I always thought the JB Hifi ads were a little obnoxious, but had never experienced the visual anguish they cause Jack Mussett.
Rather than join the line of graduate hacks back in 2009, he decided to launch his own design company, Motherbird, with friends Dan Evans and Chris Murphy.
Jack gave me a quick lesson on design elegance from our coffee spot in St Kilda on one of the last warm days in autumn.
Keeping it clean
Designers are essentially commercial artists, and design must run in the family since my Dad’s a designer. I am a relatively anal person and my bedroom has been completely ordered ever since I was a teenager. It’s the same with design. I won’t go in and make a mess of the page, which sometimes makes me think I’m not creative enough.
I decided to start my own company after uni because I wanted to be in creative control, you can get sick of your work being dictated by other people. It’s quite a risk though, to say how about let’s earn two thousand dollars this year instead of forty or fifty. It’s also a challenge working your own hours and not go out for coffees or knock off early.
A lot of the times, especially early on we were writing our own briefs, just to keep those creative juices going. When we did the posters for Greville Street bookstore, it was a real artistic turning point for the business, because they generated so much interest.
I think you are inspired by the space around you, by how you imagine yourself in different places, for example, you would design differently in Barcelona or Switzerland because of their different cultures.
The marriage of image and type is my speciality.
Take that poster over there. I really love the Xs and there is a nice balance of colour within the space. There is something about the simplicity that really draws me to it. That is something I try to incorporate into my design, I mean, why over-complicate things?
Now take the poster next to it, that is just awful and I won’t look at it again. There is something about the colour, that purple is so horrible. So colour combinations are very important.
It comes down to aesthetics for me. If there is a beautifully drawn picture that has daggy type, then it sort of ruins the whole aesthetic, everything has to be perfect.
You can find more of Jack’s work at www.motherbird.com.au, but don’t be surprised if he designs something ‘brutal’ for you – his favourite architectural style.