Take 10 with… Graeme Blake
The DA team wants to support our community through these unprecedented times – something we kept coming back to is a focus on connection and community. So we want to do what we think DA does best, sharing ideas, inspiration and information and profiling our community.
With that in mind, we launched a new series Take 10 with… to do a pulse check on how you’re feeling, how you’re working, what you are missing, and what your hopes are for the future. We invited some of our friends, peers and the DA team to participate and we hope you enjoy these honest and candid profiles of Aotearoa designers today.
Introduce yourself: Hi I’m Graeme Blake, co-owner at PAN® The Love Agency and founder/CEO at Blutui.com®
How did you get into design? I started out drawing parcels of land for what is now Lands and Survey. Couldn’t bear it so studied at Wintec in the dark ages and started a design consultancy when I was 20 yrs old.
What do you love about design? I love the freedom it gives me to think through problems. When we are confronted by a client challenge, or a user challenge, the process of “What if we… and let’s try this” is exhilarating and then seeing the big idea come to life in the studio and trigger emotions with the client is what it’s all about for me.
What or who inspires you? I’ve recently fallen for Jim Lambrenos illustrative style, I’m currently planning ink to be applied from his Mondo Di Roma series.
How are you feeling right now? Honestly – a real mix of emotions, trepidation as to what is unfolding, relief that there seems to be a way through and hope that our community pulls through and grows stronger as a result. Also I have a daughter studying in California and not having her close causes a lot of anxiety.
Are you working right now, if so what does your work from home day look like? Arguably more intensely than ever. It’s only day two but we are working out a system of overseas video calls before 7am, family time with my cell-mates (wife) Jules and (daughter) Pixie and then join the virtual studio from 11 until 4pm ish. The trick I find is to have plenty of breaks – we’re going to be in this for a while yet.
What am I working on; the Blutui WFH campaign.
Image from the campaign below credit: Glenn Thomas – The Fox & King @glennthomas
What’s your one tip right now?
Business owners: Talk to others like your accountants and bankers early to make a plan. We had already cut out a lot of overhead last year and I would hate to think what we would be facing now if we hadn’t.
Designers: Take the time to reconnect with your creative soul. Do side hustles if that helps fill in your day – avoid the trap of all day gaming or Netflix marathons. You want to be useful when the dust settles, not a sofa spud.
Freelancers: Take whatever work is there, plenty of agencies will be needing to deliver projects remotely and now is your time to shine. Don’t undersell yourself but be realistic – everyone is belt tightening so being part of the solution is what it’s all about.
Generally: Don’t think of this as a break but as your chance to make a difference, strive for it. Sure, apply for every grant that’s going. The NZ government is doing a great job so far of keeping it all together and keeping the money flowing so take that mortgage holiday, apply for the wage subsidy and spend wisely. Once you’ve sorted yourself out, look to do good.
Tell us about your current workspace. Our home is on a gully so we are a bit lucky in terms of having a bit of space and native bush to go adventuring with Pixie. It’s not exactly the Med but looking out over something green lifts our spirits.
Which local business are you going to miss most during our isolation period?
That’s easy: Nami, Mr Pickles and WonderHorse for the social stuff and, this probably sounds a bit lame but our own studio – it’s a fun, creative space with clever people interacting with interesting projects, that’s where I feel the most grounded.
What do you hope for the Aotearoa design community going forward?
We’re passionate about seeing creatives shine and we’ve worked hard to provide a place for Kiwi designers to do that with Blutui. We’ve built a web platform that rivals the big corporate machines and we’re hopeful it plays its part in the future of New Zealand web design which is likely to play a big part in the nation’s recovery. This is a time for creative alternatives to the status quo. It starts with working from home and delivering for clients in their time of need and we will find smart ways to communicate, collaborate and create outside of what was considered normal only a few days ago.
lambrenos.com and @jimlambrenos
@glennthomas (twitter) or @_glennthomas (instagram)