Today we talk with Scott Bonanno, founder of Fitzroy (VIC) studio Liquorice. He shares his insight on how to make your folio sparkle and his favourite places to get inspiration online.
How did Liquorice begin? I started Liquorice after working as an art director at a small design agency. I had mixed feelings about my first job in the industry and when I eventually left I was unsure about what I’d do next. I started freelancing, lecturing at RMIT and for a little while even worked as a photographer. Eventually my freelance design work built up so I hired a friend to help me out and the business grew from there.
Initially the majority of my work was creating corporate marketing material (mostly print) and designing brand identities. We still do lots of print and brand work at Liquorice, but as the business has evolved and the team has grown we’ve moved into strategy and digital work as well.
What’s your studio culture like? We’re extremely proud of our culture at Liquorice. We take our work very seriously but we keep our work environment pretty relaxed. The office is open-plan and all the teams (creative, accounts, development and management) sit together which encourages everyone to collaborate and gives us all a sense of what other staff are working on.
Currently there are 13 people at Liquorice and while there’s some growth planned over the next few years, we’d like to try to keep the agency relatively small. Our size keeps us nimble and is part of what shapes our culture.
What have been one or two favourite projects in recent years? I’m really proud of the work we’ve done for the Melbourne International Jazz Festival. They’ve been our client for the last three years and each year we’ve been able to update their brand and build on our work from the previous year. This year’s festival launched in late May and this year’s design is my favourite one yet.
You’re located in the heart of Melbourne’s creative scene, how has that influenced the designs? and the clients you work with? I think the best thing about working in Fitzroy is all the stuff you can do when you’re not working! There are so many great cafes, restaurants, pubs and shops within walking distance of the office and while I’m not sure that it directly influences our design, it’s certainly another important part of our culture — and it gives us a chance to get our heads out of work over the lunch break.
Clients really enjoy coming to Fitzroy too. It’s a nice change of pace from the CBD where most of their offices are located and there’s always somewhere new we can take them out for a coffee.
Any tips for graduates wanting to get there foot in the creative door? It’s a tough industry to break into — mostly because it’s so small in Melbourne and there’s no lack of talented juniors out there. Your folio is important and good typesetting skills (both online and in print) will give your work that extra bit of polish.
I think getting involved with AGDA is a good move for students. At the very least it will expose you to lots of different agencies and give you an opportunity to mingle with business owners at events like After Hours. Keeping your eyes on studios’ social media is a good idea too as it’s often the first place jobs will be announced.
What can we expect to see from Liquorice in 2014? A new website!