Lachlan Siu

Having made the cut for our 16 for 2016 (voted in by Studio Round's Michaela Webb) Lachlan Siu's biggest guilty pleasure is designing books - and he's got a few in the works, as well as a trip to Europe. Having already worked under one of our favs, Rhys at TCYK, Lachlan is heading overseas and then who knows? Tip number 5 - get off your phone. A great read, and some lovely work. Thanks Lachlan!

What have been your highlights since you started out?

Getting my first studio gig at TCYK (The Company You Keep). That was a dream come true for me and not something I expected. Besides getting to work under Rhys Gorgol and a bunch of other amazing designers, the projects I worked on were varied and challenging. A highlight was working on a paper for Broadsheet and Marina Abramovic’s residency at Kaldor in Sydney. I was already a big fan of Marina before, so it was really fun being able to do something for her.

What’s on the cards professionally and personally in the next 12 months?

Professionally, just continuing to work and seeing where I can push myself creatively. At the moment I am taking time off over the Christmas period to work on a few personal projects, including a few artists’ books. In the new year, I hope to travel to Europe for an art crawl and maybe work for a month or two. We’ll see how it goes.

Design work by Lachlan Siu The Design Kids interviews Lachlan Siu work-2

Where do you think design is heading in the next five years and how will you adapt?

I think it’s difficult to predict the future of Australian design as it is still relatively new. If you look at countries like Japan or Italy, they have such a rich history of craft and design masters that is continually informing what the next generation of makers are doing. As Australians, we don’t really have that, and the opportunities we did have to include any Aboriginal aesthetics mostly been left to waste by white designers and artists. I think Australians are quickly becoming aware that design is important, namely because of company’s like Apple whose fetish for well-designed goods can be seen everywhere. But in saying that, I think the average Joe is still a few years off from understanding why design is important and how it affects everyday life.

What has been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learnt along the way?

1. Meet with other people outside of your profession, as they are the ones who will often get you work – more so than other graphic designers.
2. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing; instead work out what will work best for you and how you are going to get there.
3. Pick up a theory subject in your course. If you don’t know about the past how can you design for the future?
4. Accepting the reality that the business side of being a designer is important. Once you get over this part, it actually becomes pretty easy.
5. Switch off occasionally. I know it’s every creative person’s Everest, but try and not be that guy/gal who is always hustling or checking their emails. Trust me, your loved ones will love you that little bit more.

Design work by Lachlan Siu The Design Kids interviews Lachlan Siu work-4
Design work by Lachlan Siu The Design Kids interviews Lachlan Siu work-4

Tell us about any collaborations you have been working on.

I’m currently putting together a book with writer Sam-Twyford Moore and photographer Alan Weedon. Part memoir, the book is about Sam’s grandmother, a yoga guru, who later in life became a naturist who dragged her many grandchildren to these spots, often against their will. It is unsurprisingly an interesting and a new topic for me. Publishing books is my ultimate indulgence-work. It’s one of those rare projects which creative-wise I have a lot of freedom.

What are your three must-read design books, blogs or podcasts and why?

1. Owning It: A Creative's Guide to Copyright, Contracts and the Law By Sharon Givoni
. Easily the best book covering all of the legalities + laws that an Australian creative might face. Definitely a must read if you want to run a good business.
2. Design Matters by Debbie Millman: 
Great podcast to listen to while on the way to work or on your lunch break. Millman chats to a whole variety of designers, artists and curators, not just graphic designers. Often touches on the more human side of the industry revealing that even the great’s often feel like they are way over there heads.
3. This American Life: 
So this one technically isn’t design related but after a long a day even the best of us can’t go home and talk more shop. Each episode has a theme and a variety of stories on that theme. Occasionally funny, often thoughtful, but mostly I find it fascinating listening to stories from people I wouldn’t normally have access too.

Design work by Lachlan Siu The Design Kids interviews Lachlan Siu work-6
Design work by Lachlan Siu The Design Kids interviews Lachlan Siu work-6

Where to find Lachlan Siu online.

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