Aiming for the stars!

On Thursday 13 July, I had the pleasure of attending the Women’s Leadership Forum in Brisbane, at Victoria Park. Held by the ‘Aim for the Stars’ Foundation.

Aim for the Stars’ was founded by Australian world champion surfer, Layne Beachley. Her aim, through the Foundation, is to empower and inspire women of all ages to achieve their dreams and become great leaders.

Thursday’s forum focused on resilience and brought together presentations by a number of women who are recognised leaders in their chosen fields of sport, science, business communication and entrepreneurship.

Finding your voice
The first guest speaker was Dr Cathy Foley – Director and Deputy Director of Manufacturing at CSIRO.

Cathy’s presentation was both engaging and amusing! She told us of her life journey from being a dyslexic young girl who did not even know her times tables – to being part of world-renown discoveries in science.
From ‘power posing’, to keeping fit, to dinner planning – Cathy provided us with great insight and tips from her life lessons.

I felt that everyone in the room could relate to Cathy’s insights and gained reassurance that in life, no one is perfect! What makes the difference is how we approach sticky situations and how we can empower ourselves to rise to each challenge!

Fear is good
Holly Ransom was our second guest speaker. Holly is known as a serial overachiever! She is CEO of her own business and has an accomplished list of achievements well beyond her age! To just name one – Holly was listed by Sir Richard Branson in 2016 as one of his dream dinner guests!

Holly explained how she went from being diagnosed with clinical depression to travelling the world and doing something she feared every day for an entire year. She went on to tell us how she trained and completed a 13-hour marathon – how the hardships and inspiration she gained through the experience provided her with capabilities well beyond what she could have imagined possible.

Holly showed us how such life lessons provided her with the agility and resilience to shape and direct her career. It was so inspiring to listen and learn about how much she has achieved at such a young age.

Being inspired
To conclude the Forum, we listened to three young women who have each received scholarships from ‘Aim for the Stars’. We listened to their amazing achievements and how the Foundation has supported and guided them. Each of these women provided great tips on personal growth and ensured us all that no matter what life may throw at you – you CAN achieve amazing things!

A day of inspiration and reassurance
What a fabulous event full of inspiration and reassurance. With effort, determination and, most importantly, resilience – we can achieve our dreams!

Bree McElroy
Designer – Salt Design

salt-shaker-signoffBecause everything tastes better with a sprinkle of salt!

The Design Conference Brisbane 2017 // PART 2

The Design Conference was a two-day experience for us Salty designers!
{Read more about Part 1 here!}

Gemma – Designer, Salt Design

Mike Rigby
Mike Rigby delved into client projects just enough to keep us interested and wanting more. The highlight was watching the videos from his project titled ‘love has no labels’. These videos captivated the audience and pulled on our heart strings. If you haven’t seen them – I recommenced you do!

Lauren Hom
My favourite speaker of the day was Lauren Hom. Her presentation was polished and motivating. She showed empathy throughout her speech and connected with the audience by telling honest stories and not glossing over the strife in her life. Lauren’s pitch was to believe in your passion projects as these are the projects that have won in her life. I made note of many of her inspirational slides – such as ‘everything is design’ and ‘drunk conversions are creative goldmines!’. I was so inspired that as soon as I got home I read everything I could find on her – even purchased one of her prints!

Prue Jones
Prue Jones presentation was unexpectedly interesting. Prue works in Service Design (ie. design we all use but don’t own like Spotify and Netflix). A big part of Prue’s job is research, which meant she wanted to research us – her audience. She asked us all to visit the same website and we proceeded to answer questions on the large presentation screen by using our phones. We watched the data tally right in front of our eyes, it was great fun! Prue then went on to discuss the scary topic of Artificial Intelligence (AI). It was super-intriguing and made me realise how important it is to keep up to date with AI developments.

David Leavitt and David Torres – Cyrcle
Just as the audience was left shaking in their boots… out walks David Leavitt and David Torres from Cyrcle. I thought to myself “wow, this is either gonna make or break the wrap-up of this conference *wince*,” but it totally MADE it!!!

Imagine two typical LA artists, who look like they have never left the 90s and who love their cat dearly!

This duo was entertaining, funny, confusing and informative all at the same time. I appreciated their honesty as the pair scrolled through an endless number of photos, giving us a sneak peek of what their living / working lifestyle has been like. I will always remember watching as they told us when the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air attended their first art show and then proceeded to sing the theme song and dance around the stage, as if they had done this many times before!!!


salt-shaker-signoffBecause everything tastes better with a sprinkle of salt!


LIA – 50 years young!

Salt was recently approached to update the branding for LIA Queensland. LIA (the Lithographic Institute of Australia) was originally formed over 50 years ago. It is a well-respected industry association providing support, knowledge and connections for all within the printing and graphic arts industry.

Why we should never change for change sake?

For many long-standing members their logo was a ‘sacred cow’ and should NEVER be changed. But to others the organisation was in desperate need of an update – a means by which to engage with a new younger generation. Membership numbers have been waning for a number of years – so a fresh presentation of the organisation’s branding was hoped to be a first positive step toward reviving interest in LIA. But where to begin????

How do you ‘update’ a 50-year-old logo? How do you not offend the traditionalists? How do you attract a new, much younger, more progressive audience?

Our solution . . .

NOT to change the logo. Rather, refine it and add a new dimension to its application. By addressing the dated typography and finessing the existing logo symbol, we were able to reinvigorate the identity. By broadening the colour palette we were able to retain the ‘traditional’ LIA Green whilst enhancing its application by placing the logo on a darker, neutral colour.

The result

Each year the LIA promotes and presents the Annual “Graduate of the Year” Awards for apprentices within the Queensland Print Industry. The Awards event provided Salt with an opportunity to launch the new branding by applying it to a number of promotional resources including a Display Banner, Table Tent Cards, Award Certificates and PowerPoint presentation.

We were invited to attend the Awards event on 7 July. It’s an opportunity we rarely get – but one which we really love! To actually see how attendees reacted to the new branding on the Display Banners and to watch the PowerPoint presentation was terrific! The branding really worked in a consistent contemporary manner. Award recipients were overheard saying that it was the “best-looking Award Certificate they had even seen!”

Kudos to Gemma

The development of the new LIA branding was the work of Salt’s Junior Designer Gemma Jestico. The project provided a valuable learning ground for Gemma, who designed all of the corporate and promotional collateral along with documenting the application in a detailed branding guidelines. Love your work Gemma!

Our next challenge

Our work is not yet complete, as we are now investigating the development and construction of a new website for the LIA.
This will also provide our newer Salt Designers with a fabulous opportunity to learn in more detail the technical requirements of design for web.

salt-shaker-signoffBecause everything tastes better with a sprinkle of salt!


The Design Conference – Day 2

After an awesome first day of TDC – Day 2 was set up to be a hard act to follow! But it did not disappoint – as our newest Salty Designer discovered . . .

As this is the first conference I have attended since transitioning from a student to fully-fledged design professional . . . I felt like I was listening a little differently than what I had done in the past. As a student attending these events I would listen with stars in my eyes and my imagination running wild when I’d hear the speakers talk about ‘the real world’. Now that I’m in it, I listen with just as much enthusiasm, but it’s just different. I can relate a little more to the speakers now – which is awesome!

I believe each time I attend these events my perspective will evolve as I gather more experiences along the way (which is pretty exciting!).

I didn’t feel I specifically connected to any one speaker – instead, I took from each one what I needed. This was exactly the way to go, after all – as designers we will flourish when we let our lives flow.

The Design Conference 2016


The Design Conference 2016



Erin Smith

Erin Smith was one of the first presenters. She’s an artist from Ipswich who loves drinking glasses of milk! I admired Erin, for regardless the amount of knock-backs she received, she never was knocked down by her experiences. She also took a massive leap to study in New York city, where she studied two different art courses. Erin contacted artists she admired in the City, asking to meet for coffee and then became friends with them! I find networking in Brisbane intimidating enough!

I went along to Erin’s art exhibition held after the event to see her painting in real-life. It was a totally different experience to having seen them on screen – the textures and colours were just beautiful.

The Design Conference 2016


Nicole Phillips

I knew Nicole would be a highlight of Day 2! She’s a local typographer/designer who I’ve often seen at events but never actually met . . . something I definitely hope to do after hearing her presentation!

Nicole is one designer I found myself relating to now that I am in the industry and working with clients. Nicole explained how she worked her butt off to the point of burning out! At which point she realised just how important it is to have your own personal creative outlets as often client work just can’t cut it.

This is so true. I feel we are always being told this, but for a lot of us its not until we live it, that we do anything about it. Nicole encouraged the audience to ‘invest if yourself’ in order to create ‘crops of awesome work!’

The Design Conference 2016


Matt and Tim from Sons & Co

Matt and Tim from Sons & Co. are web designers from New Zealand (or as they put it – “from the island off the coast of Australia!”). These guys had the whole audience in fits of laughter. Their presentation was natural and comforting as they delved into telling tales of client work. They too have their own creative outlet – printing t-shirt designs which they approach well-known artist to contribute for. The boys have no branding, no business card, no social media and no website – they are the ‘website guys’ with no website . . . Go figure!
(Check out Sons and Co.’s work featured above at Boundary Breaks website and Crane Brothers website)

The Design Conference 2016


Todd Francis

The last presenter for the day was Todd Francis, an artist and illustrator from the States. Listening to Todd explain his art (which was mainly on skateboards) got me appreciating this style of illustration more than I have before. To be honest, his style is nothing like me, I’m more florals and happiness and Todd is more San Fran pigeons and dark humour. Todd told of the ups and downs life has brought him. It seemed like his outlet to illustrate assisted him in finding his way. Musicians have music, writers have writing and Todd has illustration… which made me think – what do I have? I really must work that out . . . watch this space!

As the event wrapped up, I felt inspired – but in a different way to what I’m used to. No longer was I trying to be just like the presenters. Instead, I listened to their experiences and took from them what I hope and believe will help me along my design journey. As I said before – watch this space!

salt-shaker-signoffBecause everything tastes better with a sprinkle of salt!

The Design Conference – Day 1

Wow! One day down, one day to go…

This year’s Design Conference (TDC) is being held in our hometown, Brisbane and we sent along two Salty designers to marvel in the exceptional line-up of national and international guest speakers – making for one impressive design event! **insert squeals of excitement!**

Finding your way to awesomeness!

There was a feeling of excitement and anticipation as well-over 700 people entered the Brisbane Powerhouse main auditorium. A huge screen flashing the TDC branding and pumping tunes greeted us to kick-off the conference.
(Image profiles below from TDC Website)

Feature Talk #1
Jessica Hische, Letterer

Jessica Hische is a lettering artist, illustrator, author, and self-described “avid internetter” working in San Francisco and Brooklyn.
Read her full profile on TDC website or visit her website. (Images above far right from Jessica’s Website)

As one of our all-time favourite creatives, Jessica was one speaker we couldn’t wait to see! And her presentation did not disappoint!

Stemming from the idea ‘More about the letterform, less about the decoration’, Jessica told her journey from earlier works to where she is now, going into detail of the process and production behind the end result. Her lettering is about substance and style, and really knowing the story behind what you are creating. Creating her Penguin Drop Caps Cover series certainly meant she needed to value the content and perspective of the readers.

Jessica continued discussing her process through a number of examples including those for Starbucks, MailChimp, Eventbrite, Penguin and Johanna Basford. We agree with her, that client’s love to see the process work or reasons behind things you changed on their existing design and it’s important to be sensitive to a client’s existing brand (who knows the client may have created it in the first place!!).

She also acknowledged that while we can all be immersed in and experiment with different creative paths, it’s imperative to have a trustworthy relationship with other creative people to help you when you need it. Her historical-feel café wall design was a good example, where she created the Illustrator file but left it up to a production team to bring it to life on the wall.

We loved her honest, funny and intelligent talk, which also highlighted how ‘you have to love the day to day, not just the end result’. It’s not a race to the finish line, as you discover more about yourself, improve your process and find your style… your awesomeness!



Feature Talk #2
Branden Harvey

I’m a storytelling photographer with really goofy hair. I used to think my dream was to be a photographer. Sure, that’s my job, but I’ll let you in on a secret: My dream isn’t to be a photographer anymore. Right now I’m telling stories with a camera, and that’s fulfilling for me. But I’ve got a couple tricks up my sleeve. And in 10 years, I hope to have a few more.
Read his full profile on TDC Website or visit his website.

Branden focussed on ‘pivoting’ through life to become a better you. While it’s important to have goals, it’s also fantastic to experiment and build on who you are. He spoke about writing down your top five inspirational people and finding ways you can take a piece from each of them, to pave your journey.

Don’t try to mimic someone else’s journey – choose your legacy.

Wow! Branden’s presentation left us full of good vibes and inspired to make a positive contribution to our community through our work.



Feature Talk #3
Emily Woollett, Creative Director – Paper Stone Scissors

Emily loves to create powerful brand stories that engage, resonate and inspire a response. It’s not just the story of the product, place or service, but uncovering the juicy bits, the ideals, the personality that captures the true essence of the brand.
Read her full profile on TDC Website or visit the Paper Stone Scrissors website.

‘Superawesomeness’ was the first slide of Emily’s presentation which delved into taking her approach to building brand stories and applying this to real life. We could resonate with the stage of life Emily is in and how looking back on her processes and life values was important to shape what she is doing now. That is, we all get busy with life and sometimes forget to take time for ourselves.

She gave us her top ten tips:

  1. Dare to begin (little and often)
  2. Make friends with fear (versus excitement)
  3. Value your values
  4. Phone home
  5. Focus on your super strengths (collaborate)
  6. Find your story
  7. Understand your process
  8. Don’t blame others
  9. Make work you love (even if it’s on the side)
  10. Work it out by doing.


Feature Talk #4
Kitiya Palaskas, Artist & Designer

Kitiya Palaskas is a designer specialising in the creation of props, installations, sets, and artwork using craft-based techniques.
TDC profile sums her up well. Check out more of her work online.

Now she is one rad chick! And we’re not just talking about her fabulous outfit today, or when she was a rapper!

Kitiya’s vibrant, fun personality shines not only through her work but her presentation today, showing how she embraces creativity and turns her limited experience into a dream job!
She’s a jill-of-all-trades, not necessarily fitting into the proverbial ‘box’, but that’s quite ok with her (and us!!).

She wasn’t afraid to mention all the things she didn’t know at first and how she googled her way through some questions in client meetings. Explaining her approach and process provided us with an insight into finding your craft and knowing how to rock it!

Her final statement was ‘success through gratitude’ and we couldn’t agree more!


Feature Talk #5
Lisa King, Visual Artist

Lisa King is a self-taught designer and artist based in Adelaide. Her imaginative and stylish portraiture crosses mediums – oil, acrylic, aerosol and computer-generated imagery.
Read her full profile on TDC Website or visit her website.

Art is life. It was great to see photos of Lisa’s exterior and interior murals, however, perhaps the most intriguing part to her talk was the time lapse of her Photoshop process. Her technique was amazing and watching the video provided insight into how she creates her digital pieces. The tone and detail in her work is impressive.


Feature Talk #6
Timba Smits, Art Director / Illustrator

Timba Smits is an award-winning designer, visual artist, illustrator and part-time crime fighter living in East London.
Read his full profile on TDC Website or visit his website.

This is one cracking illustrator and creative dude. His talk titled ‘Paddle against the flow’ covered illustration and its integration with typography and layout… oh and his love for Arnold Schwarzenegger!

Who remembers Wooden Toy magazine?! We certainly do! Hunting down a free printed copy whenever they were released was a must! Well it was actually some of Timba’s first works.

He is passionate about editorial layouts and creating a typographic headline to match each featured artwork.

We were shown a detailed illustration of a ‘made-up’ cityscape produced for an Amazon campaign, promoting that they deliver anywhere. And what made it even more awesome, was how he included many hidden elements such as the Ghostbuster building, a DeLorean – even himself with his girlfriend! Best of all – his client was totally cool with it!

While he is well recognised for his retro style illustration, Timba has taken new directions to further his style. One aspect he’s been working on is “taming the beast” – don’t go overboard with the design – strip it back and keep it simple.

Timba had the opportunity to move to London and now works for The Church of London as Creative Director, working on iconic magazine Little White Lies and Huck Magazine. His creative process to produce the cover illustrations is incredible!

If you live in Melbourne, be sure to check out Timba’s solo exhibition ‘Role Models’, inspired by cinema and movie culture, which reference his magazine covers.

T’s number one top tip ‘Good things take time. Great things take a lifetime.’

Cheers for awesome presentation Timba!


Feature Talk #7
Jonathan Calugi, Artist

(Note to all readers – this bio is to be read with a deliciously gorgeous Italian accent!)

It all starts with two dots and a line •• –

Jonathan Calugi is an illustrator from Italy and it is from his self-proclaimed chaotic workspace, that he creates clean illustration and pattern works. Each piece is a take on his quirky child-like doodles with minimal lines and simple, uncomplicated colours.
Read his full profile on TDC Website or view his work on Behance.

We loved how he introduced himself through his gradual illustration of his two cats, to which he then added his parents, then himself and his partner – this was his story in a way only he could portray so creatively!

It’s the energy he creates with a single line that makes Jonathan’s work so fascinating! His ability to create many viewpoints through the telling of a story from one perspective through to another in an array of patterning – all with a single line was awesome!

He was very passionate in his talk about taking his doodles (which he said we may think are ugly, but he simply loves) and turning them into stylised artworks.

Jonathan’s work for Nike and his development of typography by a continuous line were but a select few of our favourite works from his presentation. Truly exquisite!

Cheers TDC for a truly awesome day one!

salt-shaker-signoffBecause everything tastes better with a sprinkle of salt!

The changing workplace

Sometimes it’s the obvious which appears a revelation when presented from a new perspective. Like understanding (and actually accepting) that work is but one element of our complicated lives. For most of us it’s a pretty big part – and often one which impacts on other areas of our life and the lives of those around us. Equally we must accept that work can be effected by the other areas of our lives in both good and bad ways . . .

This was the central theme to a presentation Salt attended yesterday to mark the launch of 2015 Mental Health Week.

In many workplaces it is considered ‘unprofessional’ to let our personal lives effect our performance at work – but can we really be expected to leave our worries, hassles, loves, anxieties, highs and lows at the door each work day? Potentially this misguided expectation can compound emotional issues to a point where we may struggle to cope and perform our job.

The challenge to acknowledge, respect and accept that mental health issues may at times affect a person’s ability at work. We would recognise this if someone arrived at work with a broken arm! So why are we expected to ‘suck it up’ ‘get on with the job’ and leave our personal issues at the door?

David Cooke, the first non-asian Managing Director of Konica Minolta (Australia) provided an insight into how he has approached this issue and changed the workplace culture of his organisation. He explained how through even the smallest of gestures we can encourage, empower and support our staff. And by doing so we can enrich their working lives and improve the efficiency and productivity of an entire organisation.

If we can identify a computer not working correctly and take steps to repair it – we need to enact a process to support and assist any member of our team if they are not functioning at their best. The awareness of mental health as a medical issue is increasing. However we appear to still struggle with accepting and dealing with it in the workplace as practically as we would if it was a broken arm or a head-cold. If we value ourselves and our staff, workplace culture needs to evolve to one which is more understanding, supportive and accepting.

Useful links
Human Rights
Open Minds
Queensland Mental Health Commission

Pictured // Our information pack including neon piggy banks!

salt-shaker-signoffBecause everything tastes better with a sprinkle of salt!

The value of paper + print // Brisbane Event

This week we attended a breakfast event in Brisbane, as part of an industry-wide campaign providing knowledge and resources to help print & design businesses promote paper and print to our clients and potential clients.

The presentation confirmed what we believe – that the printed word is a critical part of multi-channel communications. And that print on paper is innovative – inks, paper ranges, embedded technological devices – it is most definitely NOT the ‘poor cousin’ that many in the social and digital spaces are trying to convince us!

During her presentation, Kellie Northwood (Executive Director of Two Sides Australia (TSA) Limited) detailed how print and design companies can make better use of paper and print.

Attendees were provided with the results of qualitative research into marketing efficacy, brand recall, return on investment and sustainability. Research that confirms the power of print in today’s diverse communications environment.

Supported by research, data, and case studies highlighting the effectiveness of print – we need to promote the strengths of print. The creative effects and return on investment that can be achieved through paper and print cannot be replicated solely by electronic communications.

At the conclusion of the presentation we received a copy of The Industry Report – a 72-page toolkit that we can use to educate our clients about the success and relevance of print as a critical part of multi-channel communications. Certainly a compelling read . . .

Proof that print rocks!

Experience the power of the bookbook – IKEA

Direct Mail targets your kitty

salt-shaker-signoffBecause everything tastes better with a sprinkle of salt!

Images: Speech bubbles // Goodie bag materials

Typism Conference 2015

The way we do the things we do
This week Salt had the amazing opportunity to attend the second annual “Typism” conference which was devoted solely to a topic close to our hearts {think our 2015 “Drop Caps” Salt Calendar} – TYPE!

The format
The format for the day was very simple – seven speakers each presenting a 45-minute review of who, what and why. The introduction to each speaker were brilliant visual presentations in themselves! And the speaker’s design capabilities shone even in their presentations.

The venue
The Conference was held at Event Cinemas at Robina on the Gold Coast. What a great venue for over 250 attendees! Comfy seats, easy-to-see speakers, brilliant visual presentations on a HUGE screen AND a speed-shopping opportunity at lunchtime!

The speakers
Jessica Cruickshank, Jamie Clarke, Luke Lucas, Carla Hackett, Barry Spencer, Dave Foster, Jasmine Dowling.

When we grow up we want to be just like Carla Hackett and Jess Cruikshank {the internet versions of course!}

It was great to hear how each speaker was in their own way challenged and motivated by the same creative drive as our own. Their experiences and the professional career paths were as varied as the many typefaces (and fonts) that we saw on the day!

Lessons learnt

  • As designers we have a responsibility not just to reproduce text – but to appreciate and execute type in such a way that enhances its impact and interpretation. We should consider ourselves the monks of this new millennia. If we don’t design type well – who will??
  • A typeface is made up of fonts (not the other way around)
  • We all have moments of self doubt. How we respond to them is key to where they may take us.
  • It’s not a case of “Do what you love” but rather “Love what you do”. Discovering a passion for type can result in an entirely new career path or simply provide reassurance that we are already in the right job.
  • To become a well-rounded human being one must pursue another hobby totally different to a passion for type. For us it’s interior design, shoes, cats and our families!
  • Don’t be intimidated by what you can’t do … “Say yes then shit yourself later!” {thanks Jess Cruikshank!}
  • A little OCD is a good thing (Dave Foster estimated he spent 2,500 hours to design one of his fonts! Now that’s dedication!!!)
  • Even creative people need a process. We may want to be free and easy to design from the heart. But unless we have a process by which to realise our ideas the result may not be what we had first envisaged.
  • Pants are optional (only for those freelancers fortunate to work from home)
  • Must try frozen grapes!

Congratulations to Dominique Falla who organised this splendid event! The diversity of speakers was testament to Dominique’s personal passion for type and her desire to provide a forum to share, educate, connect and inspire with fellow ‘type-geeks’. So Dominique – when’s the next conference???

What now . . .
Already our focus on kerning and font styles has been heightened this week. Now we’re yearning for classes, pinning new ‘hand-drawn type’ boards and gram-ing all things typographical.

We’re also off to find a new hobby . . . perhaps a trip to the beach is in order this weekend!

salt-shaker-signoffBecause everything tastes better with a sprinkle of salt!
Feature image and guest speakers by Typism.

Typism Conference Goodie Bag featuring: Thank you. Group // TypographHer // Type Worship // Mi Goals // Everyday Cre8ive // brandless. // Mail Chimp // Aurelie Maron // Maverik Studio // Monotype

Jess Cruickshank Typism Presentation // Love her home studio and design process!

Dave Foster Typism Presentation // And this is a picture of an Owl!