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Australian designer Miranda Mayne attacks each brief with humility, brains and a beautiful aesthetic, which comes through in her diverse and polished portfolio. Miranda was a standout student at Melbourne’s Shillington College, and she has since launched her own freelance business, Mira Design. Recently, she was named the 2015 Emerging Talent Winner at Desktop’s Create Design Awards in Melbourne.
CT: What is the most unusual request you’ve had?
MM: One of the strangest briefs I’ve been given is one I did while in college. The brief was to design a product and packaging that appealed to a specific demographic. Each student was given a different demographic along with a product, and I was given ‘chocolate for bikies.’ This brief stood out from the rest for me because it really pushed me out of my comfort zone. It took a lot of research to wrap my head around the visual language surrounding ‘Bikie Gangs’ and go beyond the expected outcomes.
The teachers made us focus on developing a unique story behind each product, which was an approach I had never taken before. My product revolved around the idea that the chocolate was produced underground and was poisonous or dangerous to eat. I experimented a lot with different illustrative techniques and mediums, referencing homemade tattoos, materials and colour palettes often associated with the bikie culture.
CT: What advice would you give to someone who was trying to break into the graphic design industry?
MM: 1. Network — Be constantly engaging and meeting new people. Get involved as much as you can with the design industry.
2. Always be learning — It is so important to keep pushing yourself to learn, grow and improve and to focus on the learning and not so much the outcome; in other words, ‘don’t seek praise, seek criticism.’
3. Get off the computer — Value the concept and don’t undermine the importance of concept development. The computer should only be a tool to execute your ideas; you will always find a solution faster with paper.
4. Don’t be afraid to fail! The best way to learn and grow is to make mistakes and to experience new and different things outside your comfort zone. Do not underestimate how important ‘failure’ is to design.
5. Experience is inspiration — Don’t just look at other design work for your own inspiration. Go out into the world and experience as much as you can.
CT: What’s next?
MM: A big goal for the future is to work somewhere overseas. I think it is so inspiring to be immersed in a new place and forced out of your comfort zone. But no matter where I end up, my focus and goal is to constantly be pushing myself to learn and grow. If college has taught me anything, it is how far I have come, and moreover, how far I have to go.
CT: What advice would you give your younger self?
MM: Don’t be afraid to fail — step out of your comfort zone.
CT: What’s your pet peeve?
MM: Bad kerning! (lack of attention to detail)
CT: What is your favourite restaurant?
MM: My favourite restaurant is called The Raw Kitchen in Perth.
CT: What is the most memorable moment from your career?
MM: Probably winning Desktop Magazine’s Create Awards Emerging Talent Award.
CT: How would you like to be remembered?
CT: If you weren’t a designer, what would you be doing?
MM: Probably sitting on the beach soaking up the sun!
CT: If you opened up a fortune cookie, what would it say?
MM: ‘Don’t seek praise, seek criticism.’
CT: Tell us something no one knows about you?
MM: Some people know this… but it’s a fun fact — I have one green eye and one blue eye.
CT: What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
MM: Probably check my phone if I’m honest.
CT: If you could only bring three things to a deserted island, what would they be?
MM: Guitar, my dog, a surfboard
CT: Apple or android?
CT: Picasso or Matisse?
MM: My goodness, don’t make me choose!
CT: Emma Watson or Scarlett Johansson?
MM: Emma Watson
CT: Coffee or tea?
CT: Fame or money?
CT: Love or friendship?
CT: Train or plane?
CT: Jackie Collins or Ernest Hemingway?