Emerging Designer – Emma Newnes
Emma Newnes | Designer
The journey to design starts early for some people. We interviewed Emma Newnes and found that was most definitely the case.
Where did you grow up?
I’m a Sydney girl, and grew up on the lower north shore. I went to school on the northern beaches.
Why did you choose design?
I’ve always loved graphics. Before I even knew what graphic design was, I collected art/design/fashion magazines and just wanted to understand everything about them. They all had really contemporary visuals and were targeting teenagers, so it was probably what sparked my love for design. I’d been a painter/ illustrator (though not a very good one) since the age of 8/9 and wanted to do something creative when I went through school.
Who were your early influences?
I didn’t have anyone in particular I looked up to, but I constantly read art and design magazines. I would even say fashion brands were an early inspiration for me, particularly surf/ skate brands that incorporated art into their brands.
Where did you study, why and what was it like?
I did hairdressing for a few years. I knew I wanted to do something creative but didn’t know where to start until I went to CATC in The Rocks, Sydney. I found out about the diploma course through my roommate at the time. I did a Diploma of Communication Design at CATC. The school was a great experience, being around like-minded creatives and lecturers was pretty inspiring. I then did a Bachelor of Communication Design at Billy Blue in Ultimo which was a pretty similar experience. I graduated finally in April 2016.
What have you done since then?
I pretty much started working a week after uni finished, but before my graduation. I’ve travelled overseas visiting Thailand and Dubai. I did a road trip from Exmouth to Perth and swam with whale sharks, turtles and manta rays. We did another camping road trip all around Tasmania for a few weeks, we caught the ferry over with our [Land Rover] Defender and drove.
Where have you worked since then?
The Creative Method in Surry Hills, along worked in a few bars and pubs in the Sydney city area when I first started as I was freelancing for a few months. I’ve also done a few freelance design jobs outside of the studio here and there.
Tell us about where you work now, what is it like and what do you do?
I’m still at The Creative Method, it’s a small studio of only seven people. We specialise in branding for food, beverage, restaurants and packaging. Because it’s small, we’re all quite close and work really well together. It’s hands on which I feel really lucky about as I get a large scope of roles on any given project. It’s been great for learning, I’ve grown so much as a designer since leaving uni, and I have my Creative and Art directors to thank for that! We do quite a lot of crafted work which I also really enjoy.
Do you do any other design (related) work outside where you work.
I take on freelance jobs when I have the time, at the moment I’m working on a set of illustrations for some pub posters. I’ve previously done branding for a publisher and illustrations jobs for people I meet through friends or family. I have a lot of personal projects in the works too, The Flipside was one that took a lot of my spare time for a few months. Once I’ve finished a project, I usually start another one pretty soon after! It’s awesome to have creative freedom with no constraints, and personal projects are a way for me to show what I really want to work on. I guess The Flipside is the first fully tactile project I’ve worked on, and for a specific reason. I want people to physically hold something that I designed so they’ll engage with it on a different level to a regular resume. I made books to attract attention, be more immersive, and allow people to flip through the story at their own pace and feel a part of it. It shows process and detail which you might not see in a digital portfolio. I also love the idea of creating something physical to make the process more fun, and to give more thought to how it could manifest in real life. The sets you see in the photos of The Flipside, for example, were so engaging to create and connect to the idea of flipping objects that reinforce the book.
And the future, what does that entail?
I’m looking to live and work in London at the end of the year/early 2019. The design scene there seems to be so big and I’m excited to experience it!
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