We’ve identified the Gold Coast designers, photographers and agencies that are at the forefront of the industry and proving that the Gold Coast knows good design.
With a mission to stay wild, 40/40 Creative is not your traditional design agency. They’ve mastered the art of standing out and are helping clients achieve the same.
We sat down with Brandon Els, Senior Lead Designer at 40/40 to talk about design, inspiration and living on the beautiful Gold Coast.
What type of projects does 40/40 Creative specialise in?
We generally specialise in print and digital design, but offer a range of creative services including web development, photography, videography, fashion design, animation, story boarding, illustration and mural art. Pretty much anything that needs to be graphically improved, we’re happy to tackle. A one-stop-shop for most businesses if you will. This year we’re going to really focus on expanding the creative services even more, and really start to mix them all together to help compliment each other. I think we’ll start seeing a lot of exciting works in the mix this year.
Who are your clients and what work do you produce for them?
We’re a relatively new agency, as we’re about to finish off our third year. Just this year alone we’ve managed to work with both national and international brands such as Isocol, BCF, Super Cheap Auto, Circle on Cavill and Harbour Town. Our most recent project included working with well known American music producer, Randy Jackson, assisting with the branding and cover art for a new up and coming band that he is managing called North of Nine, which is due to launch January 1. The US market is definitely on our radar for 2016.
What piece of work are you most proud of and why?
Haha, wow – hard to say actually. The agency’s work is so diverse it’s really hard to honestly compare projects. I’d definitely say that the most fun projects are our personal ones. We spent well over a year developing the 40/40 Creative website. I think this is probably the largest project we have ever taken on, and definitely a lot of fun as we had no one but ourselves to provide creative direction. Super happy with how it turned out in the end. We always get compliments from clients about how unique and impressive it is.. So I’d have to say it’s that.
What made you want to become a designer?
The lifestyle for sure. I’m a strong believer in working in an industry that you would almost consider a hobby. I must have been not even two years old when I began scribbling, thanks to the help of my mum. Apparently I’ve enjoyed it ever since. I guess designing was the closest thing to what I enjoyed doing, without having to be an artist. I don’t think I was ever talented enough to become a successful artist, but I always had a good idea for what looked cool, so I just did the maths and figured graphic design was the next best thing. Turned out I was right, I’ve loved every second of it – never have I regretted becoming a designer.
Where did you start your design career?
Within six months of beginning my graphic design diploma, I had already started working. It was a pretty easy and simple graphic design position. They were family friends who needed some graphic design work for their Apple Reseller business, and I needed the extra cash and experience, so I took on the role of being their graphic designer for about 14 months whilst I completed my course. After I graduated, I went full time freelance for about four years, working with some pretty fun clients. I was big into my board sports back then, so I tried my best to work with as many board sport companies as possible. During the four years as a freelancer, I managed to work with companies such as Fuel TV, Dragon Alliance, Liquid Malisha, Lucky Straps, Yamaha, Body Glove, Conelly Skis, CWB Board Co, Mastercraft Boats, and Fyve Snowboards, which eventually turned into a full time position as Creative Director for them for approximately two years. I then joined Nic here at 40/40 once I decided to end the freelance game, and it’s been full steam ahead ever since..
What inspires your design?
Ha ha, literally everything and anything I guess. Travelling is a big one for me. My style of design has always been majorly influenced by how I feel, and what surrounds me, and I guess this would be true for most designers. I’m a huge sucker for vintage design as well – More often than not I just buy something because of how awesome and vintage it looks, even if it’s complete junk. It’s probably why we have so much artwork and designer toys in our office and don’t get me started on silver age Marvel comics.. I just can’t handle the awesomeness.
How has your career evolved?
I have been through quite a few journeys. I’ve gone from Graphic Designer, to Magazine Owner, to full time Illustrator, and now all round Digital Designer. I also still do a bit of photography, videography and mural art – but these are almost expected of you these days as a graphic designer. It all tends to come with the trade.
What is one thing that people don’t know about you?
I love my cat. His name is Kitty, and he’s a legend.
What is your favourite campaign and why?
We recently worked on a campaign of our own that we titled the ‘FORTY FORTY EXPRESS’. The idea behind the campaign would allow us to get our foot in the door of some of our favourite companies, and potentially bringing them on as clients. The campaign was based around the infamous AMEX Black Card, known as the Centurion. A total of 100 solid steel, completely customized cards were forged and sent out over a period of six months with the hopes of catching the attention of some major clients. Each card was nicely packaged in a slick black drawer box, and individually addressed. The cards also carried $1000.00 worth of design credit.
What are the biggest challenges of being a designer today?
Hard work, and being creative on the spot even when you have no time to think. This is one luxury that I miss about freelancing. As a freelancer, you have all the time in the world to come up with awesome concepts – but once you join an agency, it’s full on. It’s from one project to the next, with no rest in between. The biggest challenge is definitely making the time to conceptualise, as to me this is one of the most important stages in being creative.
As for the work itself, the biggest challenge is working to a brief whilst keeping it both functional, visually attractive and most importantly within the time line. Unfortunately, no two clients are alike. The hardest thing is trying to understand exactly what the client wants, which is not always transparent, and more often than not the clients themselves don’t even know what they want. It’s you and your teams job to try and work it out. Believe me when I say how difficult this can be! But this is why they come to us as the professionals.
What are your three biggest rules with design?
Colour choice, type selection and overall balance. Colours depict mood and energy, whilst type selection and balance provide the general design basis of the artwork.
How would you describe the design industry on the Gold Coast?
We get such a large variety of business. From standard corporate design to new innovative start ups. Our most creative work tends to come from outside of the Gold Coast, but with the help of our website and social media, we tend to still bring in some pretty fun and creative work.
In saying that, there’s definitely a bit of a creative scene working it’s way into the Gold Coast as of recent. I think the coast is finally starting to catch up with trends. and with the increasing support of local businesses and council this should hopefully continue. Fingers crossed it keeps on coming.
Why have you decided to base yourself on the Gold Coast?
I’ve been here since day one, and have grown up as a surfer and beach lover. All my friends and close family live here, and I spend 5 to 6 days a week in the studio with my work mates who are as good friends as anyone, so I have no reason to leave. I think the lifestyle is great, and if I ever feel like going somewhere out of the ordinary it’s only an hours drive to the airport. Works for me!
What are the top five things to here?
Morning surfs followed by a delicious coffee is number one and two on my list. Otherwise finding good food, enjoying the beach, and making trouble (nah not really haha).