We get down to business with AGDA Award winning Brand Keeper & Designer, Damian Hamilton from Cornershop. He shares some solid advice about problem solving, suggests not relying on the computer for solutions, plus tells us about his epic travel plans with the wife and kids – cute!
When did you fall in love with design and how did you get started? I didn’t really fall in love with design until 1st year Uni. I loved art at school and leaned towards creations that were based on an idea. But it wasn’t until I learnt the fundamentals of design that I really appreciated its power and beauty. I remember walking around the streets of Adelaide observing shadows, buildings and nature and the way various elements contrasted or harmonised with one another. I was taught how to look at the world from a different perspective, and I’ve never looked at the world the same again.
Give us the elevator pitch on what you do. Cornershop is an award-winning brand design boutique based in Adelaide, South Australia. We create brands that tell a unique story and help our clients grow; and we deliver them with old-fashioned service. We develop innovative ideas that communicate the essence of a brand; across print, packaging, environmental and digital design. By listening, asking the right questions and collaborating with our clients, we position a brand to be distinct and create a competitive advantage. Our strategic solutions are emotionally engaging, inspiring and they make a difference. Ultimately, we are brand keepers. We build long term relationships with our clients to ensure their brand story is clearly and consistently told.
What qualities and skills do you look for in a graduate? The ideal graduate would be a lateral thinker, excellent communicator and exceptional designer. I am particularly interested in designers that are versatile and that create meaningful, engaging and innovative solutions. I am generally deterred by designers that produce work with no substance, follow trends and have a style. Graduates that can rationalise the problem solving process behind their work is important. Strong typography skills are essential too.
What has been your highlights since you started out? A few highlights that spring to mind are creating opportunities to work with some global businesses and being recognised for work that we have created for small businesses. Earlier this year we worked on several projects for a large California-based wine company. For confidentiality reasons, I can’t mention names. From 2007–2014, we consulted with luxury lifestyle brand Jimmy Choo to help rollout almost 30 advertising campaigns worldwide. On a much smaller scale, I’m grateful that we were awarded two AGDA Distinction awards for our packaging design for a little known Barossa Valley wine brand, Moolanda.
What advice would you give students starting out? Be true to yourself. Don’t follow trends. Learn the principles and follow a thorough design process to create innovative ideas that solve communication problems. Secondly, use the computer as a tool or means to an end. Do not rely on the computer for design solutions; don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and craft ideas with different mediums. I believe that a folio of work made from found objects, paper, paintings, drawings, etc, will stand out from the crowd of vector designs.
What’s the big goal in the next five years? To build on our client base internationally in specific sectors. I’d also like to expand the business so I can relinquish certain responsibilities and focus on Brand Strategy and Creative Direction for our clients. Personally, my wife and I plan on taking our kids out of school for several months to travel around Europe. In order to do this, I’ll need a Business Manager or Senior Designer/Partner to know the ins and outs to effectively run the studio in my absence.