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Meet the city’s top creatives

We Are Gold Coast | December 2016

The Gold Coast is home to an array of design agencies that are building a big name for themselves both locally, domestically and internationally.

These agencies and studios boast an impressive roster of clients, a remarkable portfolio of work, prominence in local markets and some even have exceptional international reach.

In the competitive world of design, Gold Coast creatives are proving that they can hold their own and collectively they are helping the city to establish a worldly reputation in the industry.

Meet some of the Gold Coast designers, creatives and developers at the forefront of the industry and proving that the Gold Coast knows good design…

Benjamin Davis, Executive Creative Director, McCann Queensland

McCann has a well-earned reputation as a heavy-weight of the agency world.

Australia’s top ranked agency on WARC and in the top six globally, McCann now works with leading global brands to find creative strategy and design solutions.

With an obvious passion for his work, Benjamin Davis – Executive Director of McCann Queensland, describes the Gold Coast’s creative industry as incredibly vibrant but under appreciated.

“There are so many creative people here, unencumbered by the cynicism of urban hyper-commercialism, it’s really exciting to see such fluency,” he says.

“It’s so expressive and sincere and that’s why it resonates with me. I think people will naturally discover this about us because it’s so honest.”

McCann says he believes in the creative community on the Gold Coast and thinks that the combination of the disciplines that McCann exercises, combined with the creativity of the design community has incredible potential.

“There’s sincerity about our creativity up here that’s lacking in the major cities and that fits beautifully with the McCann ‘Truth Well Told’ strategic platform. I’m hoping to weave something genuinely beautiful with the two,” he says.

For the full interview with Davis, check out his We Are Gold Coast profile.

Brandon Els, Creative Director, 40/40 Creative

With a mission to stay wild, 40/40 Creative is not your traditional design agency; it has mastered the art of standing out and is helping clients achieve the same.

The business specialises in print and digital design, and offers a range of creative services including web development, photography, videography, fashion design, animation, story boarding, illustration and mural art.

40/40 Creative has managed to work with both national and international brands including Isocol, BCF, Super Cheap Auto, Circle on Cavill and Harbour Town. One of its most significant projects includes working with well-known American music producer, Randy Jackson, assisting with the branding and cover art for an up and coming band that he is managing called North of Nine.

Creative Director Brandon Els says 40/40 Creative is definitely building great momentum in the industry, establishing itself as a design dynamo on the Gold Coast and in Australia.

When asked what attracted him to the industry, Els said lifestyle.

“I’m a strong believer in working in an industry that you would almost consider a hobby,” he says.

For the full interview with Els, check out his We Are Gold Coast profile.

*Feature image is work by 40/40 Creative, which specialises in mural art.

Brooke Dobbie, Senior Designer, P’s in a Pod

Brooke Dobbie, Senior Designer at P’s in a Pod, says the Gold Coast is evolving as a leading destination for designers and creatives.

“I’ve been on the Gold Coast for about three and a half years now and I’ve seen a lot of changes within the industry in such a short amount of time,” she says.

“I really feel that Gold Coast agencies are on par with Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne and I think it won’t be long before larger brands stop overlooking the Gold Coast.”

Dobbie has worked with local brands and organisations such as Southport Sharks, The Gold Coast Hospital Foundation, Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, Trinity Lutheran College, The Southport School, Gold Coast Tourism and City of Gold Coast.

Some national and international clients that Dobbie and P’s in a Pod have collaborated closely with include Tourism Australia, Bournemouth Tourism UK, AMP Capital and St John Ambulance Australia.

For the full interview with Dobbie, check out her We Are Gold Coast profile.

Chris Howell, Director, Halfnine

Halfnine is a creative agency based in Burleigh heads that creates design solutions for businesses of all sizes.

Its name originates from the love of the outdoors and when the surf is good – arriving at work at 9:30am (half-nine).

It started in a lounge room and since then the business has worked on government projects and with major corporates.

Howell says his favourite project was The ‘Wipe out Waste’ educational package for the City of Gold Coast.

“The materials we designed educated schools kids on how to reduce, recycle and reuse,” he says.

“We are also proud that we helped the Gold Coast secure the 2018 Commonwealth Games with the ‘Get Behind, the Bid’ campaign.”

For the full interview with Howell, check out his We Are Gold Coast profile.

Laura Strange, Lead Designer, ArtWork Agency

ArtWork (AW) has built kudos not just for its graphic design but for its ability to weave art based projects into their branding and design solutions.

Lead Designer of AW, Laura Strange, says the agency’s client base is really diverse, but specialises in what they coin “cultural” clients or projects – which to the business means collaborating with clients whose businesses contribute to cultural evolution.

“This sees us working a lot in the art, food and drink and fashion spaces,” she says.

“Over the last couple of years we’ve collaborated with some big guns such as Nixon, Spell Byron Bay and Epokhe, and also tonnes of local talent like Burleigh Brewing Co., Black Sheep Cycling, Etsu Izakaya and The Lamb Shop. We also love working on city building projects with City of Gold Coast and Arts Centre Gold Coast, too.”

While Strange loves the industry, she says client education is a challenge.

“Some clients totally understand the value of hiring a professional designer, while some need help to understand why we charge our rates when they can get a logo via Fiverr or something,” she says.

“Educating clients can take time, but it’s definitely worthwhile – it helps us but also the creative industry overall.”

For the full interview with Strange, check out her We Are Gold Coast profile.

Matt Vergotis, Founder, VERG

Matt Vergotis started his career as a Cartoonist and Graphic Designer for Fairfax Media in Sydney.

He then went on to develop creative campaigns and brand executions for leading international brands, before starting his own studio – VERG on the Gold Coast.

“From a young age I was good at art,” he says.

“It just always felt natural that I would pursue a career that played to my strengths.

“I remember entering a logo competition at the age of 15 to design the logo for the Gold Coast Daikio Dolphins (a local baseball team) and my designs came in second and third.

“I clearly remembered it giving me a taste of how I could adapt my drawing skills to the business world.”

VERG’s clients range from small start-ups to large corporate re-brands looking to add a little love to their visual identity. Around 90 per cent of his clients come from abroad with the majority of those coming from the United States.

For the full interview with Vergotis, check out his We Are Gold Coast profile.

Kris Hauselberger, Art Director, Copirite

Local award-winning Art Director, Kris Hauselberger, heads up local design and print house, Copirite.

Hailing from Melbourne, Hauselberger has always been interested in the arts and with a background in fine arts and photography he has adapted to the digital world, designing campaigns for some of Australia’s biggest brands.

He lives by the slogan ‘nothing is easy, otherwise everyone else would be doing it’ which can be seen in his dedication to his work.

“From designing rave and nightclub flyers in a tiny office in South Melbourne, I am now leading an incredible team of inspiring designers and working on large national creative campaigns,” says Hauselberger.

“I’m so lucky to do what I love every day and see our team evolve into strong creative thinkers.”

For the full interview with Hauselberger, check out his We Are Gold Coast profile.

Mark Bannister, Art Director, Guerrilla

Guerrilla is a Gold Coast creative agency that aims to make connections between people and brands.

Mark Bannister, Art Director at Guerrilla, says the business has been lucky enough to work with the likes of BBC Worldwide, University of Southern Queensland, Heritage Bank, Plan International and more locally the Bleach* Festival and Gold Coast Tourism.

“At Guerrilla, we solve problems through branding, campaigns and digital experiences,” says Bannister.

“We believe that powerful ideas, well executed, connect people and change our world. It’s a bold statement, but through identifying the problem a client is having, we are able to create a solution that effectively connects them with their audience.

“This solution can take on any number of forms so we never limit ourselves as a studio to specialist fields.”

For the full interview with Bannister, check out his We Are Gold Coast profile.

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