The DA team want 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: Leon Mackie, Senior Graphic Designer, Gusto Design
How did you get into design? At an early age I wanted to be some form of designer. For a long time I wanted to be an architect but I changed my mind at some stage. I studied at Massey School of Design in Wellington and my first job was with a large publishing company where I designed a wide range of publications. The design manager there gave me a piece of advice that has always served me well: don’t try and be too clever. So basically, stop when you’ve hit the mark.
What do you love about design? Achieving the right balance between communication and creativity.
What or who inspires you? My dad designed and built houses and I’ve always admired his focus on detail and functionality. My mum is very creative, especially when it comes to writing. Their approach to creativity is quite opposite to one another and I feel like I ended up with elements of them both. So I’d have to say they are my biggest inspirations. Also, Dieter Rams and Chris Bilheimer.
‘The Language of Things’ by Deyan Sudjic. I bought this book years ago and it has remained one of my favourite and most inspiring books about design. Its main focus is around industrial design but the fundamentals he discusses apply to all disciplines.
How are you feeling right now? Like most people, I’m very much living in a bit of a dreamworld. I’m just always reminding myself that the feeling will dissipate over time.
Are you working right now, if so what does your work from home day look like? We have set up a small home studio in our spare room. I work in there alongside my wife who is a Director of Design Operations at a software company. We actually used to be co-workers at the publishing company I mentioned earlier so we know how to work around each other’s office habits. For instance, she talks to herself so I wear headphones.
What’s your one tip right now? Everyone is adjusting to this in different ways so we just need to have realistic expectations of one another.
Tell us about your current workspace. It’s a very basic set-up. We really just needed a place for our computers so we bought a trestle table from the Warehouse and were able to each take home our office chairs. Done.
Which local business are you going to miss most during our isolation period? Arty Bees bookshop (www.artybees.co.nz) and Pickle and Pie (www.pickleandpie.co.nz). I’m going to miss the lamb and chorizo pie they have there. A small group of my friends and I have this thing on Messenger where we review and rate pies from various places around New Zealand and Australia. So that’ll have to go on hold for a while. Probably a good thing health-wise.
What do you hope for the Aotearoa design community going forward? That we successfully fill the need for people who need information and support in this new environment. I feel like design will become even more focussed on social needs. You can already feel the empathy coming through from a majority of industries. I think New Zealanders are really good at that. We like to fix things.
www.gustodesign.co.nz. Or Instagram: @gusto_design_nz
Here is a link to a blog my wife and I created the last time we were stuck at home a lot. We were new parents and had just moved to Australia: www.cardboardboxoffice.com