In this week’s Spotlight we catch up with Daniel Ioannou who share’s his tips to navigate down the ever evolving creative career path.
What led you into Graphic Design?
Cheesy but I just kinda fell into it. I know… #wanker
I studied Art and Design throughout high school and decided to leave school at the end of Year 11 to study something creative – I had no idea graphic design was even a thing. After a year of studying Design Fundamentals someone pointed me in the direction of graphic design. Nek minnit I’m at the Design Centre Enmore for three years – and the rest is history.
If there were ever such a thing, what would a typical working day look like?
One thing’s for certain, typical days always start with coffee. Strong coffee.
Once caffeinated, I’ll normally catch up with the creative teams on the projects I direct at Re. From there, it’s more coffee and off to a client meeting. When I’m back in the studio, it’s typically brainstorming with the wider team – strategy, verbal, accounts and creative – to map out a plan of attack for any new projects or briefs.
At this point, all the coffee shops are closed so you’ll probably find me searching for treats in the studio kitchen.
What pieces of work are you most proud of? And why?
It would have to be ‘Intimacy’, the piece we created for Griffin Theatre’s 2016 EOFY donations drive.
Taking our skills and collaborating with some kickass talent, we were able to create a campaign that raised 160 per cent of the previous year’s donations and attracted over 100 new donors in just two months. Griffin is one of Sydney’s oldest – and I would argue – most important theatre companies. But like a lot of greats in the arts sector, government funding cuts means they now rely on donations to survive. Being able to use my craft and network to help a company like Griffin continue their brilliant work feels pretty damn great.
You can check out ‘Intimacy’ here: https://www.theloop.com.au/danielioannou/portfolio/griffin-theatre-company-eofy-2016/292870
What tools / techniques / approaches did you use to create these projects?
Like most projects at Re, the process starts in understanding. We really try to tap into the business, the people who engage with it and most importantly, what is happening in the world that the brand needs to respond to.
In Griffin’s case, we needed to make a big impact with little spend so instantly we knew there was opportunity in social media. But we also knew if we only tapped into Griffin’s channels, we would only reach our existing audience. So we brought together a team based not only on their amazing talent but their social reach. Collaborating with director Jack Naylor, portrait photographer Nick Lawrence and a cast of exceptional Griffin talent meant we were able to create an amazing piece while also tripling our social reach through smart collaboration.
What’s the best part about working in the RE design team?
100% the team. I know it’s cliché but the people at Re are amazing.
We have such a diverse set of skills and expertise which constantly surprises and excites me. Not only does it deliver some really unique work, it creates an environment that makes you question the status quo and inevitably learn.
And most importantly – with the exception of one or two vegans – most of them also like wine and cheese.
What are the most common challenges you encounter in the job/industry?
Changing the perception of what we do and moving away from pure ‘graphic design’.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good paper stock and a nice foil, but our job as creatives has become so much more.
The world is changing faster than ever before, and people are looking to brands to pave the right path forward. We have a responsibility to push the boundaries of graphic design and that’s a challenging but important thing to do – to educate clients, people and most importantly our design schools.
Can you name/describe another brand’s product design you have recently been excited by? And why?
HAY x IKEA. I’m a sucker for beautiful furniture so the thought of being able to afford something bigger than a pencil from HAY is pretty exciting, but I’m actually more intrigued by the collab itself. It’s a testament to how much IKEA has tapped into culture and trends more than ever before – we even saw Balenciaga take the iconic IKEA bag to the runway this year.
How do you keep evolving and growing as a designer?
I’m a true believer that you need to get a broad understanding of the world we live in and that comes from meeting people either in person through friends, at events, or listening to spectacular peeps on platforms like TED.
If you’re in a creative rut, do you have go-to places either physical, virtual or both where you go to get inspired?
It’s something that varies depending on what aspect of creativity has me in a rut. Lately it has been a combo of podcasts and TED talks. I find hearing fresh perspectives really inspiring; even if it’s a talk about something completely unrelated, often listening to a different approach gets me thinking.
Any advice for aspiring designers?
Diversify. You don’t have to be a Jack or Jill of all trades but you need to be able to do more than one thing. To my point earlier, our jobs are no longer just about graphic design so we need to get a broader knowledge of the world. Sure, lean into your strengths but at the same time try to understand the role other skills can play in the broader context.
Any projects you’re involved in at present that you want more people to know about?
There are some exciting things coming up at Re but it’s all a bit hush-hush for the minute. #watchthisspace