Xtra Shiny is an Adelaide studio started and run by talented creative Adam Johnson. The small studio works on a diverse range of projects from print to interior fit outs and boasts clients like Audi!
How did Xtra Shiny start?
Craving greater diversity and control after 12 years as an advertising art director, Xtra Shiny was formed by myself — with a view to bring together the client and the creative director through unfiltered dialogue. Expanding creative responses past the two-dimensional is a strong focus. It’s just me and my partner – plus two other freelance designers who share the office. We operate like a film crew… The producer/director assemble the right team for the job and work to a creative brief and budget. People we work well with continue to be involved in projects over-and-over. This approach keeps business overheads down and assists in avoiding a ‘house-style’.
You have been involved in some amazing projects, what have been your favourite to date and why?
I’m proud of a couple-o recent jobs — 1. HERE magazine for US hotel chain ’Sydell Group’. Good brief, good budget, good client, good team of collaborators. 2. BNKR fashion store in Adelaide. The flagship for Australian Fashion Labels. Purely an interior design job… but lots of ‘brand story’ woven into it. Again… the client was very trusting and lovely to deal with.
Additionally – I’ve been working with Audi for the past few years and get a kick out the scale and visibility of that work.
You used to run side project Collect! What was it all about and what did you learn? Any more side projects on the go?
Collect was great. Myself, Josh Fanning and Farrin Foster put it together off our own backs with the help of a bunch of contributors… most of whom generously donated their time. It was born out of a desire to draw more focus on the ‘little guy’ and the importance of quality small business and communities. Like Xtra Shiny… a lot of seasoned professionals choose to remain small, but lack the time/resources to bang their own drum – so Collect helped. After 11 (self-funded) issues, with distribution to over 20 countries, we decided to draw a line in the sand and turn our attention to similar commercial projects – utilising Collect contributors where possible to return the favour.
What advice do you have for recent grads/ freelancers looking to work with you? What gets your attention?
Commit more time to being technically proficient. Your value to a potential employer is so much greater if you’ve got the nerdy stuff sorted out. Page building, image contouring, basic colour management and an understanding of how the printing process works will give you a head start. Also, start collecting image libraries of work that inspires you. Technique can be taught – good taste, not so much.