Original Interview: October 2014

Studio Binocular

We got Laura Cornhill from Studio Binocular to spill the beans! Laura shares a great insight into a different approach to inspiration, what they look for in graduates and how she got to where she is today! 

Where did you study and what were some of your first jobs?
I studied at Monash Uni. It was the late 90s and orange was massive. I was lucky enough to get my first job working for Paul Findlay at Smart Creative and we worked in a converted church with no heating or air conditioning – so it prepared me well for some of the studio spaces I’ve worked in since. I really enjoyed my first job – we worked on a range of fashion and streetwear brands which was fun, and Paul had a really great use of colour and simplicity in design which I think has influenced my work since. After about 18 months at Smart, my friend Ben and I took the plunge and started Studio Binocular. We worked on heaps of small identities to start with and probably got our first really big break when we started working with STA Travel – which was super fun as we spent most of our days thinking of how to get pop culture icons like Shane Warne and Jason Donovan into travel campaigns (bear in mind it was the early 2000s).

Tell us about where you are today and what you love about your job!
Today we’re a team of eight and have worked on a bunch of interesting projects – from designing signage systems for the City of Sydney; to developing event identities for things like the State of Design Festival and the Australian Interior Design Awards; and designing websites for people like Federation Square. It probably sounds a bit boring, but the thing I like best about my job is getting to work with all different types of clients, understanding what kind of problems they need addressing and working with them to develop something they haven’t had before. I also really love being able to inject a sense of personality into our clients’ work – whether that be through humour, copy, colour or imagery.

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Where do you go online to be inspired?
Uh oh, this is probably going to be boring for people…

01 My number one source of inspiration is the news – I love being in touch with what’s happening in the world and being able to draw inspiration from wider socio-political events and happenings. This has a huge impact on the copy we write in the studio and on the general sensibilities of the work we produce. My favourite news sites are:

02 Buzz Feed: www.buzzfeed.com
I have a keen interest in animated GIFs of cats, plus I really enjoy the humour, the celebrity content and the idea of finding out 16 things I didn’t know about something I’d completely forgotten existed. This is pretty much a one stop shop for all things good.

03 I also really enjoy film and TV and get a lot of inspiration from that for the work that we do. So for my third most favourite place to go for inspiration I’d have to say Netflix.

What qualities and skills to you look for in a graduate?
Personality is probably one of the number one things we look for in a graduate. We’re a small team and by the end of the week we’ve spent a fair bit of time together, so we always want to make sure someone is going to fit in well with the studio culture. Obviously we’re also looking for great folios with interesting ideas, unique approaches to problem solving and good attention to detail. When we’re interviewing graduates one of the biggest things we’re looking for is someone who is thoughtful and has the ability to talk about the ideas behind their design decisions.

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Where do you think design is heading in the next five years and how will you adapt?
Well, this is not overly insightful, but obviously it’s headed more and more into the digital realm. Like most designers, I still love print and the smell of a freshly printed job, but I think the best way to adapt to digital is to really embrace the new opportunities that it presents – users being able to access content on demand; being able to use colour and movement in more interesting ways than print allows; and the idea of rapid change.


Studio Binocular