Original Interview: February 2015

Marilyn & Sons

Get an insight into the cool creative Melbourne studio, Marilyn & Sons, through the eyes of a junior designer , Josh McCormack. Josh was a participant in our annual show #TDKfourplay and winner of the 2014 Newstar Design Award.

Where did you study and what were some of your first jobs?
I studied graphic design at Monash as part of MADA and finished at the end of 2013. Pretty much 2 weeks after my grad show, I was scooped up by the guys at Marilyn & Sons and have been tied down here since. I was pretty fortunate to get a job so quickly out of school, but it came down to being prepared and contacting potential employers early… before the rush of new grads.

My time here has been great fun and, by all accounts, seems to be a very individual experience to most other design studios. I’ve definitely learned a lot working here, particularly in multi-tasking, dealing with clients/suppliers and working in the realms of packaging which is something I had previously never done. Working to a budget and to assigned time is also something I never gave much thought to at uni.


What does a typical working day include for you right now?
It usually starts off with a quick WIP (work in progress) meeting to get everyone up to date on where things are at and what needs to get done.
Then we get the music going and start working away. This is normally broken up by some conversations about movies, weekend activities and anything we find amusing.
If its a cruisy day, the afternoons can be enjoyed with a couple of beers, otherwise it can be heads down until the work is done.

At the end of the week we have our traditional Friday lunches for our “A Taste of Marilyn” recipe blog. This involves one member of the team cooking a feast for everyone else in the studio. In the past, a cookbook was made and sent to all clients and friends.


What are your go to blogs for inspiration?
The Die Line
for packaging
Bench.li for graphics
Pinterest for everything
Grids and Tits for grids…
Brown Cardigan for relief

I also like to look at what other design firms are doing across the world, my faves are:
Deutsche und Japaner
Made Thought

What advice would you give students starting out?
Creating a well refined portfolio that really reflects who you are and what you want to do is really important. I think to get the most out of your first job, you want to work somewhere you fit in well and enjoy doing the work they do. If your folio doesn’t represent you, then you’ll probably get stuck doing stuff you don’t like.

Trying to get your work out there and seen by as many people possible is also important. I tried to enter what work I could into different competitions and collabs (like #TDKfourplay), where I was fortunate enough to get some really great results and exposure.


Whats the big goal in the next five years?
For me, I’m about to head over to New York for an internship at Pentagram (thanks to ag ideas) so I guess depending on how that goes could influence my plans. When I get back from the states I’m coming back to Marilyn & Sons to work, but other than that, I’d like to have a look at how other design firms work, small and large, to see where I’m best suited and where I most enjoy doing what I love.

For Marilyn & Sons, this is our 10th year so we will be celebrating that! Then it will be business as usual and hopefully the fun will continue!

marilynandsons.com (our work)
atasteofmarilyn.com (our food)
bottomhalfnude.com (our amusement)
Instagram: @marilynandsons
Facebook: marilynandsons
joshuamccormack.com.au (me)