Monday, October 22, 2012

Font Design Master Class

My obsession with type began many years ago when as a small child I used to watch my grandfather set lead type for printing with his clunking, trusty Heidelberg letterpress machine. I also used to pour through my dad's type books – he had a great little collection since hand-lettering signs was a hobby of his, and I believe he used to make a few extra dollars making signs for local business around town.

Which is why I'm pretty excited about the upcoming Masterclass being run by DIA – the last of three workshop days in the series. It's an all day event at the Australian Museum 17.11.12 (soon!). The lineup includes Dr Louise McWhinne from UTS plus type designers Wendy Ellerton and Dan Milne. Cost is $200 for DIA members or $250 for non, and they're saying that participants have 3 years' experience in the industry. If you're interested, drop a line to my dear friend Jacqueline Hill: to let her know. Be quick, places are limited.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Naomi Fenton, photographer

Whilst looking for the perfect imagery to use in the upcoming issue of Global Interaction's Resonate Magazine, I came upon Naomi Fenton, a photographer with an eye for all things nostalgic and cosy. Jam jars, granny blankets, cups of tea and sweet collectables – must be an aesthetic which comes with being Tasmanian. I'm really excited about featuring a couple of shots from Naomi's 'Small Town' series in Resonate – pictures like these can really make a feature article... a feature. Thanks Naomi! Check out Naomi's blog here, where there are links to Pinterest, Instagram and other goodies.

Friday, October 12, 2012

How to get a design job (with us)

I was recently invited by Nicky Hardcastle, lecturer in Visual Communication at UTS to share some thoughts about what I look for in a design portfolio. Thought I'd put it out there for the wider world web to benefit from.

Incidentally, we will be looking to secure a new designer for our team in the early months of 2013. If you think you can see yourself as the next Boheemian, please go ahead and send me an email. 

Obviously, these tips are from my perspective and relate to design positions at our studio… hopefully they are useful for anyone wanting to secure a job in the design industry, generally speaking!

What advice would you offer to a designer when creating their portfolio? Or when presenting it? (top 3 dos and donts?)


1. Kill your babies. That is, know how to edit your portfolio in a way that shows your best 10 (or so) projects. Go for a succinct, punchy portfolio which really shows your strengths. 

2. A spellcheck. And for goodness sake, learn how to spell stationery.

3. Set your PDF to 'open to fit screen'. 

4. Flatter us. I can almost guarantee you'll get your foot in the door if you tell me you're a fan of Boheem's and that you know and love the work in our portfolio. Just sayin.

5. In your interview, think of 4-5 key things about yourself you want to communicate in the twenty minutes you're given. They might be: 'I did work experience here', 'I won this award', 'I completed a Wordpress course', 'I run a blog with 5000 followers'. Weave these points into the conversation, don't assume we've seen that stuff in your application. And then ensure to ask at least one or two questions about us.

6. Be flexible and generous. This one is a little controversial, so do with it what you will: if you offer to work for free for us for a few days so that we can get a feel for your strengths, if we are in need of support in the studio we are likely to consider getting you in (or having you work on something for a couple of hours at home). Once you're in, you're already a step or two ahead of the other candidates. Of course, we'd never officially suggest this, but if you show flexibility and preparedness to give some, we'll relax a little and give some back.

7. Keep your email short – 2 paragraphs is fine.

8. Ensure that the images in your portfolio are clear and crisp – lo-res, pixelated images aren't a good look.


1. Send anything over 5MB. 

2. Send more than 2 PDFs (one portfolio, one CV/ letter).

3. Send any file type other than PDF – if you send me a Word Doc I will delete your email without hesitation.

4. Include anything offensive.

5. Show print marks on your files, seems obvious but I have actually seen that a lot.

6. Ask about salary in the first interview.

What do you look for in a designer’s portfolio?

Neatness. A clean portfolio which is easy to read and displays projects in a way that makes it clear what they are about shows me that this designer knows how to effectively visually communicate.

Personality. We're not accountants. Design, whilst at most times very hard work, is an exciting industry in which people dress in jeans and Tshirts, enjoy brainstorming campaign ideas in the sunshine over coffee and head out to local art openings of an evening. If you like baking on the weekend and are easily distracted by polka dots, throw this in. It's an insight to who you are.

Intuition. We're keen to work with people who can think conceptually and come up with creative and smart ideas. 

A good match. You might be Australia's next big name in design, but unless I'm convinced that you're the right fit for the studio and for the type of work we do, I won't consider offering a position. We're a small studio and it's important we're all happy working together. If you're not successful in an interview it may have nothing to do with whether or not you were able to 'wow' us; it's got everything to do with us building a team of like-minded creative people. Some designers we meet with amazing portfolios are better suited at other studios with a different focus, we're ok with that and hope that our candidates can understand that too.

What kind of projects should be included in, or excluded from, the portfolio?

Include: A range of projects to show your skill set: some logo design and brand development, some newsletter layout, some digital / online work.

Exclude: Let go of the pages upon pages of illustration, photography and retouching – that's not what's going to get you a design job.

What would you say are the most common mistakes in portfolios and presentations?

1. Not addressing the email to the recipient, ie not using their name

2. Not adhering to the specifics in the request for applications in the advertisement (if there's been an ad). Read the ad carefully and if it says to use 'Mid Weight Designer' as the subject, do that.

3. Messy files with awkward typography

4. Spelling and grammar mistakes.

All the best to the jobseekers out there!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Odette Williams

Now here's a little online store to keep in mind next time you're on the search for unique and special gifts for kids. Odette Williams is a dear friend of Boheem's and seems to make beautiful anything she chooses to turn her hand to. She's created a lovely range of baby's and kids onesies and tshirts and is offering these at her shop, as well as some really sweet lovingly made collages, plus fun apron sets.

Although she will always call Australia home, Odette lives and works in New York. We're so excited to see her launch this range and can't wait to see what else might be added to the collection in the coming months and years.