5 Mins With… Zoe Green – Speaker at The Design Conference 2018
Ahead of The Design Conference 2018 in Brisbane from May 9 – 11 we spent 5 Mins With… Zoe Green – Co-Founder of Co Partnership.
Zoe has specialised in branding and packaging throughout her 19 year career, with proven experience across many sectors, demonstrating a broad ability in FMCG and premium alcohol branding.
She has worked with some of the industry’s most inspiring creatives, such as Mary Lewis of Lewis Moberly and Harry Pearce of Pentagram, leading projects for iconic household names and challenger brands.
With a broad experience in own label packaging, she has worked on three major supermarket chains in the UK and in Europe during her career. Her work for Waitrose Speciality Cheese won several awards, notably a Gold Design Effectiveness in 2007.
In 2011 she co founded Co Partnership, a strategic branding and packaging studio with production director Max Harkness. The company has grown in reputation for their specialism in alcohol packaging; innovating, naming and positioning ‘New-to-World’ brands or refreshing established ones.
Shaped by her London upbringing, Zoe is driven to give a brand a pulse, seeking ideas that engage and executions that drive personality. Always one to challenge a category, she understands you have to know the rules to break them.
As an active member of AGDA – the Australian Graphic Design Association – Zoe was invited to judge the 2016 awards in Adelaide. 2017 sees her join as Councillor for New South Wales.
If you’re keen to head across the ditch for the conference this year, you can still get 25% off full price tickets until Friday 23 March at 5:30pm AEST or sold out.
1. What are you passionate about besides your work?
- Family. I love hanging out with my mum & dad, they’re really good fun and I don’t see them much.
- Film. I am learning to act.
- Comedy. I am learning improv.
- Music. I want to learn how to produce music and play the piano.
- Fashion. I am inspired by the outrageous and the normcore.
- Photojournalism. I could look at pictures of people for hours.
- Dancing. It is my greatest pleasure in life, especially with friends.
2. How would you describe your work and your influences?
I would describe my work as modern but with a warm familiarity of the past. I grew up in a home full of antiques (the working class sort) so I understand how to reference the past to design for the future. London is a competitive place, it taught me to strive to be original or someone else will do it first.
3. If you could pick one and one word only to describe your work, what would it be?
4. What is your vision for the future of design?
a) That it is less about the designer and more about the end user.
b) That brand designers (and the design industry) put a higher value on the work they produce.
c) That designers stop working for free.
d) That design awards will value and recognize the more commercial branding and packaging entries with the same appreciation of boutique work – (All the work Co Partnership have won awards for made no money for the agency, and all the work we made money on we don’t win awards for. Design has a purpose! – see point B)
5. What has been the biggest challenge you have had to face during your career journey?
- Time – That in order to start, maintain and grow a business, you will have to sacrifice friendships, health, money and your personal time – for about 10 years.
- Extreme growing pains – Moving from a two person startup that can run on intuition, to a 15 person machine that requires process, process, process in a two year period.
- Home sickness – Doing all this away from home, my support network of friends and family. Missing the Olympics in my city, Royal weddings and all those little, but important get togethers; big birthday’s, weddings, hen do’s, baby showers.
or/ What is the most challenging part of what you do?
- Trying to persuade the client not to strip out the print and production on a project because THAT is how they achieve premium.
- Managing staff and educating lower paying clients
- Managing one’s own stress levels
- Finding a work/life balance when you work with your partner
6. What is the best piece of advice you have heard, which you would like to pass on to others?
It’s not what client’s say, it’s what they mean.
7. Where do you find your inspiration?
In the truth/story. In the category, in other categories and in the consumer
8. What originally influenced you to pursue design?
- Grace Jones album covers.
- Hovis bread bags covered in baked beans
- 90’s club & rave flyers
- Knowing I had more chance of making a good living as a graphic designer who could draw rather than as an illustrator.
9. Do you have a life motto which you live by?
- Life motto that I live by: ‘You don’t know how strong you can be, until being strong is your only option’ – Bob Marley
- Work motto that I live by: ‘You have to know the rules to break the rules’ – my twist on the Dalai Lama
10. What are some of the methods you employ to staying motivated and enthused on the daily?
I meditate 10 mins a day – I use the Headspace app, I need someone to tell me what to do otherwise I could wonder off and start thinking about puppies.
11. What has been the biggest lesson you have learnt getting to where you are today?
- Work on yourself
- Keep learning stuff
- Never think you know it all
12. What was your first job?
Sweeping hair off the floor as a Saturday girl in the hairdressers, I only lasted one day as I dropped a jar of marmite on the floor and it stuck to everything.
13. What self-imposed rules do you employ when embarking on a creative project?
- Working back from the technical constraints
- When looking at work, I ask myself, ‘Will the consumer really care?’
- Stress test the idea off the pack. The primary pack is the brand, all other communication needs to be ‘built’ from it, so you have to set it up for success.
14. What is something which most people do not know about you?
I gave 50 Cent my business card, told him to call me when he wanted a rebrand of Effen Vodka – He felt the quality of the paper stock and put it in his back pocket.
15. What do you think are some of the most exciting things currently happening in the industry?
That the consumer owns the brand and consequently, brands need to work a lot harder to give the consumer a reason to buy, believe, adopt, adore.
16. How do you keep your ideas fresh?
By not looking at other people’s graphic design
17. What’s your thoughts on creative block, and in your opinion do you think it exists?
Yes it exists. It’s an alarm bell that you need to walk away, change the scene, experience something else, break the state, go on holiday, walk round the block, pick up a book, meditate, have a massage, tell someone your stuck, talk it over, have an early night, ring your mum.
18. What is your favourite creative medium and why?
I like it all. I’m happy with a pen and a napkin.
The Design Conference 2018 (#tdcbne18) is returning to the Brisbane Powerhouse to deliver its most action packed experience since 2011.
Showcasing 12 world-class creative talks and a ton of hands-on breakout classes, attendees are in for an educational experience which not only raises the bar for creative conferences worldwide (Link to QZ*), but leaves attendees inspired and energised to grow their creative passions and careers.
With speakers flying in from all over Australia and the world, #tdcbne18 focuses on the Art, Design and Creative business sectors, while demonstrating the thought process and creative ingenuity behind the global creative economy.
Speakers include Designer, Braulio Amado (USA); Artists, Low Bros (GER); Design Agency, DIA (USA); Type Designer, Kris Sowersby (NZ); Strategist, Cat Burgess and Creative Directors, Chris Doyle (SYD), Zoe Green (SYD) and James Brown (ADL) amongst many more.
#tdcbne18 is Australia’s premier showcase to creative culture, as seen through the eyes of a gender balanced selection of the world’s best thinkers.
Hosted at the Brisbane Powerhouse, New Farm, QLD from May 9-11, The Design Conference Brisbane is specifically designed to inspire, educate, entertain and connect the creative community.