Featured Graduates

Rose Leahy

February 2017

We talk to TDK Awards '16 Winner, Rose Leahy, about Vogue and why it was plastered all over her bedroom walls, her placement with Clemenger BBDO , and work/life balance.

When did you fall in love with design and how did you get started?

Although I can’t remember a distinct point, I think my interest in design started with fashion. I took so much pleasure in picking out my outfits and always have the last say in what my parents would be wearing out to dinners. I would religiously purchase Vogue every month, flicking through and admiring all the editorial shoots which were plastered all over my bedroom walls.

After high school I studied fashion design at RMIT TAFE and went on to work for an Australian label. In this role I handled a lot of branded and online collateral, I felt really inspired in this area of the business but didn’t have the skill base to execute the ideas I had in my head. This led me to study Communication Design at Swinburne, finishing my honours year at the end of 2016 (after a few tantrums).

Whats your take on internships? 

I am definitely an advocate for interning; it’s a great opportunity to find what type of work environment works best for you, what nurtures your process and where exactly within the industry you want to be. Interning allows you to get some of basic studio skills down pact that they don’t teach at uni, as well as broaden your network within the industry, you never know when these contacts will come in handy down the track.

As part of my honours year I did a year placement with advertising agency Clemenger BBDO – Melbourne. Working within such a fast pace environment I had to think on my toes and I walked away from the experience having developed a great deal and gained confidence within myself as a designer.

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

1. Don’t be too precious with your work – put it out there, the quicker you are able to get a bit of a thicker skin your work can grow and in turn become a better designer.
2. Look outside design for inspiration and even better away from the internet.
3. Keep an open mind and trust the process – I’ve quickly discovered that the best work I’ve created are the ones that I went into not knowing what the final outcome might look like. Experiment and make mistakes, failure is good.
4. Stand up for your work – although it sounds like a contradiction to #1 learn when to fight for your ideas if you believe in them. I think this has become even more apparent to me working with freelance clients, remember you’re the professional… oh and also don’t show work to clients that you don’t believe in, odds are that’s what you’ll end having to produce (nightmare).
5. Balance is important – enjoy work, enjoy play and get enough sleep!

What’s the big goal in the next five years?

To bring together my experience in fashion and communication design, to be bold and of course get that dream job ;)

Whats on the cards professionally and personally in the next 12 months?

Professionally I think now its all about getting as many new experiences under my belt as possible, working on some personal projects that have been put aside for too long and maybe even a bit of travel thrown in for good measure. Most of all I’m excited to start finding my place within the design community and doing what I love.

2016 for you in a sentence.

For the state of the world it was a worrying one – we seem to be moving backwards in so many regards…. for me personally it was an exciting, exhausting and exhilarating one.

Instagram:  @rose_leahy
Website:  rose-leahy.com


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