Tucked away in Adelaide’s inner city, lies one of Australia’s most creative studio’s, Parallax Design, a small studio doing big things. Matthew Remphrey, the typographic genius and Parallax’s creative director, chats to TDK about their award winning design strategy and what he looks for in a graduate. These guys are seriously award winning! At the Australian Design Biennale in 2012, they took home a whopping nine awards across seven categories. Not not mention, President’s award at the DIA, ten awards at the AADC Awards (2010), Certificates of Excellence from New York’s Type Directors Club and nine finalists at the AGDA Awards (2010)… just to name a few.
Tell us a little bit about how Parallax Design began. Prior to opening Parallax I worked at a large Adelaide design studio, Ian Kidd Design, where I rose to the role of Creative Manager. After 8 years I was getting itchy feet and looking for what was next – a stint overseas perhaps. I took advantage of a trip to the States for a friend’s wedding to visit some studios in San Francisco and New York and show my folio. It was mainly an exercise to see what type of work they were doing and where I would fit in. On the flight back I realised that after the thrill of working in New York wore off, I’d be doing exactly what I was doing in Adelaide – getting up every day to work for someone else. I decided then to start my own business. On my return I resigned from Ian Kidd Design and three months later opened Parallax Design in a small inner-city studio.
Parallax has won too many awards to count. What’s the secret to producing such standout designs?
We all have a really high personal standard of what we believe makes for a good solution and we never present anything to a client we wouldn’t be happy with seeing realised. Regarding clients, we work with them very closely. They are central to our work process, so we don’t really have to force our ideas on them, — they rise out of the collaborative process.
Kellie Campbell-Illingworth came to work for Parallax as a recent graduate, she has since been named one of the world’s top 50 creatives under the age of 30 by the New York Art Directors Club. What did you see in her when she first came to you as a graduate? In Kellie I saw someone with great ideas and a willingness to keep turning over a problem in the search for the right solution. Her folio was filled with her working drawings, scribbles and inspiration. I could clearly see her thinking and work process. This to me was more valuable than the finished pieces in the folio. She could already think — I could teach her how to polish her ideas and think more strategically about a design project and its objectives.
You have won several typographic awards, where did your love for typography begin?
I majored in Illustration at University and for a couple of years freelanced as an illustrator. John Nowland once told me in an interview he could tell if a designer could draw by looking at their typography. A good drawer, he said, produced better proportioned and more elegant typography. I not sure this is true, but I have always held an interest in typography and its history. Ian Kidd Design had the most amazing library with typography instruction books and design manuals going back over 30 years. I just drank it all up.
What do you love about the Adelaide creative scene ? The Adelaide creative scene is pretty tight. Yes we all compete with each other, but there is a definite sense of camaraderie amongst us. We get together often to share beers and war stories. I count many friends among my Adelaide competitors.
Where do you see Parallax in 10 years?
Owning its own studio space with 3 – 4 partners, 10 –12 staff, and an international roster of wine/beverage clients.