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City Like You - Interview

Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

JM - I am a designer from Melbourne, Australia, with over 15 years of experience in brand strategy, identity design, and packaging design. I founded Date Of Birth, a brand creation agency specializing in identity and experience design. I love working with brave and purpose-driven clients and, with my talented team, defining and designing their vision for the future.

What initially inspired you to pursue a career in design?

JM - Art was always part of my and my family's life, literally from birth. My childhood memories were drawing with my mum and brother, or I was spending hours on my illustrating. In time, I was introduced to graphic design as a profession. I remember my art teacher telling me that the best way to make a living from creativity was through "graphic design". So from there on, I decided to pursue a career in design.

How would you describe your design style?

JM - Bold and beautiful, with purpose. I always strive to introduce something bold and use the concept of beauty to create attention. You must create a feeling and not just a thought, and that's what something beautiful can contribute to the design. And finally, purpose. What and why are we doing this? A solid understanding of the brief, its function, and its desired outcome are critical.

What is your creative process?

JM - Understanding the purpose of the creative output. I will then follow my heart and feelings. I'll seek inspiration in all forms. Visuals, music, books, anything online and simply being aware of my everyday experiences and environment to help inspire and bring my creative energy into the work. I finally connect my ideas to the brief and start the process of elimination. Some ideas may seem great in theory but need to be more practical. I always balance the logic of thoughts and feelings in my design work.

How much does your city and surroundings affect your creative output?

JM - Immensely. Melbourne has an extensive arts culture, and I may spend my time visiting certain areas of Melbourne if it can contribute to the brief. We are spoilt with suburbs celebrating creativity, whether Brunswick, Collingwood, Fitzroy, Richmond, Yarraville ect. There's always an appreciation in those areas for self-expression, and it just puts you in the right mood to kick-start a project.

Do you think it is also the responsibility of the artist/creative to improve the quality of people's lives in their city?

JM - Not solely, no. It's the responsibility of the community as a whole, whether you are a creative citizen or a corporation offering products and services, to build communities and improve the quality of people's lives. Big or small, all contributions matter.

What are your city's biggest challenges?

JM - Transport and accessibility. Most entertainment and businesses in Melbourne are central to the CBD.

What are the solutions that your city needs to implement?

JM - Well, better transport for one, but from a creative point of view, there is a strong level of support and commitment to the arts. I would focus on the next generation of ideators and talent that can inspire and facilitate innovation and contribute those ideas to enhancing the quality of life across all communities.

The responsibility of the council in every city is to provide a solid foundation of design, art, and cultural facilities, is that evident in Melbourne?

JM - Yes, I see that certain councils are investing more in the arts, and there is a focus on new exhibitions both at NGV, one of the major galleries in the city, and smaller independent galleries, showcasing some of the best talents from around the world and locally.

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