5 Mins With… Johnson McKay, Creative Strategist at Fly

4 years ago by

Ahead of two workshops Johnson McKay is running for Design Assembly covering Client Attraction & Relationship Building Skills and Applying Design Thinking to creating Māori Graphic Design in both Auckland and Wellington, we sat down with the Creative Strategist to find out a little more about his work and the influences behind it.

First off, can you introduce yourself and your work to us?
Kia ora, I’m Johnson and I’m the owner and Creative Strategist at Fly.

How would you describe your work and your influences?
Human, emotive, fun, bold, genuine.  My inspiration is the world around me. My experiences in relationships, with the environment, talking to my children and hearing diverse opinions from family and friends. These things give me insights into human nature that I infuse into the work I do. I love the work by Alt Group, Studio South, Fuman, Fay&Walter and many others.

What was your first job?
Paper delivery boy, then milk delivery boy. Now I’m creative strategy delivery boy.

What originally influenced you to pursue a career in creativity? And what are your influences today?
I’ve always loved telling stories, shifting thinking and changing perspectives. I thought I’d be a lawyer. But found more honesty in creativity.

How do you keep your ideas fresh?
Every brand has a unique and powerful story to tell that is often not being told. Every new brief I wonder where I’m going to bet my inspiration from. Then I find it nestled within the layers of my client’s brand.

Can you tell us about the project you are most proud of?
I am proud of many. But to be honest, I’m most proud of my relationships with my clients. Very open, very supportive and trusting. We are doing very meaningful work with Māori Television, helping to normalise and revitalise te reo Māori. I love working with Design Assembly delivering workshops and engaging with the creative community. It’s like picking your favourite child, I can’t single one out. All the work I do I’m proud of, or it wouldn’t get presented to clients.

What has been the biggest lesson you have learnt getting to where you are today?
Patience & passion. To get to the top of the mountain takes time. You climb up and get to see that rich vista, only to realise, there is a much bigger mountain. But then passion gets you excited to start climbing again. So a continuous loop of patience and passion.

What does 2018 have in store for you?
I’m learning te reo Māori full time in a full immersion context. Very challenging, but super awesome. I’m expanding my team, doing cool work and hoping to keep beating my sons at basketball.

And lastly, what is the best piece of advice you have heard, which you would like to pass on to others?
Whaia te iti kahurangi, ki te tuohu koe me he maunga teitei – Seek that which is most precious, if you should bow, let it be to a lofty mountain.

For more information on Johnson’s upcoming workshops and to book tickets please visit our events list.


Up Next...

Fresh from the Field — The Chaat Company by Hardhat Design

This week’s Fresh from the Field features an identity for The Chaat Company, an Indian company specialising in Indian snacks set design by Hardhat Design. If you have new or recent work that you would like to share in Fresh from the Field email Lana for details. The identity for Chaat brings the visual language of the…

More from 'Celebration'...

A Brush with Design: 10 Designers Dish on Their First Design Encounter — Becca O'Shea

In the lead up to DA’s 10th birthday celebrations in March 2019, A Brush With Design asks 10 designers who have been involved with DA at various times to nostalgically recount their first memory of encountering design. In this second iteration we spoke with Becca O’Shea, Art Director from Little Giant. Hi I’m Becca an…