Hello! My Name is Sean Mates

Hey Sean! Tell us a bit about you?

If I was to describe myself if in a few words it would be - tea obsessed, along with being a calm soul, friendly, perceptive of the world around me, and an all round reflective person.

Branding and Campaign Project: Alan Watts

To help create awareness around an upcoming exhibition highlighting the works of the late philosopher and author Alan Watts, Gallery CQ has requested the development of a campaign design.

Watts Q Logo Spread of man in garden with pink triangles Spread of smiling man with pink triangles

Spread of young family from 19th Century Spread of man with long hair and beard

Poster of young philosopher

Module 10 Branding and Packaging Project: Source Tea Co.

Source (Tea Co.) specialises in sourcing and providing small batch loose leaf tea to tea enthusiasts around the world. They wished to develop an identity for their tea labels that would communicate this experience.

First Tea Caddy for Source Tea Co Second Tea Caddy for Source Tea Co Third Tea Caddy for Source Tea Co

Process of a graphic designer part1

Discovery: Conducting research helped inform the final brief of identifying the target market, communication goals, and project objectives. A design direction was selected electing to focus on brand awareness expressing artisan craftsmanship, rarity in product, and tea appreciation. Systems of content, colour, typography, and layout would support this.

Process of a graphic designer part2

Planning: Reviewing packaging from the existing competitors, including look and feel of final materials proved an important step in discerning how to create a unique identity. The hiearchy of content was refined along with the selection of a bespoke tea caddy as the packaging of choice. This would back up the emotive feel of being a product to ‘collect’.

Process of a graphic designer part3

Creative: The Final identity that was made is distinctive in look and feel and communicates simplicity, elegance, quality and attention to detail. Combined with the positioning of Source (Tea Co.) as a provider of artisan tea, this strengthens the perception and trust the business will look to build with it’s customer base, whilst standing out as being truly unique.

Process of a graphic designer part4

Application: Applying the visual identity to the selected packaging material (bespoke copper tea caddy) to be in situ, the final communication comes together. The tea label contrasts and complements the caddy, allowing the communication goals to be expressed with greater clarity - brand awareness, craftsmanship, quality of product, and application.

Who or what inspired you to be a designer?

I’m someone who decided to follow my aspirations to study design as a career shift after working through my 20s in various fields. In hindsight this gave me a good deal of work experience to know that design was something that I really wanted to pursue.

What are you up to in the design world at the moment?

Having recently finished my Certificate IV I have begun to connect with local agencies and contacts to both network and receive constructive feedback on my portfolio and work.

I possess an attitude at the moment that anything is possible so I am just trying to put myself out there with honest intentions and trust the rest will take care of itself.

What is your favourite part of the design process?

For me being able to investigate a problem and ideate any number of possible design solutions is what I most enjoy. Also as I work through the process to narrow down a design direction and see a design come to life is always fulfilling.

Looking back and noticing that I started out with ‘nothing’ - there is something about that which seems like ‘magic’.

You were really into all sorts of design disciplines at TGDS, branding, campaigning and even packaging. Have you a fav?

Getting to try a number of disciplines through the course was rewarding because it helped me confirm which parts of design I warmed to the most. Branding and creating an identity, whether for a product, service or business is the area of design which I get the biggest kick out of.

Tell us anything you would like to about your featured works.

In each project I try to create something that is meaningful to me or expresses part of myself in the design solution whilst delivering on the design brief. The works that exemplify this best from the course are my packaging project for a niche tea brand (this allowed me to experiment and follow through with an idea I had for a start-up business).

Also through a campaign I developed for a gallery exhibition I was able to develop an idea and pay tribute to a role model that I had growing up and was someone who helped inform my thinking as a young adult - this was a design that I now look at as having a ‘heart and soul’.

What did you love about studying design?

I approached design with a number of preconceived ideas and expectations. To discover that I was able to develop and find my own design aesthetic through my work was something that I loved refining over time - today I feel I have a better appreciation about my own style and how I approach a design challenge. Also to learn that the design process was an intelligent, deliberate series of steps that a designer walks through with each project helped me understand in more detail that design isn’t based on luck or chance, but instead a thorough end to end process.

What advice would you give other people about to embark on their design journey?

The most valuable lesson I feel I can give is in the areas of persistence and resilience. I’m not afraid to admit the course took me much longer than expected to complete in the face of unexpected challenges and distractions in my personal and professional life.

It was in knowing the course was something I wanted to finish no matter what that I worked with the supportive staff and faculty to help me organise my study, break down assignments into smaller parts and help me keep my enthusiasm. I have ended up with a qualification and become wiser with a few important life lessons!

What’s your dream design job? Don’t hold back!

So far I am enjoying the freedom that being a Freelance Designer brings working on my own terms and I feel this is giving me some clues in how I might like to work best long term. In saying that, I would like to find an opportunity in the areas of Brand Design, Corporate Identity Design and Logo Design.

Thanks Sean