Australia’s Finest: My Favourite Graphic Designers from Down Under

The world is full of amazing design talent, and they don’t all hail from the UK, Europe, Asia, Canada, or the United States. Here is a collection of my homegrown heroes!

I feel that when I pick up one of my favourite design magazines like Computer Arts magazine, Juxtapose, and the like, I don’t see enough representation from the land down under, so I decided to compile a list of my own.

Deanne Cheuk

This thought first came to my mind when a friend of mine was looking for a job in a graphic design agency in Sydney, and he was looking for local inspiration to produce a portfolio of items, which paid tribute to his strong national pride.

Although I can’t share their work here due to copyright (and I really don’t want to disrespect my fellow Ozzie’s) I think it more fruitful to take a little journey of your own as you read this, to own the experience. I don’t know what you’ll find when you look for them, and every Google search readers make will be a choose-your-own adventure.

We’ve been inspiring the world since the Commonwealth was founded, and here are a handful of my favourite artists from the turn of the century and beyond.

Australian Top Designer

DEANNE CHEUK

Ahh, almost my favourite. Cheuk’s artwork is as stunning as she is, and she never fails to inspire me. She never fails to inspire big labels, either; having been commissioned to produce work for the likes of Nike, Converse, Sprint, Target, Nippon Vogue, and Dazed & Confused magazine –among many, many others.

She’s also self published a magazine, and a book. Her magazine has no words—not only to describe it, but literally, it has no words in it. It’s called “Neomu”, and her book is called “Mushroom Girls Virus”. Definitely worth picking up.

She’s served on the Board of the New York Chapter of the AIGA from 2008-2010 (she still lives in New York, and hails from Perth, Western Australia.

She’s still creating her story, so be sure to keep an out for her –you won’t be sorry you did.

JOHN C J TAYLOR

John Taylor’s artistic tenure began in music, and progressed to visual arts through the form of band posters and promotional material for the number of acts he played with.

These acts included bands from Sydney such as Soap, Llama, Hot Rocket, Uncle Bob’s Band, Phones, Secret Police, Little Heroes, and Routinos. John’s work for Uncle Bob’s Band landed him notoriety among local street artists until the band broke up in 1976.

After that, his talent only refined, and he continued to make edgy illustrations and posters for a club called the Tiger Room, which later became the Tiger Lounge.

He released a comic strip called Gigs of Our Lives for the TAGG Gig Guide in Melbourne and Sydney. After that, his artistic career exploded, and he produced art for the album covers and concert posts of popular Australian acts which included Hearts, Bananas, Phil Manning, and 3RRR Radio, RMIT Storey Hall, The Astor Theatre, and even Suicide Records. The list goes on, but for brevity, I’ll make you look those up yourself.

John was born in Sydney in 1951, and he’s still kicking around.

DOUGLAS ANNAND

Douglas is perhaps one of my favourite commercial graphic designers behind Deanne Cheuk, and Leif Podhajsky (who I saved for last), and sadly, he’s no longer walking about the earth, inspiring others with his craft. He lived from 1903 to 1976, and Sydney was his final resting place.

Because he’s a little farther back, I’m allowed to show some of his work here, but don’t let that stop you from viewing the heaps of his work available on Google.

Doug brought Australia to the world, and where many artists didn’t get their work too far outside of the country, his commercial aptitude got him worldwide recognition.

He was a three time recipient of the Sir John Sulman Prize, and was later inducted into the AGDA’s Paperpoint Hall of Fame. His extensive murals and artistry can still be found around Australia, but I will leave that for you to discover. The man is a legend, and he is woven into the fabric of this country.

LEIF PODHAJSKY

I saved my personal favourite; the best, for last.

Leif is an abstract, psychedelic, synethsesia dream, whose life began in Byron Bay, New South Wales. While incredibly unique, he seems to drink from the same acid pools as Deanne Cheuk. Or vice versa.

He’s created legendary mirrored vistas, mind blowing cosmic landscapes, and he’s worked with other artists that push the creative envelope as much as he does.

Of the record labels he’s been commissioned to create artwork for, most notable might be his work for Sub Pop Records, Warp Records, Modular Records, and Sony Music.

He’s designed album covers and promotional posters for the likes of Beck, The Foals (I’m listening to them right now as fate would have it), Lykke Li, Gypsy & The Cat, Tame Impala, The Vines, Santigold, The Horrors, Shabazz Palaces, Young Magic, and my all time absolute, hands down favourite; Bonobo.

The man is an artistic genius, and his attention to the human condition has allowed his work to transcend our borders to inspire the entire planet.

If you want to be inspired, you need not go further than your local record shop, or log onto his page here http://instagram.com/leifpodhajsky/

Photo credit: Dell Inc. / Flickr

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