Graphic designers are visual problem solvers in a digital environment. We operate in an internet landscape. With an endless flow of visuals from social media amid continuous technology enhancements.
Today’s graphic designers kit consists of a macbook a smartphone and an internet connection. When seeking inspiration for our design projects, the throw away line, “Just Google it!" was the bane of my art school existence. Since the advent of the adobe creative suite we do not need to write or draw anything. We can just start pushing pixels and away we go.
As a ‘mature age’ graphic design student I tried to solve my project briefs by obtaining inspiration from the university library. With an incredible art section for inspiration, the possibilities were rich and varied. My submissions were often received with the quip that’s 'So retro!' I did prefer to try and create original drawings. Take my own photographs and create concepts from real life as the basis of my visual solutions.
Inspiration, when studying graphic design at university, came from a teacher Alistair Heighway. He would recall the heady days of graphic design when it was purely analogue. He would refer to us as Grapho’s and talk about the hours required to come up with handmade compositions. They were often imperfect and costly to construct even for the simplest brief.
Little wonder I was super excited to find out about the retrospective exhibition of Les Mason. A graphic designer who left a permanent impression on the Melbourne graphic design scene. Les was credited for establishing the discipline of graphic design. He was the first graphic artist in Melbourne to set up an independent design studio.
The exhibition marks the opening of the new NGV Design Studio at NGV Australia. From Nov 6 2015 to February 16 2016. Open 10am - 5pm daily.
Les’s output was prolific. He produced a vast amount of work, much of which has left an impression on me since my childhood. Advertising briefs from the State Bank, Shell Australia, Solo soft drink, Tarax Black Label soft drinks, The Salvation Army and 77 issues of Epicurean magazine, just to name a few. All produced in an analogue world. His trusty kit was a samsonite briefcase, a handful of 2b pencils and his Hasselblad camera a kit.
Thanks to NGV Australia for allowing us to visit and photograph some of Les Mason's iconic graphic design.