intersects with technology, however the principles remain the same (read Dieter Rams). If you’re always open, have good taste, love great ideas, enjoy collaboration and are constantly learning, then it’s always exciting times.

What’s the big goal in the next five years?
To see my team grow and evolve and most importantly, to see great work come out of our building.

Whats your take on internships? and do you take interns now?
jobs@richards.partners

CLEM DEVINE - The Design Kids

CLEM DEVINE - The Design Kids
Above images produced at Alt Group under the Creative Direction of Dean Poole.

What advice would you give students starting out?
Look around you, who are the people you admire and would like to talk to? Lasting friendships can be made at University that are very useful when you head out into the world. Make sure you ask lots of questions too.
It’s like meeting graduates who have worked their way through University by taking internships and getting to know the design industry before graduating. It’s good to have a map before you leave home.

What qualities and skills to you look for in a graduate?
A deep interest in the culture, craft and commercialisation of design, a curious mind and excellent social skills. I only work with nice people.

Website richards.partners , clemdevine.de , studiomagazine.co.nz
Twitter @richardsprtnrs

CLEM DEVINE - The Design Kids

CLEM DEVINE - The Design Kids

CLEM DEVINE - The Design Kids

CLEM DEVINE - The Design Kids
Above images produced at Alt Group under the Creative Direction of Dean Poole.